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Step One: Make Your Bed

By September 22, 2015blog

Motivation requires success.

The first opportunity for success every morning is making your bed.

Most haven’t done this for most of their life. But many high-achieving military specialists start their day by making their bed.

Admiral William H. McRaven spoke about it in his 2014 Commencement address at the University of Texas. 

“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’ll 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.”

Hindu priest Dandapani speaks often of the value of rituals including making your bed in the morning.¬†Western psychologists call these “cornerstone habits”: little habits that start a snowball effect and grow to larger accomplishments.

Tim Ferriss spoke about making his bed on his podcast last week.

The end result isn’t the important part, but the act itself. Dandapani’s earliest monastery taught him to seek improvement in bed-making every day. He started over fifty years ago. Your bed won’t be made as well as his on your first day, but focusing your attention on one simple task will help organize your mind in the morning, when the giant “to-do” list starts shelling your thoughts. Meditation teaches the focusing of attention through the practice of regaining attention after distraction. Making your bed is a simple way to start.

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