Make Today Count–Book Summary

Part I – November 12, 2012

In 2004 John C. Maxwell wrote a small 130 page book called Make Today Count. It is a treasure of a book. Over three days this week I will summarize this little book. If you want a real treat read the book. But just don’t read it and put it down. Really read it. Study it and put what you learn from it to work in your life.

The book covers 12 key values that one should focus upon every day. Today we will look at the first four of those.


Keeping a positive attitude each day is a tremendous tool in our pursuit of happiness and success. Having a positive attitude is not something you are born with. It is something you must consciously choose to do. The first step in having and maintaining a positive attitude then is to decide to have one. Attitude is a choice – it is your choice.

You can choose to be cynical, negative, pessimistic, and discouraged. You can also choose to be optimistic, positive, and hopeful. Life will happen either way but you will be far happier and more successful if you decide to be happy and positive in your attitude.

To do this you must make a definite decision to defeat the negative thoughts that invade your brain. You must banish them. Each time you begin to think negatively you must check that and choose to think positively. At first this can take great effort, especially if you have developed a habit of thinking negatively. Habits can be changed if you choose to do so and work on it.

Maxwell suggests a number of things you can do to enhance your positive thinking:

1. Think, act, and speak as though you are positive. The way we act has a strong influence on the way we think.

2. Place a high value on people. If you value people highly it is more difficult to be negative and cynical about them.

3. Develop a high appreciation of life. Avoid people who complain about everything. Don’t dwell on the negatives in life – dwell on the positives.

4. Recognize that your attitude needs daily adjustments and make those adjustments consciously.

5. Seek to find something positive in everything. Look for that silver lining.

6. Find someone positive in every situation. Let their influence wash over you.

7. Say positive things in every conversation. What we say defines our thinking and our attitude.

8. Remove negative words from your vocabulary. Replace phrases like I can’t, If only, I don’t think, I’m afraid etc. with phrases like I can, I will, I know, I’m confident.

9. Express gratitude daily. Thank people for what they do for you. Tell people you appreciate them in your life.

Every day make a conscious decision to be more positive and speak and act accordingly. You will reap great benefits from this. Among them is the fact that other people are attracted to positive people.


We spend a lot of time on minor things and as a result neglect the important things. It takes real effort to focus on your priorities but you accomplish far more by doing so.

As you plan your activities for each day choose actions and plans that will advance your highest priorities and get those things done first before you spend time on the trifling details of life.

William James said, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook”. Make a daily effort to overlook that which is not important and focus on what is important to you.

Evaluate your priorities daily and bring yourself back to working on them. Plan your time carefully. The better you plan how you will use your time, the more effectively you will use it. Then follow your plan as best as you can. You will feel like you are more in control of your life.


You know this one is true. Your health is your most valuable asset. You must make an effort to take care of it daily. Make a decision right now to nurture and care for your health. Have a purpose worth living for. Do work that you enjoy, and if you do not like the work you do find work that is meaningful to you, whether it is for pay or as a volunteer.

Find your own pace. Do not push yourself to meet other’s expectations. You should set your own expectations and strive to achieve them.

Accept your personal worth. You must care about yourself in order to take care of yourself.

Laugh – few things make us happier and healthier than frequent laughing.

And of course, eat right and get plenty of exercise. Do not put this off until tomorrow for tomorrow will never come. You must take care of yourself today and every day to enjoy good health for a life time.


Your family is the most important group of people in your life. No one has said on their death bed that they wished they had spent more time at work. Most say they wish they had spent more time with their loved ones.

Make the decision to communicate with your family every day. Nurture those relationships. Give your family the greatest gift of all: your time and genuine undivided attention.

Listen to this Old Russian proverb:

Before going to war – pray once.

Before going to sea – pray twice.

Before getting married – pray three times.

This means that the most important decisions in your life are those that relate to your family.

Put your family and your commitments to them on your calendar first, then everything else. Act as though your family is first in your life.

Create and maintain family traditions – they are the glue that holds us together.

Express appreciation for one another. And, resolve conflict as soon as you can. Festering problems do not a happy family make.

In the next post we will look at four more important values that one should focus on each day to make us happier and more successful. What do you think about the first four values that Maxwell tells us to focus on each day?

Wishing you Success and Prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.