Tony DeMeo

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a great audio book by Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired Navy Vet who spent 37 years as a Navy Seal. It was taken from his commencement address to the 2014 Graduating class at The University of Texas at Austin. The Admiral was a graduate of UT Austin & took their motto “What starts here changes the world” and gave the graduates ten simple things they could do to change the world. Admiral McRaven give numerous stories & examples to explain each point. I loved his practical approach to success in life & would make this mandatory listening to everyone who desires a successful life.

I’m going to give the 10 steps not in the order in the speech but in the way I remember them. I won’t include the stories & examples because Adm. McRaven does too good a job for me to capture. So here are the Ten Ways to Change the World:

  1. Make Your Bed – Start your day by completing a small task that will get your day off on the right foot. You can’t accomplish anything big if you can’t attend to the little things.
  2. Form a Good Team – you can’t do it alone. Surround yourself with good people, ones you can rely on.
    Note: This was one of the first things I learned in football.
  3. Never Ring The Bell – any seal can quit by ringing the bell 3 times. Then you can get back to the easy life. But quitting when the going gets tough id the path to failure. Never ever give up.
  4. Don’t Be a Sugar Cookie – Being a sugar cookie was a Navy Seal form of punishment where a Seal must dive in the surf & then roll around in the sand until he resembles a giant Sugar Cookie. Sometimes Seals are given the Sugar Cookie Treatment for no reason. This is to teach the lesson: Life Is Not Fair!
  5. Don’t Fear the Circus – a Circus is an exercise circuit given to Seals who are struggling with a specific aspect of their training. The “Circus is above & beyond the Seal’s normal exhausting day BUT the Seal’s weakness & struggle are soon gone.
  6. Don’t Back Down From Sharks – Face your fears & bullies head on. The Seals are required to do a 5 mile nighttime swim in Shark-infested waters. If they are approached by a shark looking for a midnight snack, they are to punch the shark in the snout & like most bullies will look for easier prey.
  7. It’s the Size of Your Heart that Matters – Navy Seals come in all body sizes. Some are guys that look like NFL Linebackers. But some of the most effective are guys that are not very physically imposing, but the one common thread is they all have huge hearts.
  8. Risk Much to Achieve Much – You’ll never be all you can be by always playing it safe. Sometimes you have to take a big risk to achieve an important mission. Being bold gives you an advantage.
  9. Be at Your Best in Your Darkest Moment – When things look bleak or when a mission is unraveling; that’s when you need to be at your very best. Everyone has a moment when the success of the team is dependent on you, that’s when you must be at the top of your game.
  10. If You Are Up to Your Neck in Mud; Sing – The final test for a Navy is for the unit to spend the entire night in neck-deep mud. If just 5 Seals quit the remainder of the unit can get out. The instructors use every trick in the book to get the Seals to quit. But it just takes one leader to give the entire group HOPE. In Adm. McRaven’s training one Seal started singing & soon all the Seals joined in.

That’s a brief summary of this outstanding audiobook. I‘ll listen to this often & strongly recommend it. I would get copies for Captains or Seniors on your team.