My notes while reading 'Make your Bed'

03 Sep 2020 6 mins

Make your bed is a book by William H. MCRaven. Here are my notes from the book but trust me you will want to read this book. Simple things change a life it’s all about the consistency in those simple things.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, instructors would show up in barracks room, and first inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corner pull right, the pillow centred and extra blanket folded nearly at the foot of the rack. It was simple task, mundane at best. But every morning we required to make our bed to perfection.

If you can’t do the little thing right, you will never do the big thing 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. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

Several time a week, the instructor would line up the class and do a uniform inspection. It was exceptionally thorough. Hat had to be perfectly starched, uniform immaculately pressed, and belt buckle shiny and devoid of any smudges. But it seemed, no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt bucket, it just wasn’t good enough. Instructor will find “something wrong”.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed, into the surf zone,roll around on the beach until every part of the body was covered with sand, the effect was known as a “Sugar Cookie”. And they had to stay in same uniform all day long.

Sometime no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie. It’s just the way life is sometimes; If you want to make a difference, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

During training, trainee were challenged with multiple physical events. Long runs, long swims, obstacle courses and hours of calisthenics, sometime designed to test your mettle. Every event had standards: times trainee had to meet. If they failed to meet those standards, their name will be posted on a list, and end of the day those on the list were invited to a Circus.

Circus was a two hours of additional calisthenics designed to wear them down, to break their sprit,to force to quite. No one want circus. A circus mean more fatigue, and more fatigue meant that following day would be more difficult and more circuses were likely.

But some time during SEAL training, everyone – made the circus list. And an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list. Over time those students, who did two hours extra calisthenics, got stronger and stronger. The pain of the Circuses built inner strength, build physical resiliency.

Life is filled with circuses. You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the Circuses.

During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews. Each crew is seven students: three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dinghy. Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast.

In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be eight to ten feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in. Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach. For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle.

You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help—and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the goodwill of strangers, and a strong coxswain to guide them. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

To pass SEAL training there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One is the night swim.Before the swim the instructors joyfully brief the trainees on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente. They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark—at least not recently.

But you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position—stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid. And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts toward you—then summon up all your strength and punch him in the snout, and he will turn and swim away.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

One of our jobs as Navy SEALs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping. We practiced this technique extensively during basic training. The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then they swim well over two miles underwater using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target.

During the entire swim, even well below the surface there is some light that comes through. It is comforting to know that there is open water above you. But as you approach the ship, which is tied to a pier, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight; it blocks the To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel, the center line and the deepest part of the ship. This is your objective. But the keel is also the darkest part of the ship, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, where the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening, and where it is easy to get disoriented and fail.

Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission, is the time when you must be calm—composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power, and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell, a brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quite is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at five o’clock. Ring th bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT and you no longer have to endure the hardship of the training. “Just ring the bell”

If you want to change the world, don’t ever ever ring the bell.