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When Adm. William H. McRaven, retired, was stationed in Afghanistan, his days were filled with unpredictability and disarray.
It's something retail managers know well. Yet his situation was far more serious. “We could have soldiers dying and the horror of civilian casualties,” he says.
His hedge against the stress of chaos and bloody warfare? Start your day by making your bed.
McRaven was the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command who organized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.
"And sometimes that anchor is as a simple as making your bed,” said McRaven, now the chancellor of the University of Texas and the author of “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life ... and Maybe the World.”
He wrote the book after a video of his 2014 commencement speech went viral. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another.”
"Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better."
McCraven's 10 lessons also included accepting the help of others, measuring a person by the size of his or her heart, fighting through adversity, not being afraid of failure, and charging into difficult situations head-on.
He also encouraged graduates to "be your very best in the darkest moment" by finding inner strength and to never lose hope or give up.
“When you are facing big tasks in your life, the little details are important,” McCraven says.
It's something we can all relate to!
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