Starting Small: The First Step to Big Achievements

Discover how starting small, like making your bed each morning, can set the foundation for significant achievements. Learn from Admiral McRaven's wisdom to build momentum, discipline, and a fulfilling life.

Starting Small: The First Step to Big Achievements

In the realm of self-improvement and personal development, numerous strategies promise to transform our lives. Yet, one of the most compelling and straightforward approaches comes from Admiral William H. McRaven's book, "Make Your Bed." The core idea that resonates profoundly is the concept of beginning with small wins. This seemingly simple advice can create a ripple effect of productivity and accomplishment.

Summary: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
Unlock entrepreneurial success with wisdom from Admiral McRaven’s ‘Make Your Bed.’ Learn from iconic leaders and apply key principles for growth!

The Power of Small Wins

Admiral McRaven’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that how we start our day sets the tone for the rest. By accomplishing a small task—such as making your bed—right after waking up, you not only tidy up your physical space but also clear your mental space. "If you want to change the world, start by making your bed," McRaven writes, encapsulating the essence of the book's message. This act provides an immediate sense of pride and achievement. It's tangible proof that you've already succeeded at something, and it's not even breakfast time yet. This small win acts as a springboard, encouraging you to tackle another task and then another, creating a chain reaction of productivity.

Why Start Small?

"The small tasks in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to do the big things right."

This quote from McRaven reinforces the importance of mastering simple tasks as a foundation for tackling more significant challenges. The logic behind starting small is both psychological and strategic. Psychologically, achieving a task, no matter how minor, releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and motivation. This release encourages us to seek out that feeling again, pushing us to accomplish more tasks to experience more dopamine releases.

Strategically, starting with manageable tasks helps in building momentum. Just as a snowball grows larger and faster as it rolls down a hill, your sense of accomplishment and motivation grows as you complete more tasks. This momentum can then be leveraged to tackle more significant, challenging tasks. On the contrary, starting with a daunting task can lead to procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, and, if the task proves too difficult, a sense of failure that hampers further attempts at productivity.

Creating a Culture of Achievement

Implementing McRaven's advice doesn't just apply to individual tasks; it can set the foundation for a culture of achievement in all aspects of life. You build a robust framework of discipline, resilience, and a positive mindset by consistently starting small and accumulating wins. "If you want to change your life and maybe the world, start by making your bed!" McRaven suggests connecting personal discipline with broader impact. This approach can be applied to individual goals, professional projects, and building and maintaining relationships.

Practical Steps to Start Small

  1. Identify Your "Make Your Bed" Task: Choose a simple, achievable task you can do every morning. It doesn’t have to be making your bed; it could be a short meditation, stretching, or writing a gratitude note.
  2. Celebrate Your Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate each task you accomplish. This reinforcement is crucial for building your momentum.
  3. Gradually Increase Difficulty: Add more challenging tasks to your list as you get comfortable with your routine. Ensure these tasks are broken down into manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Reflect on Your Progress: Regularly reflect on what you’ve accomplished. This reflection not only boosts your morale but also helps you identify areas for improvement.
  5. Be Patient and Consistent: Remember, the goal is to build a sustainable productivity habit. It’s about consistent effort over time, not instant transformation.
Summary: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
Unlock entrepreneurial success with wisdom from Admiral McRaven’s ‘Make Your Bed.’ Learn from iconic leaders and apply key principles for growth!


Admiral William H. McRaven's "Make Your Bed" underscores the profound impact of starting small on our path to achieving big goals. "Life is not fair, and you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift the downtrodden, and never, ever give up – if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today." This quote expands on the idea that perseverance and courage can lead to broader societal impacts, starting with making your bed.

By applying this principle, we can cultivate a productive, positive, and fulfilling life, one small win at a time. So, tomorrow morning, let's start by making our beds, knowing that this simple act is the first step toward a day filled with potential and accomplishment.