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The Best Inspirational Quotes from Make Your Bed by Admiral McRaven

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed

by Admiral William H. McRaven

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Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive .

Develop Good Habits

Make Your Bed Speech: Summary and 5 Lessons

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One thing that every 2014 graduate of the University of Texas has in common is that they were able to witness one of the most empowering and inspirational commencement speeches of our time.

Given by former Navy SEAL, Admiral William H. McRaven, this inspiring 20-minute speech offers timeless lessons that anyone can apply to their own life to overcome challenges, be more successful, and change the world.

Table of Contents

What Did Admiral McRaven Say in His Famous Speech?

In his speech, McRaven recognizes that while every person may be different, all of our struggles as humans are similar to each other. So while listeners may not be able to relate specifically to Admiral McRaven’s career in the Navy, his message is universal.

McRaven starts by focusing on the schools motto, “What starts here changes the world.” The motto in itself relays the message that graduating from the University of Texas is just the beginning of what’s to come.

Students graduate with the knowledge they have gained from their professors and peers, but once they leave, they have to apply those lessons to the real world.

No matter what career path you have chosen, you are sure to face challenges. You may decide that some are too big to overcome or too complicated to deal with.

However, McRaven uses UT’s motto to call people to action. Don’t settle for how things are or how they have always been if they can be improved. Make an effort today to create a change in the world.

Throughout the rest of his speech, McRaven recounts his life as a Navy SEAL following his own graduation from the University of Texas and the ten most important lessons that he learned from his initial six months of basic training.

You can view the full speech here:

This speech touched so many people that it led to the publishing of McRaven’s #1 New York Times Best Seller, Make Your Bed .

make your bed speech quotes

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World

But what insight did Admiral McRaven gain during his time in the Navy and how can those lessons be implemented into everyone else’s life?

In this article, I will delve into the five biggest lessons that you can take away from this commencement speech to help you change the world, and I will reveal what Admiral McRaven is really telling people when he says to make your bed .

Lesson #1: Make Your Bed Every Morning

Starting your day off by completing a task will initiate your momentum to do the next task, and then the next, and so on. It will give you a sense of accomplishment that you will want to continue to feel throughout the day.

If you can’t complete a small and mundane task each morning such as making your bed, you can’t expect yourself to be able to complete more complicated tasks moving forward.

If you end up having an unproductive or otherwise negligible day, you will still come home and be reminded that you completed that one task, which can instill hope that you will have a better or more productive day tomorrow.

In your life, the small task that jumpstarts your day may not literally be making your bed. But the point is to find one task that you can make into a habit that will slowly start to get to the root of a problem you’re facing or inch toward a goal for which you’re reaching.

As long as you accomplish this task every day, you will be starting off on the right foot. Set this task up as a routine, so no matter what, this one thing gets completed every day.

Make sure the task you choose is meaningful to you and your team. While tucking in sheets may not feel meaningful to you, as a Navy SEAL heading to bed after a long day of training, a neatly made bed would provide meaningful comfort and a sense of reward.

What task do you do every day that provides value when all is said and done? Identify a task that you derive a clear value from when you look back at your previous state.

Lesson #2: You Can’t Change the World Alone

In McRaven’s speech, he describes rafting through the tall waves of the sea at night with three rowers on each side of the boat and one guide at the bow.

Apply this idea of team work to your life. You will always work with people who have various talents, but you need a balance of skills and abilities in order to succeed. Like Admiral McRaven, you want to be able to balance out those who can work at a faster pace with those who take more time, but produce high-quality work.

In order to make a difference, you also need to have the support of friends, family, co-workers, and others who share your vision. You need a strong team of people behind you to help you along your way.

This means it is important to nurture as many relationships as you can throughout life to ultimately be successful and to always recognize the role that other people played in your triumphs.

In turn, be willing to help out others who are on your team. Don’t prevent other people from learning or growing by keeping a task to yourself. Instead, be a leader and help your team along by encouraging everyone to grow and preventing just one person from taking on the entire load.

Consider your strengths and the progress your team could make together if you shared your expertise with them.

Lesson #3: Perfection Doesn’t Exist

While in training, Admiral McRaven underwent uniform inspections by his instructors, which he (and his fellow students) would fail on every occasion, no matter how hard they tried to prepare for it.

The instructors would always find something wrong with the students’ efforts, which would result in them having to endure a grueling run into the water, fully clothed, and a roll through the sand before spending the rest of the day in their dirty uniform.

Those who couldn’t accept the fact that their labor went unappreciated were the ones who didn’t make it through training. They were trying to reach a level of perfection that doesn’t exist.

People who focus on perfection hold unattainable standards for themselves and are overly concerned with how others perceive them. They don’t see mistakes as being an opportunity for growth , but rather a sign of failure.

Because of this, perfectionists rarely realize their full potential. Admiral McRaven’s advice here is to get over your failures and move on.

Lesson #4: Don’t Be Afraid of the Challenges That You Face

Whether it is a failure of some sort, an obstacle that you have to overcome, or an unexpected turn of events, don’t be afraid to face the things that try to break you down on your path to success.

Realize that these hurdles are most often opportunities to gain strength and resilience, which will make success more likely in the end.

Everyone will face challenges at times that may even make you want to quit. However, recognizing your ability to fight through these tough times will help you advance past subsequent barriers as your strength continues to multiply.

Furthermore, prepare yourself for the possible challenges you may face by doing small things each day that will make challenges in the future seem less intimidating.

make your bed free pdf | make your bed book review | make your bed mcraven pdf

For example, if you have a personal goal of reducing expenses , how often are you taking the time to review your spending ? How are you preparing yourself to face an unexpected bill? You have to take little steps to help make any potential challenges more approachable, no matter what line of work you’re in.

Lesson #5: Be Your Best In Your Darkest Moments

One thing that is certain is that you will face dark moments during your life. You will experience the death of a loved one and other events that leave you questioning the future. It is often difficult to imagine your life improving during these testing times.

While you may feel like you’ve lost the hope of deriving joy from life again, it is during these most difficult times that you dig deep inside yourself and bring out your best self.

Moving forward despite your feelings of helplessness will give you the necessary chance to come out on the other side and begin your journey of healing.

During these times, focus on the things you have rather than the things that you need. Capitalize on your strengths to help you get through these dark moments and remember that you have more inner strength than you will probably ever realize.

Final Thoughts on the Make Your Bed Speech

While few people have first-hand experience enduring the infamously difficult training that is required to become a Navy SEAL, Admiral McRaven offers lessons in his commencement speech that are universally applicable.

Everyone can relate to his message that even if you work as hard as you possibly can, you will still face failure at times. The key to being successful and changing the world, however, is to keep getting back up.

You have a choice each time you fail to either quit or find a lesson from the failure and move on. In order to change the world, you have to never, ever give up .

And if you're looking for more small habits that can change your life forever that only take five minutes or less to complete, watch the video below:

make your bed speech quotes

Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

make your bed speech | admiral mcraven | admiral mcraven speech

Admiral McRaven “Make Your Bed” Commencement Speech Transcript

Admiral William H McRaven Commencement Speech Make Your Bed Transcript

Admiral William H. McRaven gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas often referred to as the “Make Your Bed” speech. It’s considered one of the best and more inspirational commencement speeches. Read the full transcript of McRaven’s May 19, 2014 speech right here at Rev.com.

Admiral McRaven: ( 00:00 ) Thank you very much, thank you. Well, thank you president Powers, Provost Fenves, deans, members of the faculty, family and friends, and most importantly, the class of 2014, it is indeed an honor for me to be here tonight. It’s been almost 37 years to the day that I graduated from UT. I remember a lot of things about that day. I remember I had a throbbing headache from a party the night before. I remember I had a serious girlfriend who I later married. That’s important to remember by the way. And I remember I was getting commissioned in the Navy that day, but of all the things I remember, I don’t have a clue who the commencement speaker was and I certainly don’t remember anything they said.

Admiral McRaven: ( 00:59 ) So acknowledging that fact, if I can’t make this commencement speech memorable, I’ll at least try to make it short. So the university slogan is, what starts here changes the world. Well, I’ve got to admit, I kind of like it. What starts here changes the world. Tonight there are almost 8,000 students or there are more than 8,000 students graduated from UT. So that great Paragon of analytical rigor ask.com says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime. 10,000 people, that’s a lot of folks. But if every one of you change the lives of just 10 people and each one of those people change the lives of another 10 people and another 10 then in five generations, 125 years, the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people, 800 million people.

Admiral McRaven: ( 01:59 ) Think about it, over twice the population of United States go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world. 8 billion people. If you think it’s hard to change the lives of 10 people change their lives forever, you’re wrong. I saw it happen every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. A young army officer makes a decision to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad and the 10 soldiers with him are saved from a close in ambush. In Kandahar province, Afghanistan, a noncommissioned officer from the female engagement team senses that something isn’t right and directs the infantry platoon away from a 500 pound IED saving the lives of a dozen soldiers. But if you think about it, not only were those soldiers saved by the decisions of one person, but their children were saved and their children’s children, generations were saved by one decision, one person.

Admiral McRaven: ( 02:59 ) But changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it. So what starts here can indeed change the world. But the question is, what will the world look like after you change it? Well, I’m confident that it will look much, much better. But if you’ll humor this old sailor for just a moment, I have a few suggestions that might help you on your way to a better world. And while these lessons were learned during my time in the military, I can assure you that it matters not whether you’ve ever served a day in uniform, it matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward, changing ourselves and changing the world around us will apply equally to all. I’ve been a Navy SEAL for 36 years, but it all began when I left UT for basic SEAL training in Coronado, California.

Admiral McRaven: ( 03:53 ) Basic SEAL training is six months, a long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacle courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable. It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL. But the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships. To me, basic SEAL training was a lifetime of challenges crammed into six months. So here are the 10 lessons I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be a value to you as you move forward in life.

Admiral McRaven: ( 04:44 ) Every morning in SEAL training, my instructors who were at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they do is inspect my bed. If I did it right, the corners would be square, the covers would be pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack. It was a simple task, mundane at best, but every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection.

Admiral McRaven: ( 05:13 ) It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs. But the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you made 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. And 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 the little things in life matter.

Admiral McRaven: ( 05:51 ) If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made, that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. So if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. During SEAL training the students, during training the students are all broken down in a boat crews. Each crew is seven students, three on each side of a small rubber boat and one cox and to help guide the dinging. Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast. In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in.

Admiral McRaven: ( 06:45 ) Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously dumped back on the beach. For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle. You can’t change the world alone you will need some help and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the Goodwill of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide you. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle. Over a few weeks of difficult training, my SEAL class which started with 150 men was down to just 42. There were now six boat crews of seven men each. I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up with little guys, the munchkin crew, we called them. No one was over five foot five.

Admiral McRaven: ( 07:42 ) The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish American, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the Midwest. They out paddled outran and out swam all the other boat crews. The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim, but somehow these little guys from every corner of the nation in the world always had the last laugh sewing faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us. SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education, not your social status. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not by the size of their flippers.

Admiral McRaven: ( 08:38 ) Several times a week the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection. It was exceptionally thorough. Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform, immaculately pressed, your belt buckle, shiny and void of any smudges, but it seemed that no matter how much effort you’re put into starching your hat or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle and it just wasn’t good enough. The instructors would find something wrong. For failing uniform inspection, the student had to run fully clothed into the surf zone, then wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand, the effect was known as a sugar cookie.

Admiral McRaven: ( 09:22 ) You stayed in the uniform the rest of the day, cold, wet, and Sandy. There were many of student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their efforts were in vain. That no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right, it went on appreciated. Those students didn’t make it through training. Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill. You were never going to succeed. You were never going to have a perfect uniform. The instructors weren’t going to allow it. Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform, you still end up as a sugar cookie. It’s just the way life is sometimes. If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward. Every day during training, you were challenged with multiple physical events, long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics, something designed to test your metal.

Admiral McRaven: ( 10:15 ) Every event had standards times you had to meet. If you fail to meet those times, those standards, your name was posted on a list and at the end of the day those on the list were invited to a circus. A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics designed to wear you down to break your spirit, to force you to quit. No one wanted a circus. A circus met that for that day. You didn’t measure up. A circus meant more fatigue and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult and more surfaces were likely, but at sometime during SEAL training, everyone, everyone made the circus list. But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list. Over time those students who did two hours of extras, calisthenics got stronger and stronger. The pain of the circuses built inner strength and physical resiliency. Life is filled with circuses.

Admiral McRaven: ( 11:15 ) You will fail. You will likely fail often it will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core, but if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses. At least twice a week the trainees were required to run the obstacle course. The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including a 10 foot wall, a 30 foot cargo net, a barbwire crawl to name a few, but the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life. It had a three level 30 foot tower at one end and a one-level tower at the other. In between was a 200 foot long rope. You had to climb the three tiered tower and once at the top you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end. The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began in 1977.

Admiral McRaven: ( 12:10 ) The record seemed unbeatable until one day a student decided to go down the slide for life head first. Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the top of the rope and thrust himself forward. It was a dangerous move, seemingly foolish and fraught with risk. Failure could be an injury and being dropped from the course. Without hesitation, the students slid down the rope perilously fast instead of several minutes it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record. If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacles head first.

Admiral McRaven: ( 12:52 ) During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island, which lies off the coast of San Diego. The waters of San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks. To pass SEAL training there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One is the night swim. Before the swim the instructors joyfully brief the students on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters of San Clemente. They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark, at least not that they can remember. But you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position, stand your ground, do not swim away, do not act afraid. And if the shark hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you, then summons up all your strength and punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away. There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim, you will have to deal with them. So if you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

Admiral McRaven: ( 14:02 ) As Navy SEALs, one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemies shipping. We practiced this technique extensively during training. The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy Harbor and then swims well over two miles underwater using nothing but a DEF gauge and a compass to get to the target. During the entire swim even well below the surface, there is some light that comes through. It is comforting to know that there is open water above you, but as you approach the ship, which is tied to appear, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the Moonlight. It blocks the surrounding streetlamps. It blocks all ambient light. To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel, the center line, and the deepest part of the ship.

Admiral McRaven: ( 14:56 ) This is your objective, but the keel is also the darkest part of the ship where you cannot see your hand in front of your face or the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening and where it gets to be easily disoriented and you can fail. Every SEAL knows that under the keel at that darkest moment of the mission is a time when you need to be calm, when you must be calm, where you must be composed. When all your tactical skills, your physical power, and your inner strength must be brought to bear. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moments.

Admiral McRaven: ( 15:38 ) The ninth week of training is referred to as hell week. It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and one special day at the mudflats. The mudflats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slews, a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you. It is on Wednesday of hell week, which you paddle down in the mudflats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive this freezing cold, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors.

Admiral McRaven: ( 16:12 ) As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some egregious infraction of the rules was ordered into the mud. The mud consumed each man until there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit. Only five men, just five men, and we could get out of the oppressive cold. Looking around the mudflat it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up. Eight more hours of bone chilling cold, chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud, it was hard to hear anything.

Admiral McRaven: ( 16:54 ) And then one voice began to echo through the night. One voice raised in song. The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm. One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing. The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing, but the singing persisted and somehow the mud seemed a little warmer. And the wind a little tamer and the dawn, not so far away. If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person, a Washington, a Lincoln, King, Mandela, and even a young girl from Pakistan, Malala, one person can change the world by giving people hope. So if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck and mud.

Admiral McRaven: ( 17:51 ) Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell, ring the bell, and you no longer have to wake up at five o’clock ring the bell and you no longer have to be in the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT, and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. All you have to do is ring the bell to get out. If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

Admiral McRaven: ( 18:33 ) To the class of 2014 you are moments away from graduating, moments away from beginning your journey through life, moments away from starting to change the world for the better. It will not be easy, but you are the class of 2014 the class that can affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century. Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up on the times, you’re the toughest face down the bullies. Lift up the downtrodden and never ever give up. If you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will indeed have changed the world for the better. Thank you very much, hook ’em horns.

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27 Make Your Bed Quotes by William H. McRaven

Chandan negi.

  • September 16, 2023
  • Books Quotes

“Make Your Bed” by Admiral William H. McRaven emphasizes the significance of pursuing goals and transforming lives through individual determination and collective support.

Stemming from a commencement speech given in 2014 at the University of Texas, McRaven shares life lessons from his rigorous Navy SEAL training, underscoring that success isn’t tied to one’s background but to small actions and collaboration.

McRaven’s teachings include the importance of daily bed-making for productivity and optimism, the value of persistence in overcoming life’s “Circuses” and the necessity of teamwork in life’s battles.

Make Your Bed - Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven

Drawing on his own challenges, including a debilitating injury, McRaven highlights the essential role of supportive relationships.

Ultimately, the book inspires readers to make meaningful impacts, however small, to create positive ripple effects in the world.

Here are the best quotes from Make Your Bed book for you.

Inspiring Make Your Bed Quotes

make-your-bed-quotes-from-william-h-mcraven

Quitting never makes anything easier. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

make-your-bed-sayings

If you want to change the world… slide down the obstacle headfirst. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

make-your-bed-captions

If you want to change the world… start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

quotes-about-make-your-bed

If you want to change the world… be your very best in the darkest moments. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

quotes-on-make-your-bed

Of all the lessons I learned in SEAL training, this was the most important. ‘Never quit’. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

motivational-quotes-about-make-your-bed

Change is never easy, particularly for the person in charge. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

inspirational-quotes-about-make-your-bed

Hope is the most powerful force in the universe. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

Also read: Inspiring Quotes From Limitless by Jim Kwik and Inspiring Quotes From Think Like A Monk By Jay Shetty .

Best Make Your Bed Quotes

Determination and grit were always more important than talent. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

inspiring-make-your-bed-quotes-from-william-h-mcraven

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

It’s not the size of your flippers that count, just the size of your heart. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

inspiring-quotes-about-make-your-bed

If you want to change the world… don’t ever, ever ring the bell. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed) .

Famous Make Your Bed Quotes

You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

best-make-your-bed-quotes

If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the Circuses. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

It takes a team of good people to get you to your destination in life. You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

At some point we will all confront a dark moment in life. If not the passing of a loved one, then something else that crushes your spirit and leaves you wondering about your future. In that dark moment, reach deep inside yourself and be your very best. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

top-make-your-bed-quotes

If you want to change the world… don’t back down from the sharks. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

It was a simple lesson in overcoming your anxieties and trusting your abilities to get the job done. The lesson would serve me well in the years to come. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

In life you will face a lot of Circuses. You will pay for your failures. But, if you persevere, if you let those failures teach you and strengthen you, then you will be prepared to handle life’s toughest moments. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

powerful-make-your-bed-quotes

If you want to change the world… get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

Top Make Your Bed Quotes

True leaders must learn from their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, no matter how good you are, you still end up as a sugar cookie. Don’t complain. Don’t blame it on your misfortune. Stand tall, look to the future, and drive on! ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

best-make-your-bed-quotes-from-william-h-mcraven

If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

great-make-your-bed-quotes

You can defy and defeat evil. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

SEAL training was always about proving something. Proving that size didn’t matter. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

So these were the 27 top quotes from Make Your Bed book by William H. McRaven.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on topics of Keep Moving book quotes and Dare to Lead book quotes .

Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar

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Make Your Bed

30 pages • 1 hour read

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...and Maybe the World

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Chapters 3-4

Chapters 5-6

Chapters 7-8

Chapters 9-10

Key Figures

Index of Terms

Important Quotes

Essay Topics

Discussion Questions

“Making my bed correctly was not going to be an opportunity for praise. It was expected of me. It was my first task of the day, and doing it right was important. It demonstrated my discipline.”

Making one’s bed in the morning is a symbolic act: It shows commitment to discipline, humble willingness to perform rote chores, and the desire to start each day with a small success. McRaven wants readers to perform an act like this one without expectation of praise, but instead with a sense of duty to oneself.

“In battle soldiers die, families grieve, your days are long and filled with anxious moments. You search for something that can give you solace, that can motivate you to begin your day, that can be a sense of pride in an oftentimes ugly world.”

McRaven stresses that the world can be a painful and ugly place; its joy and beauty is often masked by undesirable or unfair circumstances. He argues that individuals who create habits to deal with obstacles in a productive way will approach these obstacles from the perspective of usefully positive productivity.

“The small rubber boat made us realize that no man could make it through training alone. No SEAL could make it through combat alone and by extension you needed people in your life to help you through the difficult times.”

While most people will never face actual combat, McRaven’s point is highly relatable: We all need other people to succeed in life. Nobody is an island. Human beings thrive in relationships and in community. Teamwork is key.

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The Full Admiral McRaven Speech Transcript

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O n May 17, 2014, Former Admiral William. H. McRaven advised the graduates of the class of 2014 at the University of Texas. He served in the Navy for many years.

The former Admiral McRaven’s speech is very motivational, and the whole purpose of the speech is to show that anyone can change the world. In his speech, he gives ten suggestions on how anyone can see the world.

Article Topics

What is the theme of admiral mcraven speech.

The general theme of his ‘make your bed speech’ is that anyone can change the world; all you need is the courage to do it. He also explains how giving up isn’t an option no matter what you’re going through. Eventually, it will pass, and you will win.

Admiral McRaven also explains how it isn’t necessary to change everyone’s lives for the world to change. All you need is to change the lives of only a few people, and the generations to come will feel the effect. You would have changed their entire lineage’s lives.

Watch and Listen to this motivational video of the Admiral McRaven Speech on YouTube

What advice did navy admiral william.h.mcraven give in his commencement address and well known 'make your bed speech'.

  • Make your bed . Making your bed means that you’d have accomplished the first task of the day. It might seem small and mundane, but even after a long miserable day, at least you’ll come back to a made bed.
  • Find someone to help you paddle . You can’t change the world on your own; you need a support team, people to cheer you up and help you change the world. We all need help.
  • Measure a person by the size of their heart, not their flippers’ size . The physical aspects of who someone is don’t necessarily make up for a lot. What’s on the inside is what matters the most.
  • Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward . Sometimes the universe just doesn’t recognize your efforts no matter how much you’ve put in. This shouldn’t make you lose hope, get over it and keep pushing.
  • Don’t be afraid of the circuses . Some situations will wear us down, but they are meant to strengthen your resolve by the end of the day.
  • Sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first . Even in the hardest of situations, you have to take a risk and face your problems head first. Sometimes that’s the only way to win.
  • Don’t back down from the sharks . Sharks are obstacles that you might face in your journey. Even when those obstacles show up, don’t back down. That’s the only way you’ll win.
  • If you want to change the world, you must be the very best in your darkest moment . During the darkest moments, it gets hard to see what lies ahead, but be hopeful because, after that darkness, there can only be light.
  • Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud . In your darkest moments, be the person who stands up and gives others hope. Giving others hope will mean preventing them from giving up during those difficult moments.
  • Don’t ever ring the bell . Ringing the bell is the easiest thing to do. But for you to succeed in life, you will have to assume that giving up isn’t an option, and that’s when you can concentrate on winning.

The Full Admiral McRaven Speech

The Full Admiral McRaven Speech

It’s been almost 37 years to the day that I graduated from UT. I remember a lot of things about that day. I remember I had a throbbing headache from a party the night before. I remember I had a serious girlfriend, whom I later married (that’s important to remember, by the way), and I remember that I was getting commissioned in the Navy that day.

But of all the things I remember, I don’t have a clue who the commencement speaker was, and I certainly don’t remember anything they said. So, acknowledging that fact, if I can’t make this commencement speech memorable, I will at least try to make it short.

The University’s slogan is, “What starts here changes the world.” I’ve got to admit. I kind of like it. “What starts here changes the world.”

Tonight there are almost 8,000 students (there are more than 8000) graduating from UT. So, that great paragon of analytical rigor, Ask.Com, says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime. That’s a lot of folks. But, if every one of you changed the lives of just ten people and each one of those people changed the lives of another ten people,(just ten people) then in five generations 125 years, the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people.

Eight hundred million people — think about it — over twice the population of the United States. Go one more generation, and you can change the entire population of the world — eight billion people.

If you think it’s hard to change the lives of 10 people, change their lives forever, you’re wrong. I saw it happen every day in Iraq and Afghanistan: A young Army officer makes a decision to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad, and the ten soldiers with him are saved from a close-in ambush.

In Kandahar province, Afghanistan, a non-commissioned officer from the Female Engagement Team senses that something isn’t right and directs the infantry platoon away from a 500-pound IED, saving the lives of a dozen soldiers.

But, if you think about it, not only were those soldiers saved by the decisions of one person, but their children were saved. And their children’s children were saved. Generations were saved by one decision, one person.

But changing the world can happen anywhere, and anyone can do it. So, what starts here can indeed change the world, but the question is — what will the world look like after you change it?

Well, I am confident that it will look much, much better. But if you will humor this old sailor for just a moment, I have a few suggestions that may help you on your way to a better world. And while these lessons were learned during my time in the military, I can assure you that it matters not whether you ever served a day in uniform. It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status.

Our struggles in this world are similar, and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward — changing ourselves and changing the world around us — will apply equally to all.

I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years. But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California. Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep, and always being cold, wet, and miserable.

It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.

But the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure, and hardships. To me, basic SEAL training was a lifetime of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the ten lessons I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

1. Make your bed

Every morning in 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 is inspect my bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square; the covers would be pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard, and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack.

It was a simple task, mundane at best. But every morning, we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

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 the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never be able to do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

2. Find someone to paddle with

During SEAL training, the students are broken down into boat crews. Each crew is seven students — three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy. Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast. In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high, and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in.

Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort, or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously dumped back on the beach.

For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle. You can’t change the world alone — you will need some help — and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the goodwill of strangers, and a strong coxswain to guide them.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Admiral McRaven Speech Transcript - Find someone to paddle with

3. Measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers

Over a few weeks of difficult training, my SEAL class, which started with 150 men, was down to just 42. There were now six boat crews of seven men each. I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of the little guys (the munchkin crew we called them) no one was over about five-foot-five.

The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish American, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the midwest. They out-paddled, out-ran, and out-swam all the other boat crews.

The big men in the other boat crews would always make good-natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim. But somehow, these little guys, from every corner of the nation and the world, always had the last laugh, swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education, and not your social status.

If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

4. Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Several times a week, the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection. It was exceptionally thorough. Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform immaculately pressed, your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges.

But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat, or pressing your uniform, or polishing your belt buckle — it just wasn’t good enough. The instructors would find “something” wrong.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surf zone, and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand. The effect was known as a “sugar cookie.” You stayed in the uniform the rest of the day — cold, wet, and sandy.

There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain. That no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right, it was unappreciated. Those students didn’t make it through training. Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill. You were never going to succeed. You were never gonna have a perfect uniform.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform, you still end up as a sugar cookie. It’s just the way life is sometimes.

If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

5. Don’t be afraid of the circuses.

Every day during training, you were challenged with multiple physical events — long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics — something designed to test your mettle. Every event had standards — times you had to meet.

If you failed to meet those standards, your name was posted on a list, and at the end of the day, those on the list were invited to a “circus.” A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.

No one wanted a circus.

A circus meant that for that day, you didn’t measure up. A circus meant more fatigue, and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult, and more circuses were likely. But at some time during SEAL training, everyone, everyone, made the circus list.

But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list. Over time those students — who did two hours of extra calisthenics — got stronger and stronger. The pain of the circuses built inner strength and physical resiliency.

Life is filled with circuses. You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.

But if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

6. If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course. The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles, including a 10-foot high wall, a 30-foot cargo net, and a barbed wire crawl, to name a few.

But the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life. It had a three-level 30-foot tower at one end and a one-level tower at the other. In between was a 200-foot-long rope. You had to climb the three-tiered tower, and once at the top, you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope, and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end.

The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began training in 1977. The record seemed unbeatable until one day; a student decided to go down the slide for life head first. Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move — seemingly foolish and fraught with risk. Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the course. Without hesitation, the student slid down the rope perilously fast. Instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time, and by the end of the course, he had broken the record.

If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

Admiral McRaven Speech Transcript - change the world

7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks

During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island, which lies off the coast of San Diego. The waters off San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks.

To pass SEAL training, there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One is the night swim.

Before the swim, the instructors joyfully brief the trainees on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente.

They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark — at least not that they can remember. But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position, stand your ground.

Do not swim away. Do not act afraid. And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you, then summon up all your strength and punch him in the snout, and he will turn and swim away.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim, you will have to deal with them.

So, if you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

8. Be your very best in the darkest moments.

As Navy SEALs, one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping. We practiced this technique extensively during training. The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then swims well over two miles — underwater — using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target.

During the entire swim, even well below the surface, there is some light that comes through. It is comforting to know that there is open water above you. But as you approach the ship, which is tied to a pier, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight, it blocks the surrounding street lamps, it blocks all ambient light.

To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel — the centerline and the deepest part of the ship. This is your objective. But the keel is also the darkest part of the ship — where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, where the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening, and where it is easy to get disoriented and you can fail.

Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission, is the time when you must be calm when you must be composed — when all your tactical skills, your physical power, and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moments.

9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud

The ninth week of training is referred to as “Hell Week.” It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment, and one special day at the Mud Flats. The Mud Flats are area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slues, a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mudflats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind, and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors. As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules,” was ordered into the mud.

The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit — just five men — and we could get out of the oppressive cold. Looking around the mudflat, it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up — eight more hours of bone-chilling cold.

The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything. And then, one voice began to echo through the night, one voice raised in song. The song was terribly out of tune but sung with great enthusiasm. One voice became two, and two became three, and before long, everyone in the class was singing.

The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing, but the singing persisted. And somehow, the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer, and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person — Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela, and even a young girl from Pakistan, Malala — one person can change the world by giving people hope.

So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

Admiral McRaven Speech Transcript - Start singing when you are up to your neck in mud

10. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

Finally, in SEAL training, there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell.

Ring the bell, and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell, and you no longer have to be in the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell, and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT — and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. All you have to do is ring the bell and be out.

If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

Why does Admiral McRaven say to make your bed?

He emphasizes making your bed first thing in the morning because by doing that, you have accomplished your first task of the day. Making your bed means; you have already won something even before you’ve begun. And even if your day ends up being not perfect, at the end of the day, you will come back home to a well-made bed to rest on.

Making your bed in the morning will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment and help you get through the day. Having accomplished your first task in the morning will give you the encouragement needed to accomplish the other tasks ahead of you, making it not just one task but a couple of others that followed.

When did Admiral McRaven make his speech?

Admiral McRaven, the ninth U.S. Special Operations Command, made his speech at the University of Texas commencement on May 17, 2014.

Final Words

The Admiral’s speech is the most memorable speech ever given due to the amount of wisdom and advice. It is an encouragement to everyone that making a change in the world doesn’t require much except for will and drive. Never giving up is a very great tool that he shares multiple times in his speech.

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Luke Ocean is a writer, self-proclaimed bio-hacker, wellness advocate and yoga expert. Luke grew up on a small ranch in Montana and enlisted in the Navy to study and become a cryptologist. He later graduated from the US Naval Academy with a Minor in Mandarin and a Bachelor's of Science for General Engineering and a Major of English Literature. Luke's interests and career span multiple industries and various disciplines.  Luke resides in San Antonio and is a Certified Yoga Instructor, a student of Zen Buddhism, practitioner of Holistic Psychology and has completed his CYT-200 and is studying for his 300-hour yoga teacher training.

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William H. McRaven

make your bed speech quotes

William Harry McRaven (born 6 November 1955 ) is a retired United States Navy admiral who last served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command from August 8, 2011, to August 28, 2014. Since January 2015, he has served as the chancellor of The University of Texas System.

make your bed speech quotes

  • 1.1 Make Your Bed (2017)
  • 1.2 Open letter to US President Donald Trump (2018)
  • 2 Quotes about McRaven
  • 3 External links

Quotes [ edit ]

  • It's been 37 years to the day since I graduated from UT.
  • If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed ... 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. And 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 the little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made, that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
  • During Navy Seal training the students are all broken down into boat crews. Each crew is seven students — three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy. Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast. In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in. Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously dumped back on the beach. For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle. You can’t change the world alone — you will need some help — and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the goodwill of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide you. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle .
  • If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the Circuses.
  • If you want to change the world measure a person by the size of their heart , not the size of their flippers.
  • If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.
  • University of Texas at Austin - 2014 Commencement Address
  • Chancellor McRaven speaking at the FBI Agents Association’s G-Man Honors Event - October 28, 2015, in Washington, D.C.
  • McRaven wrote in a February 20 editorial in the Washington Post about the dismissal by the president of the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, for having briefed congressional intelligence committee members about emerging evidence of foreign efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. [1]

Make Your Bed (2017) [ edit ]

Open letter to us president donald trump (2018) [ edit ].

  • Dear Mr. President: Former CIA director John Brennan , whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity , whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him. Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.
  • A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself. Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.
  • If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken.

Quotes about McRaven [ edit ]

  • About the author section on the back inside flap of the dust jacket of Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe The World (2017), New York: Grand Central Publishing, hardcover

External links [ edit ]

make your bed speech quotes

  • 1955 births
  • Living people
  • People from North Carolina
  • People from San Antonio
  • Military leaders from the United States

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11 inspiring quotes by Bill McRaven, the Navy SEAL admiral who oversaw the bin Laden raid

  • Retired SEAL Adm. Bill McRaven had an illustrious 37-year career in the Navy.
  • The commando served in the elite SEAL Team 6 before he was fired by the unit's commander, Richard Marcinko.
  • Following his firing, McRaven rose through the ranks, eventually commanding the Joint Special Operations Command.
  • While he served alongside America's most elite fighters, he oversaw the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips and the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden.
  • The retired SEAL has had his share of controversy, most recently butting heads with President Donald Trump over the president's attacks against the media and move to strip the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan , who's been a harsh Trump critic.

"Changing the world can happen anywhere, and anyone can do it."

make your bed speech quotes

This was just one of many famous quotes to come from a 2014 University of Texas commencement speech.

"If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."

make your bed speech quotes

In the now famous speech that has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube, McRaven gave University of Texas' graduating class advice on how to change the world. 

His first tip: Make your bed.

McRaven explains the mantra, which later became the title of a #1 New York Times bestselling book, will help people start each day by accomplishing a task — then one more, and another. It also helps emphasize the importance of the "little things."

"And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made," he said. "And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better."

Read more : A Navy SEAL commander explains why you should make your bed every single day

"It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar, and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward changing ourselves and changing the world around us will apply equally to all."

make your bed speech quotes

Read more : Here's the story behind one of the most iconic photos from the bin Laden raid

"Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform, you still end up a 'sugar cookie.'"

make your bed speech quotes

In Navy SEAL training, sailors who failed at basic tasks had to perform extra training at the end of each day. These SEAL hopefuls had to jump into the surf then roll around until completely covered with sand — earning the nickname 'sugar cookie.' 

During his UT commencement speech in 2014, McRaven said that many who became frustrated that their hard work didn't pay off often quit. The lesson, he said, was that the true test is how one recovers from failure.

"Work hard. Be humble, and I think that will serve you well in life."

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"The great [leaders] know how to fail."

make your bed speech quotes

McRaven addressed cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point during a ceremony for its seniors who had 500 days left until graduation. His speech, called "A Sailor's Perspective on the Army," detailed leadership lessons he learned from Army officers during his 37 years in service.

"If you want to be a SEAL, you must do two things: Listen to your parents and be nice to the other kids."

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McRaven gave this piece of advice to a young boy who wrote the SEAL asking if the Navy's most elite commandos were quieter than ninjas.

Read more: Boy sends question about ninjas to head of Joint Special Ops, gets a response

"It's not just about holding people accountable, it's making sure the people around you understand that their effort is worthwhile."

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During a speech at UT's Moody College of Communications in February 2017, McRaven talked about the connection between leadership and communication.

"You may be in charge, but it's never about you and you can't forget that."

make your bed speech quotes

During his speech at Moody College, McRaven said leaders always need to be aware of the impacts their decisions make on their subordinates.

"There is nothing more important to a democracy than an active and engaged press."

make your bed speech quotes

After his speech at Moody College, McRaven published his thoughts about the American press and President Donald Trump's repeated attacks against the institution.

"I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well."

make your bed speech quotes

McRaven authored a blistering rebuke of President Trump's move to revoke the security clearnace of John Brennan, Obama's CIA director who has been a harsh critic of Trump.

In the Washington Post op-ed , McRaven defended Brennan as a "man of unparalleled integrity" and said it would be "an honor" to have his own security clearance revoked along with Brennan's.

Trump responded by calling McRaven a "Hillary Clinton fan."

Read more : 'You have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children' -- Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid rebukes Trump

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Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World

Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, delivered a memorable speech at the University-wide Commencement on May 17. See the full transcript.

View 10 Life Lessons from Admiral McRaven .

The following are the remarks by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the University-wide Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17:

President Powers, Provost Fenves, Deans, members of the faculty, family and friends and most importantly, the class of 2014. Congratulations on your achievement.

It’s been almost 37 years to the day that I graduated from UT. I remember a lot of things about that day. I remember I had throbbing headache from a party the night before. I remember I had a serious girlfriend, whom I later married — that’s important to remember by the way — and I remember that I was getting commissioned in the Navy that day.

But of all the things I remember, I don’t have a clue who the commencement speaker was that evening, and I certainly don’t remember anything they said. So, acknowledging that fact, if I can’t make this commencement speech memorable, I will at least try to make it short.

The University’s slogan is, “What starts here changes the world.” I have to admit — I kinda like it. “What starts here changes the world.”

Tonight there are almost 8,000 students graduating from UT. That great paragon of analytical rigor, Ask.Com, says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime. That’s a lot of folks. But, if every one of you changed the lives of just 10 people — and each one of those folks changed the lives of another 10 people — just 10 — then in five generations — 125 years — the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people.

800 million people — think of it — over twice the population of the United States. Go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world — eight billion people.

If you think it’s hard to change the lives of 10 people — change their lives forever — you’re wrong. I saw it happen every day in Iraq and Afghanistan: A young Army officer makes a decision to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad and the 10 soldiers in his squad are saved from close-in ambush. In Kandahar province, Afghanistan, a non-commissioned officer from the Female Engagement Team senses something isn’t right and directs the infantry platoon away from a 500-pound IED, saving the lives of a dozen soldiers.

But, if you think about it, not only were these soldiers saved by the decisions of one person, but their children yet unborn were also saved. And their children’s children were saved. Generations were saved by one decision, by one person.

But changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it. So, what starts here can indeed change the world, but the question is — what will the world look like after you change it?

Well, I am confident that it will look much, much better. But if you will humor this old sailor for just a moment, I have a few suggestions that may help you on your way to a better a world. And while these lessons were learned during my time in the military, I can assure you that it matters not whether you ever served a day in uniform. It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation or your social status.

Our struggles in this world are similar, and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward — changing ourselves and the world around us — will apply equally to all.

I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years. But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California. Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable. It is six months of being constantly harrassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.

But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships. To me basic SEAL training was a lifetime of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the 10 lessons I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

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 inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack — that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task — mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

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. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews. Each crew is seven students — three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy. Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surfzone and paddle several miles down the coast. In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in. Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach.

For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle. You can’t change the world alone — you will need some help — and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Over a few weeks of difficult training my SEAL class, which started with 150 men, was down to just 35. There were now six boat crews of seven men each. I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of the the little guys — the munchkin crew we called them — no one was over about five-foot-five.

The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish American, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the midwest. They out-paddled, out-ran and out-swam all the other boat crews. The big men in the other boat crews would always make good-natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim. But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the nation and the world, always had the last laugh — swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status. 

If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

Several times a week, the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection. It was exceptionally thorough. Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform immaculately pressed and your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges. But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat, or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle — it just wasn’t good enough. The instructors would find “something” wrong.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand. The effect was known as a “sugar cookie.” You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day — cold, wet and sandy.

There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain. That no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right, it was unappreciated. Those students didn’t make it through training. Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill. You were never going to succeed. You were never going to have a perfect uniform.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie. It’s just the way life is sometimes.

If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Every day during training you were challenged with multiple physical events — long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics — something designed to test your mettle. Every event had standards — times you had to meet. If you failed to meet those standards your name was posted on a list, and at the end of the day those on the list were invited to a “circus.” A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.

No one wanted a circus.

A circus meant that for that day you didn’t measure up. A circus meant more fatigue — and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult — and more circuses were likely. But at some time during SEAL training, everyone — everyone — made the circus list.

But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list. Over time those students — who did two hours of extra calisthenics — got stronger and stronger. The pain of the circuses built inner strength, built physical resiliency.

Life is filled with circuses. You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.

But if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course. The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including a 10-foot high wall, a 30-foot cargo net and a barbed wire crawl, to name a few. But the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life. It had a three-level 30-foot tower at one end and a one-level tower at the other. In between was a 200-foot-long rope. You had to climb the three-tiered tower and once at the top, you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end. 

The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began training in 1977. The record seemed unbeatable, until one day, a student decided to go down the slide for life head first. Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move — seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk. Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training. Without hesitation the student slid down the rope perilously fast. Instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island which lies off the coast of San Diego. The waters off San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks. To pass SEAL training there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One is the night swim.

Before the swim the instructors joyfully brief the trainees on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente. They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark — at least not recently. But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position — stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid. And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you — then summon up all your strength and punch him in the snout, and he will turn and swim away.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

So, if you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

As Navy SEALs one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping. We practiced this technique extensively during basic training. The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then swims well over two miles — underwater — using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target.

During the entire swim, even well below the surface, there is some light that comes through. It is comforting to know that there is open water above you. But as you approach the ship, which is tied to a pier, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight, it blocks the surrounding street lamps, it blocks all ambient light.

To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel — the centerline and the deepest part of the ship. This is your objective. But the keel is also the darkest part of the ship — where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, where the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening and where it is easy to get disoriented and fail.

Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission, is the time when you must be calm, composed — when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

The ninth week of training is referred to as “Hell Week.” It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment, and one special day at the Mud Flats. The Mud Flats are area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slues, a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors. As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules” was ordered into the mud. 

The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit — just five men — and we could get out of the oppressive cold. Looking around the mud flat it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up — eight more hours of bone-chilling cold.

The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything. And then, one voice began to echo through the night, one voice raised in song. The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm. One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing. We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well.

The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singingbut the singing persisted. And somehow the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person — Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan, Malala — one person can change the world by giving people hope.

So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell. 

Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT — and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell.

If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

To the graduating class of 2014, you are moments away from graduating. Moments away from beginning your journey through life. Moments away from starting to change the world — for the better. It will not be easy. 

But, YOU are the class of 2014, the class that can affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century.

Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.

And what started here will indeed have changed the world — for the better.

Thank you very much. Hook ’em horns.

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William H. McRaven: If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed

William h. mcraven – change the world.

US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven, delivers a speech about the importance of doing the little things like making your bed, embracing the fears of life, and changing the world for generations to come.

Transcript:

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. 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 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. Make your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

To pass SEAL training, there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One is the night swim. Before the swim, the instructors joyfully brief the students on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente. They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark. At least not that they can remember. But you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position, stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid. If the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you, then summon up all your strength and punch him in the snout, and he will turn and swim away. There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim, you will have to deal with them. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

Over a few weeks of difficult training, my SEAL class, which started with 150 men, was down to just 42. There are now six boat crews of seven men each. I was in the boat with a tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of little guys, the munchkin crew, we called them. No one was over five foot five. The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish American, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the Midwest. The out-paddled, out-ran, and out-swam all the other boat crews. The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny, little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny, little feet prior to every swim. But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the nation in the world, always had the last laugh, swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education, not your social status. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not by the size of their flippers.

The ninth week of training is referred to as Hell Week. Is it six days of no sleep, constant mental and physical harassment, and one special day at the mud flats. The mud flats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana, where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana sloughs, a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold, the howling wind, and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors. As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some egregious infraction of the rules, was ordered into the mud. The mud consumed each man until there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit. Only five men. Just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold. Looking around the mud flat, it was apparent that some students were about to give up. There were still over eight hours until the sun came up. Eight more hours of bone-chilling cold. The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud, it was hard to hear anything.

Then one voice began to echo through the night. One voice raised in song. The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm. One voice became two. And two became three. And before long, everyone in the class was singing. The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing, but the singing persisted. And somehow, the mud seemed a little warmer, and the wind a little tamer, and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person. A Washington, a Lincoln, King, Mandela, and even the young girl from Pakistan, Malala. One person can change the world by giving people hope. So if you want to change the world, start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair, that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when the times are the toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden, and never, ever give up, if you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will, indeed, have changed the world for the better.

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Make Your Bed Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Make Your Bed encourages you to pursue your goals and change the lives of others for the better by showing that success is a combination of individual willpower and mutual support.

Favorite quote from the author:

Make Your Bed Summary

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Make your bed review, audio summary, who would i recommend the make your bed summary to.

In 2014 Admiral William H. McRaven gave the commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin. While encouraging the students to improve the world , he gave many life lessons that could be of help. He had learned most of them during his Navy SEAL training – 6 months of runs in the sand, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics and continuous harassment by veterans, who wanted only the strongest to get to the end of it. 

As a cadet, McRaven learned that success doesn’t depend on social status, race or religion. It’s not how good your parents were to you or which school you went to that determines your future. It’s a combination of the little actions and help from others that makes people successful.

The admiral’s speech went viral on Youtube and later became a book .

In Make Your Bed: Small things that can change your life… and maybe the world , McRaven stresses that life is unfair, as everybody knows. In fact, what defines great men and women is how they deal with life’s unfairness. People like Helen Keller, Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking are just a few examples.

Here are my 3 favorite lessons about leveraging self-discipline and teaming up for a meaningful life:

  • Making your bed first thing in the morning can lead to many tasks completed by the end of the day.
  • If you want to change the world, never ever ring the bell.
  • Find someone to help you paddle if you want to make a real difference in the world.

Do you want to be prepared for life challenges? Let’s see what we can learn from a Navy veteran who has held impressive key roles inside and outside the military!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Lesson 1: Making the bed can boost your productivity and even give you hope in the bad days.

As a US SEAL cadet, McRaven had to make his bed to perfection first thing after waking up.

If he failed to follow the bed-making code, he had to perform the sugar cookie ritual, which has nothing to do with treats, as you can imagine. It’s more about diving into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean and then rolling around on the beach until you are covered with sand head to toe. But why is making your bed so important?

While it may seem trivial when big assignments are waiting for you outside, starting off with this small task makes you feel a little proud and ready to deal with the rest of your tasks. And if you have a miserable day, coming back to a bed made – by you – will make you feel tomorrow will be better.

After a serious injury, McRaven spent many months lying on a hospital bed that had been wheeled into his government quarters. When he was finally able to stand up unaided, the first thing he did was adjusting the bed. 

It was his way of showing that he was recovering and moving forward.

Lesson 2: If you want to make a difference in life, never give up, learn from failures and keep improving yourself.

During the SEAL training , McRaven and his fellows had to withstand uncountable challenges of strength and courage . Giving up at any time was very easy: they just had to ring a bell hanging in the center of the compound and they would be free, immediately.

Never ring the bell if you want to achieve big goals in life.

You may have heard of the Circus, another legendary punishment known to make many cadets quit the SEAL training. It’s two hours of additional calisthenics, paired with non-stop harassment by SEAL combat veterans.

During the training, McRaven was part of a swim team that constantly came in last place and had to face the Circus many times a week. At the moment of the graduation test though, they came in first: all those hours of calisthenics had made them stronger. 

Life is full of Circuses. You fail, you keep training yourself, you get stronger .

Once McRaven’s team had to swim 4 miles in the dark. Scary enough in itself, but that night there were even reports of big white sharks near the coast. Since it was the only way to complete the SEAL training, they swam anyway.

If you want to achieve your full potential in life, don’t let fear stops you.

Lesson 3: Life is a struggle. To accomplish great things you need to fight. But you can’t do it alone: you need teammates.

SEAL cadets also have to overcome Hell Week, 7 days of endurance tests when many of them call it quits.

During their Hell Week, McRaven and his fellows had to spend a whole night sitting, covered in cold mud. In the middle of the test, some of them seemed ready to give up . Then one man began to sing. One by one the others followed him. Suddenly the mud felt less cold and the dawn closer.

Sometimes life gets very hard: the loss of someone you love, a disease or something you are not prepared for may crush your spirit. These are the moments when you need to dig inside yourself and bring out all your strength . But you also need the help of your friends and family.

Years ago the author was badly wounded in a parachute accident and he had to go through months of recovery and rehabilitation. He’s sure he would have surrendered to self-pity and depression if his wife hadn’t been there to support him.

In McRaven’s view, life is like a small rubber boat: you cannot paddle it alone. It takes a team of good people to get you where you want to go. So, as he says,

“Find someone to share your life with. Never forget that your success depends on others.”

Listen to the audio of this summary with a free reading.fm account*:

The 17-year-old discouraged about what he can do in life since he lives in a poor neighborhood, the 36-year-old who doesn’t like his life and blames it on his parents, and anyone who feels unlucky, demotivated or just lazy.

Last Updated on December 5, 2022

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Clara Lobina

Clara is a SEO content strategist, writer, and proofreader from Sardinia, Italy. She is a cofounder, head of content, and COO of Botteega, a delivery service for local goods from high-quality shops and farmers. Clara wrote a total of 16 summaries for us. When she's not working on her own or her client's blogs, she teaches and does yoga. My favorite project of hers is Come L'Acqua — "Like Water" — a personal growth and mindfulness blog (in Italian).

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Readers follow Admiral McRaven's order to 'Make Your Bed'

'Make Your Bed' by William H. McRaven

Here’s a look at what’s new on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list…

‘Bed’ time: “Make your bed.” Sounds simple. I do it, and I’m no Navy SEAL.

Admiral William H. McRaven’s Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World (Grand Central) — based on a 2014 graduation speech he gave at the University of Texas that went viral — was an immediate hit when it was published in early April, peaking at No. 5 on April 27.

As graduation season ended, sales slowed and by last week the book had dropped to No. 102. But now it’s soared up the list again, to No. 20 this week, thanks to a video of McRaven’s speech that’s caught fire on Facebook. (The full list will be published on Thursday.)

Produced by an inspirational company called Goalcast, the video (which had 91 million views as of Wednesday) incorporates footage of Navy SEALs training along with the retired admiral’s exhortations.

Goalcast’s video, posted on Aug. 16 with a link to the book, “immediately struck a nerve,” says Grand Central’s Caitlin Mulrooney-Lyski. “The video has had incredible reach in a short period of time and the admiral’s message is resonating, yet again, with a new audience.”

Why should make your bed? As McRaven said in his speech to grads: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. 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. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that’s made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

The book, an expansion on the speech, revolves around 10 “fundamental life lessons” McRaven learned in SEAL training, such as “Stand Up to Bullies: Don’t Back Down from Sharks” and “Give People Hope: Start Singing When You’re Up to Your Neck in Muck.”

McRaven, now Chancellor of the University of Texas system, spent 37 years as a Navy SEAL, and as an admiral became Commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. He oversaw the military operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Writing a best-selling graduation speech isn’t always as easy as it looks. J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives , published in 2015 and based on a graduation speech she gave at Harvard, failed to make USA TODAY’s list.

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  2. Inspiring Speech: Make Your Bed by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven

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  5. If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed

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VIDEO

  1. Admiral McRaven's Famous "Make Your Bed" Speech (UT Commencement Address)

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COMMENTS

  1. Make Your Bed Quotes by William H. McRaven

    Make Your Bed Quotes Showing 1-30 of 167 "It is easy to blame your lot in life on some outside force, to stop trying because you believe fate is against you. It is easy to think that where you were raised, how your parents treated you, or what school you went to is all that determines your future. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  2. The Best Inspirational Quotes from Make Your Bed by Admiral McRaven

    The Best Inspirational Quotes from Make Your Bed by Admiral McRaven By Liberty Hardy Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven Based on a Navy SEAL's inspiring graduation speech, this #1 New York Times bestseller of powerful life lessons "should be read by every leader in America" (Wall Street Journal).

  3. "Make Your Bed" by Admiral William H. McRaven speech transcript

    I have to admit — I kinda like it. "What starts here changes the world." Tonight there are almost 8,000 students graduating from UT. That great paragon of analytical rigor, Ask.Com, says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime. That's a lot of folks.

  4. 12 William McRaven Quotes from Make Your Bed That'll ...

    These quotes from Make Your Bed by William McRaven will shake your 'room' view. Click Here to jump right to our list of Quotes from Make Your Bed! Introduction: Changing Your World You cannot transform a wall without transforming each individual brick. You cannot transform a sports team without transforming each of the individual players.

  5. Make Your Bed Speech: Summary and 5 Lessons

    Lesson #1: Make Your Bed Every Morning Starting your day off by completing a task will initiate your momentum to do the next task, and then the next, and so on. It will give you a sense of accomplishment that you will want to continue to feel throughout the day.

  6. Admiral McRaven "Make Your Bed" Commencement Speech Transcript

    Admiral McRaven: ( 00:59) So acknowledging that fact, if I can't make this commencement speech memorable, I'll at least try to make it short. So the university slogan is, what starts here changes the world. Well, I've got to admit, I kind of like it. What starts here changes the world.

  7. 27 Make Your Bed Quotes by William H. McRaven

    Famous Make Your Bed Quotes. You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed). If you want to change the world, don't be afraid of the Circuses. ~ William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed).

  8. Make Your Bed Important Quotes

    Important Quotes. "Making my bed correctly was not going to be an opportunity for praise. It was expected of me. It was my first task of the day, and doing it right was important. It demonstrated my discipline.". (Chapter 1, Page 11) Making one's bed in the morning is a symbolic act: It shows commitment to discipline, humble willingness ...

  9. The Full Admiral McRaven Speech Transcript

    7. If you want to change the world, don't back down from the sharks 8. Be your very best in the darkest moments. 9. Start singing when you're up to your neck in mud 10. Don't ever, ever ring the bell. Why does Admiral McRaven say to make your bed? When did Admiral McRaven make his speech? Final Words

  10. William H. McRaven

    William H. McRaven If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. William Harry McRaven (born 6 November 1955) is a retired United States Navy admiral who last served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command from August 8, 2011, to August 28, 2014.

  11. 11 Quotes by Bill McRaven, Navy SEAL Who Oversaw the Bin ...

    "And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better." Read more: A Navy SEAL commander explains why you should make your bed every single day Advertisement "It matters not...

  12. Notes and Takeaways from Make Your Bed

    "Make Your Bed" is the name of both a book and a speech by Admiral William H. McRaven. The book is based on the speech of the same name, which was given at the University-wide Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014. I reviewed the speech transcript recently and wanted more. So, I read the book too.

  13. "Make Your Bed" by Admiral William H. McRaven speech transcript

    "Make Your Bed" by Admiral William H. McRaven speech transcript - The Best Inspirational Quotes from Make Your Bed by Admiral McRaven "Make Your Bed" delivered by Admiral William H. McRaven Backgrounds This speech was delivered as the commencement address to the graduates of The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014. 1 Speech Transcript

  14. Make your bed

    Watch the inspiring speech by Admiral William H. McRaven, who shares his life lessons from his Navy Seal training and urges the graduates of the University of Texas at Austin to make their bed ...

  15. Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World

    The following are the remarks by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the University-wide Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17: President Powers, Provost Fenves, Deans, members of the faculty, family and friends and most importantly, the class of 2014.

  16. William H. McRaven: How I Went Through Hell Week

    Make your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

  17. PDF Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Ret.)

    Make Your Bed is a book based on a commencement speech by the author in 2014, where he outlined ten simple ideas that he felt helped him in his journey of life and leadership. It's a simple, easy to read book, with some great examples and advice for leaders and followers alike. Simple ideas often are the best, and easiest to apply in your own ...

  18. Make Your Bed Summary by William H. McRaven

    The admiral's speech went viral on Youtube and later became a book. In Make Your Bed: ... Make Your Bed is an inspiring book that exhorts us to think big while taking care of the small things. You are supposed to meet 10000 people in your life, but even if you affect the ones of only 10 people and they do the same for someone else, the world ...

  19. "Make Your Bed" by Admiral William H. McRaven

    8 subscribers Subscribe Subscribed 43 Share 3.6K views 4 years ago "Make Your Bed" by Admiral William H. McRaven This speech was delivered as the commencement address to the graduates of The...

  20. Navy Seal William McRaven: If You Want To Change The World, Make Your Bed!

    Make Your Bed speech - US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven, delivers a speech about the importance of doing the little things like making your bed, embracing...

  21. "Make Your Bed" by Admiral William H. McRaven

    In this speech, Admiral McRaven walks through 10 lessons he learned from basic SEAL training. I've bolded the 10 lessons to make it a bit easier to skim. If you're interested in a summary, check out these notes and takeaways from Make Your Bed. Naval Admiral William H. McRaven delivered the speech at the University-wide Commencement at The ...

  22. Readers follow Admiral's order to 'Make Your Bed'

    As McRaven said in his speech to grads: "If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day ...