Susan’s Thursday Morning Note January 8, 2015 Admiral Bill McRaven lesson on making the bed each morning – paying attention to details. Quotes on details in small matters.
Good morning! Extra hot coffee as the temperature outside hasn’t yet reached zero. Companions in this darkness include howling winds and a daring little mouse chewing a past burnt offering of mine she accepts as her “last supper” under my stove just a few feet from me. My angel of dawn has again arrived at my door, shivering as she hands me this beautiful gift of life. I would like to write out for you this morning part of a speech by
Admiral Bill McRaven, a 36-year Navy SEAL who oversaw the planning and execution of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Last May he gave the commencement speech at the University of Texas in Austin. The speech was on 10 lessons he learned during his SEAL training. The first lesson continues to cross my mind for a split moment each morning: If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. Following is an excerpt from his speech on the reasoning for this simple task.
“Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.
If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.
It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
If you can’t do the little things right, you will never 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.”
I especially think on the thought as I now flip back the blanket in the mornings that if I have a bad day I can at least come into my bedroom with my bed made. You can watch this entire speech at: http://scoopdeck.navytimes.com/2014/05/19/top-seals-life-advice-make-your-bed/.
Below are quotes I’ve found on the importance of details. Of small details. Of these small details making a difference.
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Mother Teresa
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” Helen Keller
“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices of duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort. Humphry Davy
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Arthur Conan Doyle
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” Napoleon Hill
“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than the large things; to the every day things nearest to us than to the things that are remote and uncommon.” Booker T. Washington
“To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.” Harriet Beecher Stowe
“Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.” Epictetus
“Little things console us because little things affect us.” Blaise Pascal
“Little Things” by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (1810-1897)
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
My little mouse has finished her last supper and must be resting before her final calling. The howling winds are now joined by Spiderman and songs. The angel has given me such a gift again this dawn. Details. Bed is made up to my standards (not very high!). Small details. The sand going through my timer. One grain at a time. Will I be able to stop time and notice particular grains? The details. Moments. Making days. Making weeks. Making life. Making memories. Making eternity. Which particular moments that passed during my lifetime will be snapshots in my mind? Any moments today?
Latin for today: parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutus - "Once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely." Maximus in minimis - "Great in little things."