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10 Lessons to Change Your Life and Change the World

Many have heard Admiral William H. McRaven’s famous speech entitled, “Make Your Bed.” He also took his ideas from this speech and wrote the best-selling book, “Make Your Bed.” In it, Admiral McRaven discusses ten life lessons learned from his experiences in his life serving in the Navy. These lessons have changed my life, and I want to reaffirm the words of Admiral McRaven in this article and encourage all to consider how these principles will help in their life.


10 Lessons to Change Your Life and Change the World

1. Chapter One: Start Your Day with a Task Completed

Why is attention to detail necessary in your life and work? What does attention to detail say about you as a leader? What little details make you proud and satisfy you?

2. Chapter Two: You Can’t Go It Alone 

We all know that teamwork is essential, and we as a culture emphasize not being the “weak” one on the team. Why can it be crucial to support those on your team when the members are “weak?” Why is it essential to have a strong network of people who support you? Why is it important to help others in general?

3. Chapter Three: Only the Size of Your Heart Matters 

Why is it important not to judge someone only by their appearance? By their stature? By the way they talk? By how fast they run? Why is heart important in wildland fire management? 

4. Chapter Four: Life’s Not Fair – Drive On! 

How do you deal with adversity? How can you foster the attitude that the author mentions in yourself and others? 

5. Chapter Five: Failure Can Make you Stronger 

What failures have you overcome? What adversity has made you stronger? How can you own your mistakes and failures and move on? 

6. Chapter Six: You Must Dare Greatly

We often must take risks to become better or to complete a task. Not all of these risks are physical or relate directly to the job; some risks are to your status or pride or can create hardship or embarrassment. How can you “be daring” and take these risks in your life? How can you take risks in the fire environment and still be safe? 

7. Chapter Seven: Stand Up to the Bullies

To do what’s right means you are standing up for what you know is right—choosing the difficult right over the easy wrong, using the Wildland Fire Leadership terminology. When have you had to act with courage in your career? Your life? 

8. Chapter Eight: Rise to the Occasion 

What dark times have you gone through in your life? How did you rise to the occasion? How can you prepare yourself for those times? 

9. Chapter Nine: Give People Hope

How do you encourage people when things get rough? What can you do in your workplace to help keep people focused and motivated, even when you’re miserable too? Why is it essential to “lift those around us,” as the author says? 

10. Chapter Ten: Never, Ever Quit! 

Why is it important to never quit? Are there times when never giving up could mean leaving a particular path and pursuing another? In your opinion, is the phrase “never quit” more about attitude or action? Both?


The principles that have had the most profound impact on my life have been starting my day with a task completed (chapter one), failure can make you stronger (chapter five), and giving people hope (chapter nine). These habits and qualities have made me a better person, and I have come to know of their truthfulness and importance in my life. I encourage all those reading this to consider these ten ideas, and I promise each of you will find more meaning and purpose in your life.


Authored by Carter Walch

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