As we mentioned in the post on the failed self-making bed, men and women who've been in the military tend to keep the bed-making habit long after they've served. Why is that? How, exactly, are they trained to make their beds, and in what manner? To find out we both dug up a video (at bottom of this entry) and spoke to a veteran. Here NYC-based photographer, speaker and on-camera coach Michael Cinquino, who in a previous life was a Petty Officer Third Class on the fast combat support ship U.S.S. Detroit, answers our questions.
Core77: Do you still make your bed every morning?
Michael Cinquino: Yes.
The exact same way you did in the Navy?
No. Because in the Navy it was a two-man job. Our racks were basically bunk beds, so you and your bunkmate stood on opposite sides and made both beds together.
What was the procedure?
You had a set amount of time to make the bed properly, starting from scratch each time--
Sorry, what do you mean by "from scratch?"
You had to rip all of the sheets off and put them in a pile on top of the bed, and start from there.
How did they enforce that?
The drill instructor's standing right there, supervising.
Why make you start from scratch every time?
It was to teach attention to detail. To go through the whole process and teach you that executing little details correctly matters. As a sailor, if you screw up a detail, people can get killed. So the pillow's got to be centered, the catch-hem has to be pointing up, the fold a certain distance, et cetera.
Now that you're back in civilian life and people can't get killed [as a result of your actions], you've kept the habit.
I still make the bed every morning, but I don't do the corners the same way we did it.
Takes too long.
Then why make the bed at all?
To accomplish a task first thing in the morning. By making your bed immediately after your feet hit the floor in the morning, you set yourself up to take action for the rest of the day.
Cinquino's setting-yourself-up-for-success motivation echoes that of retired Admiral William H. McRaven, an ex-Navy-SEAL who discussed the importance of making your bed at a commencement address at the University of Texas, Austin two years ago. Here's McRaven's central point:
As to how the beds are actually made, we couldn't find naval footage of the two-man procedure, but we assume it's done similarly to what we see in this footage of how it's done in the Army. Here Drill Sergeant Shane Medders explains while a grunt demonstrates:
So. Do you guys and gals make your beds each morning? And is there a designer equivalent to a little habit you execute to enforce discipline--like naming your Photoshop layers?