My top 3 stories/lessons from the book.

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

Admiral William McRaven

I hope that you do not feel attacked by the author’s debut maxim because this book is so much more than a person’s bedroom-keeping capabilities. 🤍 The entire book is thought-provoking and filled with interesting stories mostly from the author’s experiences during his SEAL training, all of which helped to develop discipline, resilience, grit and an admirable form of “prideful guts” in him and his colleagues.

Story 1.

As a trainee at the basic SEAL training, the author described how their beds were inspected every morning by an instructor to ensure that the beds were properly made, sheets tucked in, pillows and blankets aligned perfectly. It was their first task of the day and the instructors required the students to get it right!

What stayed with me was that these naval officers-in-training understood that although they were being trained to be strong and tough, there will be so many other things beyond their control. Therefore, this first task, as small and basic as it seemed, was one thing that they could do excellently well which would in turn be a source of pride, motivation, constancy and sometimes comfort for them. So good!

Carry out at least one simple task excellently each day.

Furthermore, the author noted that how well we carry out small tasks is often an indication of our potential success with bigger responsibilities. In essence, a person who is faithful with little will be able to do more.

Story 2.

25 years after his basic SEAL training when the admiral had become a captain in charge of a group of SEALs in his region, he suffered a horrible accident that put him through a surgery and left him incapacitated for about 2 months. During that period with all the physiotherapy and mental/emotional battles required to get him back on his feet, he narrated that it was his wife who stayed by him, supporting him physically and at the same time, encouraging him and reminding him of who he is.

Words of affirmation quieted self-pity; skillful, tender care soothed physical aches. Eventually, he got well.

This story reminds me that we are not meant to do life alone. Throughout life’s journey, we will need somebody else to lean on and to get us through tough patches.

We are made for partnership and community.

Of course, people may hurt or betray us. But we must not close our hearts to love and friendship. We are made for community.

Story 3.

This story sounded familiar when I read this part of the book. I am not sure why; maybe something similar has been acted in a movie I have seen in the past.

As part of their training, the SEAL trainees were told to carry out some exercises in thick mud outdoors for a stretch of several hours. If any one of the students could no longer bear the fatigue, or the bone-shattering cold, or even the taunts of their instructors, they were allowed to quit. They could get out of the mud and just…quit. But Admiral McRaven wrote about how he clung to his colleague who almost quit even though he himself was also very tired and cold. He encouraged the fellow to stay on. And then another colleague of theirs broke into a song which the whole group picked up and began to sing. Somehow, the singing helped them all to find the strength to stay the course until the time allocated for the mud exercise was complete.

This story challenges us to be a beacon of hope for the people around us. Our words and actions should show others that their dreams are possible and worth pursuing.

Be a voice of hope to others.

I believe that there is no better way to inspire others than to live our best, most authentic lives. If you don’t give up, the people looking up to you will more likely choose not to quit as well.

This is one sure way to change the world, one person at a time.


Need I say more? “Make Your Bed” is a very interesting book and I absolutely recommend it. Go find it and enjoy every bit of it! 😊

2 thoughts on “Notes from “Make Your Bed” by Admiral McRaven

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