Three years ago, longtime Navy SEAL commander William McRaven delivered the commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin, his alma mater. The speech quickly went viral and is perhaps best known for one nugget of wisdom: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.” He concluded, “If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
McRaven, who soon after retired from the military and became the chancellor of the University of Texas System, has now expanded his speech and turned it into a small inspirational book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life . . . and Maybe the World (Grand Central, April 4). In advance of the book’s publication, we asked him to tell us a bit more about what a typical morning routine might look like: In addition to making sure that his covers are pulled tight and his corners are squared, what does he do from the moment he wakes to the moment he arrives at his office?
5:45 a.m. Rise to my iPhone’s blaring alarm, which startles me to consciousness and gets my heart pumping. (Note: on the days when I don’t work out, I wake a half hour later.)
5:50 Make bed.
5:55–6:20 Work out in my home gym—mostly weights, calisthenics, and a half-torso punching bag.
6:20–6:40 Shower, shave, and dress.
6:40–7:05 Eat a big breakfast (three eggs, ham, toast, and a banana/yogurt protein smoothie), check personal email, and check the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, Fox, and ESPN newsfeeds. (I don’t have a personal social media account—no Facebook, no Twitter, etc.)
7:10 Depart house.
7:15 Stop for coffee, which I take strong, with a little milk and a lot of sugar.
7:30 Arrive at office.