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Navy SEAL's advice to grads: Make your bed every morning

May 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM ET

During a commencement speech at the University of Texas, the commander of the forces that organized the raid to kill Osama bin Laden delivered some key advice on success. 

"If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,'' U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven told the graduates of his alma mater on May 16. 

McCraven, the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, relayed several lessons he has learned in 36 years as a Navy SEAL, starting with some advice that was music to the ears of exasperated mothers everywhere. 

"If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,'' he said. "It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And 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 the little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you'll never be able to 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." 

"That's what I always tell my son — make the bed first thing in the morning!" Natalie Morales said during TODAY's Take on Wednesday. 

McCraven's 10 lessons also included accepting the help of others, measuring a person by the size of his or her heart, fighting through adversity, not being afraid of failure, and charging into difficult situations head-on. He also encouraged graduates to "be your very best in the darkest moment" by finding inner strength and to never lose hope or give up. 

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