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"Make Your Bed," Commencement Speech

In a commencement speech gone viral, which eventually turned into a book titled Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life ... And Maybe The World, Admiral William McRaven urged graduates from the University of Texas at Austin to start the day by making their bed.

In 2005, the summer before my freshman year of high school, I started weightlifting in the morning as a part of my high school football strengthand conditioning program. Even during the simpler times of my teenage years, I quickly realized how much longer the day seemed, and how much more I seemed to do in a day. The routine worked throughout high school, so I continued it in college even though I was no longer training for sports. The productivity I realized by accomplishing a workout in the morning left me with a sense of ease. If I failed at other things that day, I at least took care of one important task. Alternatively, I could use the momentum of this accomplishment to achieve other daily goals. I sustained this practice throughout my master’s degree, and through the first six years of my career.

In April 2019, my wife and I had our first child, so continuing to leave the house at 5:15am to workout would have been selfish. To keep sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning to build upon throughout my day, I began working on my doctoral dissertation, at the house, during the time I previously used to exercise. Entering into the summer exactly fifteen years since I began this morning ritual of completing a task, I can say that it has fundamentally changed my life. These are uncertain times, where we do not control as much as usual and are forced to complete our studies online. It seems like now is as good a time as ever to metaphorically (or actually) start making our beds in the morning. I encourage readers to watch Admiral McRaven’s speech, as his explanation of the value of this practice may be more inspiring than my tale of its application in my life.



McRaven, W. H. (2017). Make your bed: Little things that can change your life... and maybe the world. Hachette Book Group. The University of Texas at Austin. (2014, May 23).

Admiral McRaven addresses the University of Texas at Austin class of 2014.Retrieved from

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Last Updated: 12/5/23