The Best Book You’ll Read in 2020
(and guess what? It’s an EASY read!!!!)
A Quick Overview of
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe The World
In 2014, Navy Admiral William H. McRaven gave a commencement speech for the graduating class at the University of Texas at Austin. During the speech that would soon go viral, McRaven shared the core tenants of his own life that can help a person achieve personal, and possibly global, success. Below is an extremely abbreviated summary of the principles, but for a greater understanding, you can buy the book here.
1. Start Your Day with a Task Completed: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” When you start off with a task completed, even something as small as making your bed, you set yourself up for success. Even if your day ends up being terrible, you end it with seeing your made bed and knowing you did something proactive that day, and that there’s always tomorrow.
2. You Can’t Go it Alone: “If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.” Everything in life is easier when you find someone (or a group of like-minded people) to help you out. Between the camaraderie and the extra sets of hands, eyes, etc., more gets accomplished when you don’t try to go it alone.
3. Only the Size of Your Heart Matters: “If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart.” This chapter addresses the will that successful people have to keep on going no matter how much resistance they get, no matter how many people tell them they aren’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough, or smart enough. In the end, what separates successful people from failures is the inability of winners to give up. They know they’re in for a fight, and that’s exactly what they do: fight!
4. Life’s Not Fair: Drive On: “If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.” Don’t blame your current state of success (in any area) on your lot in life, the way you were raised, an unfair hand you were dealt, or any outside thing. Rise up and take action, realizing life isn’t fair to anyone. Every single person alive could rattle off a list of unfair things that have happened to them, but the happiest, most successful people won’t give you that list. They know that is reactive, and that the secret to getting all you want out of life is being proactive!
5. Failure Can Make You Stronger: “If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circus.” This chapter talks about how we should never fear mistakes. Everyone makes them and if you truly understand that, then you can welcome them. The reason for that is, for every mistake, there are many, many more successes. For every time you fail an exam or assignment, there are ten you passed. For every time you got dumped or saw a relationship sour, you can probably count several others that worked and good memories you’ve gained from those relationships. Accept that mistakes are part and parcel for the game of life. Don’t dwell on them. Simply learn whatever lesson you were supposed to learn from it, and move on with a resolve to do better next time.
6. You Must Dare Greatly: “If you want to change the world, slide down the obstacle headfirst.” Do not life your life in white-knuckle fear of failure. The only way to thrive, rather than just exist, is to take chances, face challenges, and meet life’s dares. Playing it safe is really just a fancy way of making excuses for being a coward. Harsh, but true.
7. Stand Up to the Bullies: “If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.” Bullies thrive on fear and intimidation, the author says in this chapter. They’re like sharks that smell fear on their prey. If you face them (and with a shark that might even mean punching them in the snout or gouging their eye), they will “swim” off. In other words, when you encounter a bully (and they exist long after high school, unfortunately) by facing him or her, you disarm them by reclaiming the power that each of us has deep within.
8. Rise to the Occasion: “If you want to change the world, be your very best in the darkest moments.” At some point in all of our lives, we’ll find ourselves facing a very dark moment. Maybe it’ll be the loss of a loved one, a catastrophic failure, or the loss of something huge like our house, career, or a crucial function of our body. When that happens, our mettle is tested, and the way to come out on top is to bring our “A-game” in those moments. That is how our courage, determination, and honor will be revered by the world around us.
9. Give People Hope: “If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.” When we find ourselves in bad situations (kind of like what was mentioned in #8), another thing we can do is try to lift others up, remind them that on the other side of this pain, discomfort, and trial, is a thing called hope. Whether we share a gift or talent we have such as singing, playing an instrument, or merely share words of encouragement, by taking the focus off of the bad situation and shining a spotlight on hope, we provide value to the people involved. We show them that the situation isn’t hopeless and that it’s a certainty that the future will hold good times, laughter, love, and success, with this moment being only a temporary setback or challenge.
10. Never, Ever Quit: “If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.” The only way to truly fail is to quit. I suppose, there is one other way though. If you never try in the first place, that is the biggest failure of all. However, the author stresses the difficulty of Navy Seal training and how the men are taunted, tortured, and almost bullied into quitting (ringing the bell), and how by refusing to do so, they become people who go on to fight for our country, save lives, and create lasting legacies. So, whatever you do, however hard your challenges are, don’t ever give up. No one remembers the quitters’ names.
If you’re not a reader though, here is the YouTube video of Admiral William H. McRaven’s speech.