Many of you have probably seen or heard about the speech that Admiral William McRaven of the Navy gave at the 2014 University of Texas Graduation Commencement. He said something in that speech that was so simple, yet spoken with such power that it went viral all over the internet and was viewed and shared millions of times.
This is what he said,
“If you Want to Change the World, Start off by Making your Bed.”
Simple. Clear. Profound.
Now some may think that something that simplistic, easy and basic could not make any difference in the world. I mean, how could making your bed have a real impact in your life or the lives around you?
That’s exactly why Admiral McRaven’s statement was so interesting. A man who is colored with badges of merit, honor and prestige, with many years of experience, intense training and leading hundreds of Navel Militia; making statements about the power of making your bed?
To illustrate Admiral McRaven’s thinking, let’s give a little scenario.
I want you to imagine two twin sisters. They share a bedroom. One sister when waking up for the day, is religious about making her bed nice and neat before leaving her bedroom each day. The other sister leaves her bed as it is. Messy, blankets tangled and pillows tossed here and there.
The two sisters’ days are very similar. They go to school, do their homework, and eat dinner.
That night they get a call that one of their family friends had passed away. Saddened by the news, both sisters go to their room to lay down. The one sister who made her bed, looks at its pillows perfectly set in the center of her bed. Her sheets tucked in nicely. Her side of the room maintained in order and organization. She feels a moment of peace and comfort. She knows that while life presents events we cannot control, we do have control over ourselves, our actions, our bed, our clothing, and what items we surround ourselves with. She softly lays her head on her pillow as she gently slides under her sheets and rests her mind.
The other sister walks into her room already feeling emotional and disoriented. She looks at her side of the room and the complete mess that’s there. Her bed lays unkempt and looking depressing, as it’s blankets, pillows and sheets are out of place. Her clothing and items strewn all over her side of the flooring. As she looks at the mess, she surrenders herself and flops onto her bed and begins to cry. Feeling completely helpless and out of control.
Now, this is just a made-up scenario. One that may look differently based on each individual personality and how they relate to stress and unexpected circumstances, but that’s not what I want you to learn from this story. It’s not about what the two sisters did when they entered their room… it’s about what they FELT.
One sister took a look at her neatly made bed and for a moment felt peace of mind knowing that she may not have control over much, but she does have control over how she thinks and her actions throughout the day. The other sister feels out of control and powerless to the world around her. When things happen, they happen to her and she must now “deal” with them.
When it comes down to it. A made bed isn’t going to make your life’s circumstances different, but it can make it better and reflect feelings of more self-control, discipline and performing consistent good habits.
Think about this… How often have you walked into your bedroom after a long, hard, not-so-great day and staring at you is your unmade, shuffled bed? Now, you may not realize it in that moment, but that un-made, un-kempt, un-recognized bed just may be a mirror staring at you in the face. That bed is a reflection of you, your life and what you feel you and your day is worth.
I have not only personally experienced this in my own life, but I see the impact of a made bed time and time again with my own family members. The children in my family who are meticulous about making their bed and tidying their personal areas in their bedroom, usually display more positive behaviors and actions throughout the day. Just in the few minutes of their new day, they took positive action to make their bed and do a good job at it. They’re often complimented by my husband or I on a “job well done” and head down the stairs, enthused to start a fresh new day. Feeling confident, happy and in control of their surroundings, they approach their day empowered. They know that whatever happens at school, home or around them, they can at least come home to a well-made “job well done” bed.
I have also witnessed the opposite, when beds are left unmade, rooms untidy and seemingly negative attitudes to the fresh day ahead. These days happen, and to some degree happen to many of us, but to end the day on another low note by walking into your bedroom and staring at your un-made bed; not only makes life more unpleasant, but begins to reflect in our everyday thoughts, behaviors and motivations.
In fact, one study found that
“62 percent of non-bed makers admit that they are unhappy in their lives, while 71 percent of bed makers say they are happy. According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, a made bed contributes to healthier sleep habits and better rest.” “In addition to increased productivity, bed makers enjoy lower stress levels, improved moods and tidier homes.”https://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/story/opinion/columnists/2018/09/23/science-behind-making-your-bed/1350627002/
There is POWER in MAKING YOUR BED.
It’s your first stepping stone to conquering the day ahead. The first ingredient in your daily life’s recipe. The first task on your to-do list. The first step to your fresh new day. The first positive moment of your day. The first jump to your life’s success. The first feeling that creates peace and comfort.
It is there as you wake and there as you fall. It is your security. Your control. Your precious sleep. Your comfort. Your peace.
It Is Your bed.
This is why it is the very first step I give all my clients when teaching them new organizational habits. When asked what they should start doing, it’s not de-clutter all your clothes, buy a label maker, or learn to put things away. I say simply, “Just make your bed.” Don’t think about anything else, what to do or how to do it. Just start by making your bed. The rest will follow. If you can make your bed consistently each and every day for the rest of your life, your life will change. For the better!
To conclude, Admiral McRaven said it best when he stated,
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
My friends, the little things in life do matter.
Make them count. Wake up and make your bed!
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