The One Task You Need To Do Every Morning

If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.

David Ahn
David Ahn
Nov 23, 2015 · 2 min read

I remember stumbling across the following Commencement Address by Admiral William H. McRaven after it went viral last year.

Although Admiral McRaven gives 10 lessons he learned from basic Navy SEAL training, the first lesson really stuck with me because it is an incredibly easy and actionable item that every single person can accomplish — daily.

Listen to Lesson #1 from 4:36–6:12

Make your bed.

While this may seem trivial in the grand scheme of life, the task itself is not what is important — it’s the implications of what accomplishing this one task every day can do for you.

I could paraphrase or put my own spin on what he said, but it’s better heard straight from the horse’s mouth.

Here’s what he had to say:

Every morning in SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would do was inspect my bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers would be pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack.

It was a simple task, mundane at best, but every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

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 will never be able to 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.

The other nine lessons he gives are just as valuable so I recommend watching the whole speech when you have a chance but, done daily, this one small task can make a big impact on your life.

David Ahn

Written by

David Ahn

Marketer. Photographer. Startup & Tech Enthusiast. Native ATLien.

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