Want to Change the World? Start by Making your Bed
“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
The Importance of Making your Bed, Admiral William McRaven
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
Welcome to the commencement of Term 2.
I wish all girls the very best for the Term ahead. I have encouraged our Senior students to ‘get the little things right’ this Term. Our character really is not formed by the big events of our life. Instead, we are ultimately determined by the smaller choices we make each day. During his 2014 commencement address to graduates at the University of Texas, retired Admiral William McRaven reflected on the many lessons he learned during his 36 years as a Navy SEAL. The first item on his list? Make your bed, see full clip here.
And while it seemed crazy to up-and-coming SEALs at the time, McRaven said he eventually realised that this logic makes perfect sense. Little things, like making your bed, set you up for success. One small accomplishment early in the day can lead to multiple accomplishments throughout the day. Plus, the person who does the little things right can probably be trusted with the bigger things in life. I find there are two points of interest here:
1. Little things shape your character
Your character really is not formed by the big events of your life. Instead, who you are is ultimately determined by the smaller choices you make each day. When you choose to do what is right every chance you get, you are more likely to stick to your principles when the pressure’s really on. On the flip side, if you let the small things slide, you will follow the path of least resistance—even if that means compromising your core values.
2. Little things define your future
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “Little things make big things happen.” World-class athletes live by that mantra every day. They know that putting the sweat in behind the scenes can lead to clutch performances in the limelight. Athlete, and musicians alike, know that you play like you practice. The same is true for all of us. The seemingly mundane choices we make each day determine our path, and that path determines our success or our failure. Want to make a difference in the world? Handle the little things with integrity.
Of course, the little things can be easy to miss. After all, they are little. And in a fast-paced, chaotic culture, the newest and shiniest toys can distract us from the details that really count. You have got to be intentional when you look for the little things. It is a lot of work, but it is worth the extra effort.
Why? Because little things really do matter.