John Maxwell on Leadership

How does today impact tomorrow’s success?


Everyone wants to have a good day, but not many people know what a good day looks like – much less how to create one. And even fewer people understand how the way you live today impacts your tomorrow. Have you ever asked someone what he was doing and heard him respond, “Oh, I’m just killing time”? Have you ever really thought about that statement? A person might as well say, “I’m throwing away my life,” because, as Benjamin Franklin asserted, time is “the stuff life is made of.” Today is the only time we have within our grasp, yet many people let it slip through their fingers. They recognize neither today’s value nor its potential. If we want to do something with our lives, then we must focus on today. That’s where tomorrow’s success lies. But how do you win today? How do you make today a great day instead of one that falls to pieces? Here’s the missing piece: The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. It all comes down to what you do today. Now I don’t mean your “to-do” list. Nor am I asking you to adopt a particular kind of calendar or computer program to manage your time. I’m focusing on something bigger. I want you to embrace what may be a whole new approach to life: Make the decision once, then manage it daily. There are only a handful of important decisions that people need to make in their entire lifetimes. Does that surprise you? Most people complicate life and get bogged down in decision-making. My goal has always been to make it as simple as possible. I’ve boiled the big decisions down to twelve things. Once I’ve made those twelve decisions, all I have to do is manage how I’ll follow through on them. If you make decisions in those key areas once and for all – and then manage those decisions daily – you can create the kind of tomorrow you desire. Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. Here are the twelve areas where I make decisions and then manage them on a day-to-day basis:
  1. Attitude: Today’s attitude gives me possibilities.
  2. Priorities: Today’s priorities give me focus.
  3. Health: Today’s health gives me strength.
  4. Family: Today’s family time gives me stability.
  5. Thinking: Today’s thinking gives me an advantage.
  6. Commitment: Today’s commitment gives me tenacity.
  7. Finances: Today’s financial decisions give me options.
  8. Faith: Today’s faith gives me peace.
  9. Relationships: Today’s relationships give me fulfillment.
  10. Generosity: Today’s generosity gives me significance.
  11. Values: Today’s values give me direction.
  12. Growth: Today’s growth gives me potential.
This post is adapted from my book Today Matters, which approaches each of those decisions in greater detail and offers practical advice on how to make them early and manage them daily.


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