Looking For Motivation: Make Your Bed

Sounds silly, right? How does making your bed provide motivation? Well, in this case, the motivation is more words to live by than to pump you up. Though making your bed is a lesson presented in the book “Make Your Bed”, it is about so much more. In fact, it is a whole commencement speech worth of motivation, as given by Admiral William H. McRaven at the University of Texas in 2014.

Motivation is important. I am always looking for ways to get myself in a good frame of mind. For instance, last year I wrote about a Jon Gordon book that reshaped my mindset and school year. Motivational quotes are plastered all over my classroom (and even tattooed on my back). I listen to all kinds of podcasts looking for bits of information that help me work toward a better self. It was in one such podcast that I heard about the book “Make Your Bed.”

The ten lessons in this book are simple, applicable, and come with stories from this Navy SEAL’s career to help illustrated his point. While I will not go through all ten (click here for the list), but I will share a few of my favorites. One is his first lesson and the title of the book – the idea is to start your day off by checking off a task.

Bed made…check

Admiral McRaven also talks about “finding someone to help you paddle.” This lesson here is about not going through life alone. I myself train alone and tend to internalize things, taking on jobs by myself. But, it is important to find friends to share life’s joys and struggles. Your success depends upon others because life is better with others in it.

Two other lessons use some interesting SEAL terminology. One is to get over being a “sugar cookie” and keep working (a “sugar cookie” is a SEAL being punished for not following basic requirements by having to roll through the beach sand until it covered every inch of their body, like sugar on a cookie). Sometimes SEALs were made to do this for the most trivial of reasons to teach them that life is not fair, don’t blame others, and continue working to be better. The other interesting lesson is to not be afraid of the “circus.” The “circus” is two hours of extra calisthenics and verbal abuse. It is a punishment for failures designed to teach perseverance. If you work through, and learn from, your failures, you come out stronger on the other side.

Admiral McRaven’s simple life lessons provided me with great reminders to keep my life on a positive track. I like that the lessons show that not all days will be positive. There will be tough times, but you can work through them. With the situations we are having to work through these days, these lessons fit well. The beginning of my day has new meaning now as I make my bed…speaking from experience.

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