Today Often Falls to Pieces— What Is the Missing Piece?
Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily.
The earlier you make those right decisions and the longer you manage them, the more successful you can become. The people who neglect to make those decisions and to manage them well often look back on their lives with pain and regret—no matter how much talent they possessed or how many opportunities they once had.
I believe that everyone has the power to impact the outcome of his life. The way to do it is to focus on today. Benjamin Franklin rightly observed, “One today is worth two tomorrows; what I am to be, I am now becoming.” You can make today a good day. In fact, you can make it a masterpiece.
Today Can Become a Masterpiece
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.
will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today. In other words . . .
YOU ARE PREPARING FOR SOMETHING
The way you live your life today is preparing you for your tomorrow. The question is, What are you preparing for? Are you grooming yourself for success or failure?
“You can pay now and play later, or you can play now and pay later. But either way, you are going to pay.” The idea was that you can play and take it easy and do what you want today, but if you do, your life will be harder later. However, if you work hard now, on the front end, then you will reap rewards in the future.
The only adequate preparation for tomorrow is the right use of today.
Is it fun to do? Not especially. Often the practice is quite tedious. Does it work? Absolutely.
It seems obvious to say that good decisions help to create a better tomorrow, yet many people don’t appear to connect their lack of success to their poor decision making. Some people make choices, then experience negative consequences, yet wonder why they can’t seem to get ahead in life. They never figure it out. Others know their choices may not be good for them, but they make them anyway. Such is the case with the alcoholic who keeps drinking excessively or the person who engages in one abusive relationship after another.
Nobody says that good decisions are always simple, but they are necessary for success. Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame University, admonished:
You don’t make decisions because they’re EASY;
You don’t make decisions because they’re CHEAP;
You don’t make decisions because they’re POPULAR;
You make decisions because they’re RIGHT.
You begin to build a better life by determining to make good decisions, but that alone is not enough. You need to know what decisions to make.
- Attitude: Choose and display the right attitudes daily.
- Priorities: Determine and act on important priorities daily.
- Health: Know and follow healthy guidelines daily.
- Family: Communicate with and care for my family daily.
- Thinking: Practice and develop good thinking daily.
- Commitment: Make and keep proper commitments daily.
- Finances: Make and properly manage dollars daily.
- Faith: Deepen and live out my faith daily.
- Relationships: Initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.
- Generosity: Plan for and model generosity daily.
- Values: Embrace and practice good values daily.
- Growth: Seek and experience improvements daily.
If you settle these twelve issues by making the right decision in each area and then manage those decisions daily, you can be successful.
Making Today Matter
Rate Yourself on the Daily Dozen: Look at the following list of the Daily Dozen and rank how well you do them. Put a “1” beside the one you do the best, a “2” beside the one you’re next best at, and so on until you’ve ranked your skill in them from 1 to 12.
____ Attitude: Choose and display the right attitudes daily.
____ Priorities: Determine and act on important priorities daily.
____ Health: Know and follow healthy guidelines daily.
____ Family: Communicate with and care for my family daily.
____ Thinking: Practice and develop good thinking daily.
____ Commitment: Make and keep proper commitments daily.
____ Finances: Earn and properly manage finances daily.
____ Faith: Deepen and live out my faith daily.
____ Relationships: Initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.
____ Generosity: Plan for and model generosity daily.
____ Values: Embrace and practice good values daily.
____ Growth: Desire and experience improvements daily.
Verify Your Self-evaluation: Talk to a friend who knows you well and ask him or her to confirm how you evaluated yourself. If your friend ranks your strengths and weaknesses differently than you do, discuss your differences of opinion and make adjustments to the rankings as needed.
Pick Two Strengths: Pick two strengths from your top six to work on. Make sure that you have made the necessary decision for each area. Then begin practicing the daily disciplines in that area to make it a part of your life. Use the exercises at the end of the chapter to help you if desired.
Pick One Weakness: Choose a weakness from your bottom six to work on. Again, make sure you have made the decision for that area and begin practicing the daily disciplines that go with it.
Reevaluate: After sixty days have passed, reevaluate yourself in the three areas in which you’ve been working to improve. If you have made significant progress in an area, move on to something new. If an area still needs more work, remain focused on it for another sixty days. But don’t work on more than three areas at a time, and never work on more than one weakness at a time.
Repeat: Keep working on areas until you have the entire Daily Dozen under your belt.
Once you have made all the key decisions and each of the disciplines has become a habit in your life, then the Daily Dozen will be second nature to you. When these disciplines are woven into the fabric of your life, you will be able to make today your masterpiece. And when you do that, tomorrow will take care of itself.