May is an absolutely amazing time of year because of the plethora of convocation ceremonies taking place all over the country. My favorite part about the convocation ceremonies are the keynote speeches. While I appreciate all of the speeches a lot of them are just idealistic platitudes such as “follow your dreams” or “be happy” which make you feel good but are not helpful in guiding a newly minted college graduate in taking his/her first steps in the “real” world.
That is why I LOVED the speech given above by Admiral McRaven above. It gives you a very concrete action item one can take to become the best they can be. You may think that making your bed is a trivial task and why does it matter? It is NOT the specific task that matters but it is a tangible and relatively simple task that YOU HAVE control over to complete each and every day. I mentioned this in a previous post about the power of habits and this posts builds upon that.
It is absolutely essential to make sure that you complete a small task NO MATTER what on a daily basis because it helps corrects an inappropriate locus of control. Broadly speaking yon can categorize an individual’s locus of control as either:
1. External – They attribute both their success and failures (the events of their life) to external circumstances.
2. Internal – They attribute their successes and failures (the events of their life) to their OWN actions.
When these two loci of control are spelled out so clearly it is readily apparent that an internal locus of control is needed to maximize ones potential. But why would one have an external locus of control? It is something that primarily results from a phenomenon called “learned helplessness”. There is a multitude of sophisticated research studies that delve into this topic that I highly recommend you check out if you are intrigued by this topic. However, the basic crux is that as an individual becomes to feel overburdened by the stresses and pressures of life, to help them cope they then default towards adopting an external locus vs. an internal locus of control. It requires constant work and vigilance to maintain an internal locus of control.
What can you do today to ensure that you are maintaining an internal locus of control? You need to commit to completing small tasks on a daily basis that will cause you to push your limits and comfort zone just a little bit (but not too much). Making your bed is a great first step in reprogramming the internal locus of control so that you take responsibility for BOTH your successes and failures.
Be Happy and Chase your Dreams,
PS Here are a few ways to connect with me if you have any questions or have any specific topics you would like me to address.