Can Something as Simple as Making Your Bed Boost Self-Discipline and Lead to Success the Entire Day?


On May 17, 2014, US Navy Admiral William H. McRaven delivered the commencement speech at the University of Texas.

He inspired the graduates with 10 lessons learned during Navy Seal training. (He’s been a Seal for over 35 years.)

His first piece of advice was to make your bed every morning. It will give you a sense of pride and when you’ve succeeded in your first task of the day it will lead to more success.

That suggestion went viral.

On the surface, it sounds like a great self-discipline tip.

I heard it on podcasts, and read it on blog posts constantly. If it’s true, there are thousands of people becoming very successful, AND, lots of beds neatly made!

With all due respect to Adm. McRaven, I’ve tried the making-the-bed routine and the results were less than spectacular. The bed was okay, the domino effect on success, not so much.

If I’m going to learn self-discipline, it will take more than this.

Why Making Your Bed Does NOT Make Any Difference 

I think it’s a matter of context. That routine, as one component of Basic Seal training, was successful.

When I make my bed as part of a daily habit routine, the context could not be more different. I wanted was an easy quick-fix to my issues and instant mental strength and self-discipline.

That’s what we all want, easy solutions to our problems, something as simple as making our bed.

David Kadavy surveyed a number of highly successful online entrepreneurs. The majority do not make their beds. Blog

The comedian Jim Gaffigan has said he doesn’t tie his shoelaces when he takes off his shoes, so why would he make his bed?”

The best piece of advice McRaven gave was this:

be your very best in your darkest moments

Our darkest moments won’t be the same as a Navy Seal swimming in total darkness under the keel of a ship.  But, we all face dark moments: dissatisfied clients, angry investors, viral attacks, depleted bank accounts, abusive bosses.

The advice to “be your very best” is sound and doesn’t rely on context. It’s great advice for anyone in any situation. It’s obviously good for solopreneurs (like me) and side hustlers, but equally valuable for small business owners or corporate jobs.

What if You’re Not a Navy Seal? 

The Seal training may teach you how to be your best—if you survive the training. But, what about the rest of us that aren’t Seals and have no desire for that type of training.

We’re all different, so there’s no single solution for How to Be Our Best when dealing with these situations. So . . .

Your Own Personal Training if You’re Not a Seal?

What works for me may not work for you. I’ll go out on a limb and say there’s a 99% chance that what works for me will NOT work for you.

Don’t expect me to create a list such as:

7 Ways to Deal with Your Darkest Moments

That would be an easy list to create and easy for you to read. It would make a great infographic if illustrated with a variety of “darkest moments.”

Would it change anything—doubtful. Maybe for 1 day.

What does it accomplish—other than clicks?

The answers to difficult questions are highly personal and come from deep inside ourselves.

Can The Clarity Journal Help?

Yes, if you to invest the time.

If you answer the open-ended questions every day—dealing with all the crap that gets dumped on each and every one of us—this can help prevent routine issues from becoming our darkest moments.

The core part of the journal is a Daily Start sheet. Some day it takes 5 minutes to complete, other days it takes 30 minutes. That’s up to you. This is one of my core habits for success.

Speaking of habits . . .

An additional component of the journal is the formation of empowering habits. If you want to get a little taste of what this is all about, try my free 14-day challenge.

The Clarity Journal and Habit Formation obviously are not Seal training. But, if you treat them seriously and put in the effort, it will become a life-long routine and WILL lead to success.

Or, you can continue making your bed (military style) every day and see how that works out. You’ll be a success at making your bed, for sure. But does it carry over to anything else in your life?

If you want to know more about my journey, you’ll find it here.