Wear sunblock. JUST KIDDING. But I hope someone caught that reference.
Today’s advice comes from a viral 2014 video that’s been recirculating on social media in recent days — and for good reason.
In the graduation speech given at the University of Texas at Austin, Naval Adm. William H. McRaven (ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command) tells people to MAKE THEIR BEDS.
And believe it or not, it really will motivate and inspire you.
Check out the video at the bottom, OR read our highlights:
Life lessons for your kids, from an admiral
MAKE YOUR BED
We’re leaving this section to the admiral, because we could not have said it more succinctly:
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.
“So if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
FIND A SOLID SUPPORT SYSTEM
When life gets tough, the only thing to fall back on is an awesome support system. Make sure to diversify, though. You need both friends AND family… because sometimes both suck. And when that happens, you rely on the other for guidance and an open ear.
But to have a support system, you need to go the extra mile. You’ve got to put in the effort to get the result you want. So:
- RESPECT PEOPLE. And judge them by the size of their hearts, the admiral says
- STAND UP AGAINST BULLIES AND FOR THE BULLIED
McRaven tells a great story about an ocean swim he and his colleagues take in training. His commanders tell him (and the others) that there are sharks in the ocean.
“If a shark begins to circle your position — stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid. And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you — then summon up all your strength and punch him in the snout, and he will turn and swim away.
“There are a lot of sharks in the world,” he says. So if you want to change the world, don’t back down.
PERSEVERE AND KNOW LIFE ISN’T FAIR
The admiral tells a hysterical “sugar cookie” story to illustrate these points. He says he and his colleagues, when in training, had daily uniform checks. If their uniforms were not in pristine condition (clean, no wrinkles, etc.), then they were ordered to roll in the water, clothes on, and then roll in the sand, thus creating a sugar-cookie effect. They had to go all day wet and sandy.
The point that most of the trainees did not understand, however, was the exercise was NOT about having a perfect uniform.
Rather, the point is this: Sometimes in life, YOU JUST DON’T WIN. You might work your you-know-what off, and you’ll still fail.
Accept what happens and keep going.
KNOW that life isn’t fair, and then MOVE. ON.
BE GOOD FOR THE SAKE OF BEING GOOD
Remember when we said make solid friends? Well, DON’T DO IT JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE IN IT FOR YOURSELF.
Be good when no one’s watching because it’s the right thing to do.
Teach your kids that they should not respect anything in return for doing good, but they should do it anyway.
“If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment,” McRaven says.
NEVER LET GO OF HOPE
It is hope that gets us through the worst of times and pushes us to improve the status quo.
“If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person — Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan, Malala — one person can change the world by giving people hope.”
NEVER GIVE UP
It won’t be easy, but you can change the world.
“Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone.
“Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.
“And what started here will indeed have changed the world — for the better.”
Now, I don’t know about you. But he’s got me feeling pretty fired up.
SO LET’S GO. LET’S DO THIS. LET’S RAISE WARRIORS WHO CHANGE THE WORLD.
Watch the speech here: