FOCUS ON TODAY
Today is the only time you have.
It’s too late for yesterday. And you can’t depend on tomorrow. You know this. Most people do. But they don’t live that way. Their focus is behind them or ahead of them. Neither is helpful. Today is where we need to focus. Today matters. Today is most important. Most of the time, we miss that.
Our past successes and failures often look bigger to us in hindsight than they really were. Some people never get over their past accomplishments. They’d rather spend time thinking about when they were at the top than trying to reach that level again. Or they regret what they could have done. Almost any opportunity that went unpursued looks golden now that it’s too late to go after it. Some people’s negative experiences shape them for their entire lives.
They relive every rejection, failure, and injury they’ve received, and they let those incidents tie them into emotional knots. Yesterday ended last night. No matter how badly you might have failed in the past, it’s done. No matter what goals you may have accomplished or awards you may have received, they have little impact on what you do today.
Today is a new day.
SEE THE GLASS AS HALF-FULL
No person’s life is a full glass. No person’s life is an empty glass. Every day of your life, the glass has something positive in it. When you look at the glass of your life, what do you see? Seeing the glass as half-full increases your possibilities. Pessimists usually get what they expect. So do optimists.
Believing in yourself increases your chances of success. Looking for the positive in every situation helps you see opportunities you would otherwise miss. Being positive with people prompts them to be positive with you—and individuals who interact well with others have a leg up on people who don’t.
VIEW EVERYONE AS A POTENTIAL FRIEND
When you understand people and care about them, you’re less likely to take their shortcomings personally. And you lay the groundwork for better relationships.
Think back to the most important experiences of your life: the highest highs, the greatest victories, the most daunting obstacles overcome. How many of them happened to you alone? I bet there are very few. When you understand that being connected to others is one of life’s greatest joys, then you realize that the best of life comes when you initiate and invest in good relationships.
What’s the best way to develop relationships with others? Start off by seeing everyone as a potential friend. The best way to start off on the right foot with people is to put others first. The most basic way to do that is to practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you take that mindset into all your interactions with others, you can’t go wrong.
DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’LL DO
How valuable is following through for winning at life? When you say you will do something, small or large, do you do it? When you make a commitment, can others be sure you will keep it?
Few value choices have a greater impact than keeping commitments. As much as it helps the recipients of the commitment, it does even more for the person who keeps it.
In general, people approach daily commitment in one of two ways: They focus on the external or the internal. Those who focus on the external allow conditions to determine whether they do what they say they will do. Because conditions are so transitory, their commitment level changes like the wind.
In contrast, people who base their actions on the internal focus on their choices. Each choice is a crossroads, one that will either confirm or compromise their commitments.
PUT IMPORTANT AHEAD OF URGENT
Given the choice, would you rather save time or money? Most people focus on dollars. But how you spend your time is much more important than how you spend your money. Money mistakes can often be corrected, but when you lose time, it’s gone forever. Your time is priceless.
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I need more time”? Well, you’re not going to get it! No one gets more time. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. No matter what you do, you won’t get more.
Since you can’t change time, you must instead change your approach to it. Most people are driven by the urgent, by whatever comes up next. To win at life, you can’t do that.
You can work to have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want. You must choose. Excellence comes from doing the right things right, the important things before the urgent ones. The rest you have to let go of. If you’re not sure what the right things are, pretend you have a week to live. What would you do? A month? Six months? The things you would do in that short time are the right things.
GIVE YOUR FAMILY YOUR BEST
The family of your upbringing formed you, for better or worse. It may have given you a head start in life, or it may have presented you with challenges. You have no control over the past or how you were treated. But you determine how you treat your family today and in the future.
The way you approach family life has a profound impact on how you live and on the legacy you leave. At its best, a family is: • A safe haven in a storm • A photo album of great memories • A crucible of good character • A mirror revealing truth • A treasure chest of our most important relationships
The relationships you have with your spouse, children, parents, and siblings are the most important ones in your life. They form you and are formed by you. That’s reason enough to give them your best.
MAKE YOURSELF BETTER EVERY DAY
When we’re young, adults, such as our parents and teachers, challenge us to grow. As adults, if we don’t take proactive responsibility for our mental, emotional, and professional growth, we lag behind.
Personal growth works exactly opposite to compounding interest in a bank account. If someone deposited a sum of money into an interest-bearing account the day you were born, the way to make it grow would be to leave it alone. But leaving your potential alone won’t help you grow. You must take it out every day and work with it. That’s the only way to keep growing and improving.
A person who believes that growth comes simply as the result of living is like an archer who keeps shooting arrows off target and believes he’s improving by shooting the same way. Experience is good only if it’s reflected upon and you learn from both mistakes and successes.