Sometimes life is hard, or scary, or uncomfortable, or even downright terrifying. Take graduating from college for example. Sure, it's exciting, and the parties are epic, and you're over the moon that you're finally out of there, but there's also a whole lot of -- holy crap what do I do now? Especially since unemployment for young people is at an unprecedented high and student loan debt is astronomical.
Of course apprehension and fear for the future aren't exclusive to recent college grads. Everyone worries about something at some point -- everyone wants to matter to someone, make a difference, change the world. But it was to the graduating class of the University of Texas, Austin, that U.S. Navy SEAL William H. McRaven spoke when he gave the commencement speech to end all commencement speeches.
Adm. Bill McRaven is a 36-year, four-star Navy SEAL, and complete and total bad-ass. This is the guy who makes it safe to sleep at night. Seriously -- remember Osama bin Laden? He's dead now. McRaven is the one who oversaw Operation Neptune Star, the raid that finally got the terrorist.
People can talk about changing the world all they want, but Adm. McRaven has done it. The 1977 UT alum made a rare public appearance to give the commencement speech for the class of 2014, and this is advice we all could use.
It's really full of fantastic stuff. Be sure to start listening closely around the four-minute mark, when he starts talking about what SEAL training was like. "To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months," he says, before launching into the 10 things he learned from SEAL training.
Things like the importance of making your bed first thing in the morning.
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.