Life is tough: Admiral William H. McRaven, a former Navy SEAL, admits it openly and definitely. So, what can you do about it?
Despite its rather lengthy title, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World is a very short book. 144 pages, however, are enough for the author to convey his message: ‘Don’t complain… Stand tall, look to the future, and drive on!’
The best thing about Make Your Bed is that it is in no way pretentious. It is exactly the book you would expect to be written by someone who spent thirty-seven years of his life in the military. Make Your Bed is simple (but definitely not stupid), easy-to-read (but not illiterate), pragmatic (you won’t find any spiritual revelations about the true nature of things here) and straightforward (who said that it is a bad thing?) Similes are often misleading, but you cannot help comparing Make Your Bed with an assault rifle: it is loaded with power and incredibly effective.
The book is so compelling that you will probably read it in one sitting. The author uses his experience to illustrate his points that sound like: ‘Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward’ and ‘Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud’. William H. McRaven urges his readers not to spend the entirety of their lives blaming their miseries and sufferings on outside forces (like parents, school, illnesses or lack of money). Life might be unfair; still, it is how you deal with its unfairness that makes you worthy of respect.
Unlike numerous popular psychology books, Make Your Bed does not promise you fame and fortune if you follow its lessons. On the contrary, the author frankly admits that you might not be able to change the circumstances. However, you will have something that cannot be taken from you: your fighting spirit, courage, and determination.
William H. McRaven advises that you do not feel ashamed of your failures because every life has them. However, accepting an unpleasant situation does not mean that you should be passive and lazy. ‘Never, ever give up. Keep hope’, says the author, and suggests that you start your mornings with making your bed. By doing this you manage to accomplish something at the very beginning of your day, and this accomplishment inspires you to try to do something much more difficult.
Make Your Bed is a book about real life, so there are some gruesome details. William H. McRaven’s description of his parachute accident that led to ripping his pelvis from his abdomen might easily make you feel terrified.
However, after having read this part you realize that the author it is not a psychology faculty freshman with very limited life experience who decided to retell some books he has recently read. William H. McRaven knows much more about suffering and humiliation that you want to know, and it gives him the right to share his ideas and express his opinions in the strongest way possible.
Make Your Bed could have been written by famous stoic philosopher Seneca had he been born in the 20th century USA rather than in Ancient Rome in the first century AD. Great ideas are timeless and worth repeating over and over. A really good read!