Success Starts with a Made Bed

by The Cowl Editor on January 24, 2019


Admiral William McRaven’s “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World” was published in 2017. Photo courtesy of Medium.

by Emily Ball ’22

Opinion Staff

After waking up to an alarm in the morning, it is customary to lay back down and hit the snooze button a few times. When it is finally time to get up and get on with the day, most people start with getting dressed, brushing their teeth, or eating a balanced  breakfast. 

All of these tasks are necessary for a healthy morning routine; however, the most important activity to begin each and every day with is making your bed.

There are many reasons why making your bed is important, aside from the fact that there is nothing better than climbing into a made bed at the end of a long day.

Admiral William McRaven of the United States Navy explains the value of making your bed in respect to living out a fulfilling and productive lifestyle in his well-known speech “Make Your Bed,” which he delivered at the University of Texas at Austin commencement ceremony in 2014.

Admiral McRaven underwent six months of rigorous training to become a Navy Seal. During these months, he received physical training, mental training, and even training on how to successfully make his bed.

“Every morning in basic Seal training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would do was inspect your bed,” Admiral McRaven said.

At first, Admiral McRaven did not see why his instructors put such a strong emphasis on this seemingly trivial task. Nevertheless, as time went by, he began to recognize the effect this routine had on his ability to achieve small victories throughout his day.

“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,” Admiral McRaven continued. 

Many people claim that they do not have enough time to make their bed in the morning. However, this simple task takes no more than a few minutes and will increase productivity and motivation throughout the day. 

The sense of purpose and accomplishment that people feel after making their bed is what drives them to work harder and harder to accomplish simple tasks throughout their days.

Further, the simple pride that one receives from successfully making their bed provides them with a sense of purpose even when things are not going so well in the bigger picture.

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right,” Admiral McRaven said.

Being able to successfully complete small actions is what gives people the ability and motivation to accomplish the larger and more time-consuming tasks.

Furthermore, after a difficult day at work or at school, there is nothing more comforting than having a made bed to come home to.

Admiral McRaven offers a very positive argument that highlights the powerful impact that making your bed can have on your day and productive lifestyle in the future. This is a message that everyone can benefit from.