Long time, no blog. So, in my search for a subject to write about I came across the unlikely title of a bestselling book called Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven, who happens to be the Navy SEAL mastermind behind the Osama bin Laden raid, of all things.
Anyhow, I learned that the book was the result of the admiral’s commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas, which offered this nugget of wisdom: “If you want to change the world…start off by making your bed.” I know, not exactly what you’d expect to hear while heading out to change the world.
I actually joked with Linda that I was going to write a spin-off series with such titles as Brush Your Teeth, Eat Your Veggies, and Wash Your Hands, etc. But it did get me thinking about the underlying message of Make Your Bed, as I understand it, which is to start your day off on the right foot. And I must agree that there is something to be said for incorporating disciplined habits into one’s daily regimen.
In my experience, one of the biggest payoffs of the minimalist lifestyle is the streamlining of one’s life by simplifying daily activities and limiting the friction of living. The more we can systemize life through the use of routines in order to “set it and forget it” the better off we’ll be in the end. Each one of us has finite bandwidth to deal with all of life’s complexities so utilizing "autopilot" can help us to keep things from spiraling out of control.
According to Webster’s, streamlining means "to make simpler, more effective, or more productive." And I’ve thought of several actions that help me to streamline my own life, starting with making our bed in the morning, but also including others such as hanging up my coat on its hook by the door, returning my shoes to their designated spot, putting my keys in their usual place on the dresser, opening our mail upon retrieval, tidying up the kitchen after supper, and charging our devices before going to bed.
Don’t be fooled, such seemingly small acts often make a huge difference in how our day transpires. Fortunately, Linda and I are wired very much alike so she and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to maintaining our household standards, so to speak. Very rarely do we have the trouble that many couples experience of misplaced keys, discarded mail, or uncharged devices. If you and yours don’t already utilize such practices, I strongly encourage you to consider a customized version of them that works for you.
As Robert Stuberg, the founder of Success.com, is quoted as saying, “The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity. We have a tendency it seems to over complicate our lives and forget what’s important and what’s not. We tend to mistake movement for achievement [emphasis mine]. We tend to focus on activities instead of results. And as the pace of life continues to race along in the outside world, we forget that we have the power to control our lives regardless of what’s going on outside.”