Speed-read #1 : Make your bed

Each month a new book summarized for you

Speed-read #1 : Make your bed

“Make your bed” by Admiral William H. McRaven

Could something as simple as making your bed each morning be life changing? Prepare to be amazed, because it can! In his book “Make your bed”, Admiral William H. McRaven explains why such a small and simple daily routine can change your life. We read the book for you and here’s our cheat sheet! The strength of this book lies in the way the author presents his 10 life tips through anecdotes of his career and education amongst the Navy SEALS, which makes you want to keep on reading!

1. Start off by making your bed

With a 34-year career as a Navy SEAL, Admiral McRaven learned why making his bed every single morning was necessary: “Making my bed taught me the importance of getting my day off to a good start.” Furthermore, he explains that it’s the first achievement in a day, so even if your day wasn’t great or didn’t go exactly as planned, every night you’d get back to a made bed, an achievement and could be proud of it.

2. Find someone to help you paddle

Here, the author remembers his training where he would paddle hours and hours with a team of seven other SEALs. This taught Admiral McRaven the importance of team-work and supporting people on your team in every circumstance, but also to choose carefully who you want on your team.

3. Measure a person by the size of their heart

This was most definitely the teams favorite chapter. Here, the author goes back to a time where they got stuck in a tunnel in Afghanistan. Only the smallest member of the SEAL team was able to crawl out to get assistance. It’s the same idea as don’t judge a book by its cover…

4. Get over being a sugar cookie

A sugar cookie, back in SEAL training was a punishment where you had to cover yourself in wet sand (thus looking like a sugar cookie). This weird and uncomfortable situation was to just there to make you realise that “life is unfair”. That’s right, shit is going to happen and you better get over it now.

5. Don’t be afraid of the circus

The circus, as its name would suggest, was an intense and physical session that most SEAL trainees were afraid of. That’s the catch, if you’re afraid before you start, the circus will break you. Admiral McRaven wasn’t afraid, and survived the circus. That’s a bit how life works too. Don’t you think?

6. Be prepared to jump

In one of the exercises, the SEALs had a limited amount of time to get down a zip -line from the top of a 60meter tower. The only possible way to make it in time was to dive head first. It took several takes for the Admiral to find the courage to go head first, but he finally made it and passed. Sometimes tackling your fears head on is the only way to push past them.

7. Don’t back down from the sharks

Amongst the many swims needing to be completed in SEAL training was the Night Swim. Treacherous waters home to great white sharks hosted the exercise. The students were told that if, attacked by a shark, the only way to make it out was to punch it in the snout, not to swim away. There are many sharks in the world, make sure you face them, rather than swim away.

8. Be your very best in the darkest moments

Another mission that was conducted during Admiral McRaven’s training was to infiltrate an enemy harbor at night. This meant having to be very precise as swimming in the dark could lead to losing your position and thus your life. Even in the most stressful and unfriendly situations, you need to keep your calm and focus, and everything will be fine.

9. Start singing when you are up to your neck in mud

Hell week: the worst week for SEALs, with no sleep, cold, continuous harassment and one day having to stay neck deep in the mud. You could get out, leave the rest of your mates and get dry, but that meant not becoming a SEAL. In those times of darkness, singing will help you and your team’s morale. Keep singing, always.

10. Don’t ever ring the bell

Of course, this doesn’t have the same meaning as the BA bell (thank god). The bell during the SEAL training was admitting defeat. Ringing that bell, meant you gave up, you were weak. The message here is that you can always go further, you can always push yourself more. Don’t ever give up, ever.