How do you define success? Most would reserve that word for big accomplishments. You might not think walking your dog, making breakfast, or doing the laundry are successes.
But Admiral William H. McRaven might disagree with you. In his book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World,” he shares lessons he learned during Navy Seal training.
Admiral McRaven describes the grueling process of becoming a navy seal. The goal, he explains, is to make you fail. And only the strongest individuals – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – survive it.
Admiral McRaven’s first lesson: Make Your Bed.
It isn’t that he’s a neat freak. But making his bed in the morning to pass inspection was an accomplishment he knew he could control. He could begin his day with a success. Even though he knew the rest of the day would be filled with challenges, he could always look back and point to at least one success he had that day – making his bed.
It might sound sounds like something small and trivial, but even the smallest success can have ripple effects throughout your day . . . and your life.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines success as “a favorable outcome.”
Success does not have to be big and grand. It can be a simple accomplishment. And one small success leads to another. And soon your successes have grown bigger and happen more frequently.
Try out this concept and see what happens. On your drive home from work or before you go to bed, instead of making a list of all the things you need to get done tomorrow, list off your successes for the day. Include everything YOU consider to be a success.
Maybe you made a phone call you had been putting off. Or you finished a project ahead of schedule. Or you invited someone to lunch. Or you simply held the door for someone else. All of these are successes.
As you turn this into a daily practice, you might find big challenges don’t seem as daunting. You know your track record with success, and it just keeps getting better. You might discover your life has less stress because you’re able to handle the twists and turns of daily life with ease. You might uncover a whole new you.
When you focus on your successes, it feels good. And naturally, you want more of it. There is joy in feeling good about yourself. It allows you to find new ways of using your skills to create more successes.
And once you get your ball of success rolling, the snowball effect kicks in and suddenly your successes get bigger and bigger.
Admiral McRaven would tell you that “if you want to change the world, start by making your bed.” One simple success can lead to more frequent and bigger changes.
How might you change the world by acknowledging your successes every day?