Make Your Bed

On May 17th, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven gave a Commencement speech to the graduating class of the University of Texas. The speech was inspiring, instructive, and highly motivating, so much so that Admiral McRaven later wrote a book based on that speech, called Make Your Bed.

I picked this book up a few days ago and read it in less than an hour. That night, I went home and ordered the book on Amazon. Not something I do very often, considering my budget for new books is restricted by boring things like paying rent and having enough food in my little house. The books I buy are usually second-hand, and very rarely will I splurge on a new copy. When I do, it usually isn’t for a personal copy of a random library book that I picked up on a whim.

Something about this book struck a chord with me.


Admiral William H. McRaven is a retired Navy Seal with thirty-seven years of service behind him. This book is a cumulation of his experience in one of the toughest branches of the military. The ten lessons imbedded in roughly one hundred pages stem from his experiences in training, in combat oversees, and in serving his country stateside. In ten chapters, he inspired me to change my outlook on life, to try harder, and most importantly, not to give up on a project that I have been working on for roughly six years.

In short, this book was fantastic.

There are only ten chapters in this book. They are titled as follows:

Start Your Day With a Task Completed

You Can’t Go it Alone

Only the Size of Your Heart Matters

Life’s Not Fair

Failure Can Make You Stronger

You Must Dare Greatly

Stand Up to the Bullies

Rise to the Occasion

Give People Hope

Never, Ever Quit


His solid good sense is spread through every page, teaching the principles behind something as simple as making your bed in the morning, as well as going into the roughest, darkest parts of life, when the only option seems to be failure. He explains the value of risk, of perseverance, of keeping your head up, and of believing in yourself, even when no one else does. His advice is not flowery, it doesn’t promise an easy path, or ten steps to success, or a winner every time. As a Navy Seal, he understands very well the necessity of going through the hard things, but also that the roughest seas make the strongest sailors.

This book changed my outlook on my life and will be one that I go back to again and again. I would highly recommend it to anyone going through a rough patch, or to anyone looking to change their life and the lives around them.

“But let me tell you something,” he said. “If you quit, you will regret it for the rest of your life. Quitting never makes anything easier.”