The Value of a Properly Made Bed

by: Tom Laidlaw

Did you make your bed this morning? If the answer is yes, that’s a good start. But believe it or not there is a correct way to do it: “corners square, covers pulled tight, pillow centered just under the headboard and extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack.” That is how retired Four-Star Admiral, William McRaven, was ordered to start his days.

It may seem mundane at the surface, but as you dig deeper it’s clear that admirals know best. If done properly, making your bed should be the first task of the morning to set the tone for your entire day. It’s not just about making your bed, it’s about doing it perfectly. It’s about being disciplined with the little things in life. After all, if you can’t do the basics correctly, how can you expect to do the big things?

This message, delivered by McRaven at the University of Texas Commencement in 2014 is something that has become a fixture in my True Grit Life.

You could walk out of your room in the morning, not make your bed and nobody else would know. You could come back later and do it or just throw the blanket over. But it’s not about making the bed; it’s about the discipline learned through the process.

It has become a ritual for me. I think about it more and do it everyday, even if I’m staying at a hotel. People laugh and say, “that’s the maid’s job,” but the way I look at it, I’m doing it for myself. It’s my discipline, it’s my process that I go through that gives me that disciplined life.

This attention to detail is something that transcends bed making. It’s a message to go all out with everything in your life. In your relationships, at the gym, cooking a meal, whatever you’re doing give it everything you got. Never go halfway with anything.

Making my bed in the morning gives me piece of mind. In a world that is often unpredictable, having control over how your bed is made is empowering.

“Once I make the bed perfect, I turn before I leave the room, look at that bed and I go ‘wow.’ It’s every day for me. I get fired up when I look at that bed and go ‘wow I did that, I did it again today.”’

Sometimes you may give your all and still make mistakes, but you don’t stop and make excuses. The same holds true for your bed. Make it the right way and focus on progress and getting better at it all the time.

It’s important to take a step back and be happy with what you have done, whatever your goals may be. And for myself, executing the perfectly made bed is one of those small victories that motivates me to apply those same standards to all areas of my life.

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