Wednesday, May 29 2024

“If you want to change the world, start by making your bed!”

It wasn’t a parent fed up with his kid’s mess who said this and it’s not
even the recommendation of an obsessive compulsive cleaner; this is the
first advice that a former SEALS soldier gives to young university
students!

But let’s take a step back: what does a former soldier, a group of
university students and 10 tips to change the world have in common? The
protagonist of this story is William H. McRaven, a SEALS soldier, four-star
Admiral of the U.S. Navy and currently rector of fifteen universities in
Texas. In a speech given in 2014 to recent graduates of the University of
Texas, he retraces his career and his life, giving practical advice to
“change the world”, the first of which is… “making your bed”.

The Admiral was able to capture in a brief speech what “lessons” he learned
from military training, during his career and throughout his life, and
decided to share them with “future generations”.

The speech, which has had millions of views on YouTube, over the years has
turned into a book William H. McRaven

. Make your bed – Little things that can change your life… and maybe
the world

(Penguin Books, 2017), which has become a world best seller translated into
24 languages.


Start by making your bed every morning: to change the world we must
start from ourselves.

I hate making my bed and I always thought that military life was not for
me. I bought the book driven only by curiosity: Why should making the bed
every morning help me to change the world?

The Admiral is not interested in the level of order in my room. And already
from the initial pages of the first chapter you can see the meaning of this
small gesture:

to change the world we have to start from the small things, those that
seem trivial to us, but above all we have to start from ourselves

!

A very concrete booklet suitable for everyone, from the youngest who
approach the world for the first time and can discover, in the words and
anecdotes of McRaven’s life, concrete advice to approach the future; but
especially for the older ones who can find in his story cues for reflection
on the present they are living and learn to look critically and with
optimism, the tomorrow they will live.

It is an introspective reading that helps to understand oneself and others.
At the end of the book anyone will recognize himself in the Admiral’s life
experiences and words, even if totally far from military life and light
years away from the strict rules applied during the SEALS military
training.

Sooner or later, we all feel the need to listen to a piece of advice,
perhaps from the person we consider in some way wiser and more reliable
than our own judgment. In the same way, we will find ourselves dispensing
some. This happens because, sooner or later, we find ourselves facing that
obstacle, that situation, that doubt that seems insurmountable; and we,
like others, need advice that helps us to overcome these moments, or
simply, a motivation to make a decision.

In fact, this book is simply a hand outstretched to help us, the hand of
someone who has already lived plenty of experiences and wants to share
them.

It is the book of someone who has understood that we can make a
difference every day, starting from what we unconsciously label as
“superficial”.

Because to change the world, we must start above all from the small things.

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you want
to change the world, know that you cannot do it alone and that you will
have to measure people by the size of their heart. If you really want to
change this world, give your best in the darkest moments. Life will not
always be fair, but if you want to change the world, treasure the failures,
accept the challenges, dare, stand up to the bullies. If you want to change
the world, prove yourself worthy, give people hope, but especially if you
want to change the world, never ever give up”.

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