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Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden was the most successful basketball coach of all time. The accomplishments set by his UCLA teams include 10 NCAA championships in 12 years, and 4 full undefeated seasons. But what few people realize is that Wooden was a model of success not only in basketball, but also in life. Wooden’s non-basketball honors include being named California “Sports Father of the Year” and receiving the “Bellarmine Medal of Excellence” (joining such other recipients as Mother Teresa and Walter Cronkite).

Several traits contributed to his success both on and off the court, and Wooden’s success philosophy is divulged in his famous “Pyramid of Success.” But the one that stands out more than any other is the advice given to him by his father when Wooden was a little boy—“Make each day your masterpiece.”

Wooden understood that we can’t change the past, and that we shouldn’t live in the future. While we can certainly learn from the past, and we can definitely do things now that will affect the future, Wooden knew that life is happening right now. He focused on today, both in his personal life and as a coach. Wooden wanted to end each day thinking that he had done his best. And he instilled this philosophy on his players.

How about you? Are you living each day as though it’s the championship game? Or do you live your life as though it’s a practice for some game in the future? If this day were a painting, would it be a masterpiece when it’s done?

Here are some things you can do immediately that will help you daily to create your masterpiece:

  1. At the beginning of each day (or the night before), ask yourself this question: What is the single most important thing that I can do today to make my life a masterpiece? Whatever your answer, make sure your focus throughout the day remains on that one thing.
  2. At the end of the day, ask yourself the following questions: Did I do my best today? What worked? What didn’t work? Exploring the answer to these questions (1) provides a formula for discovering and appreciating the things in your life that are going well, and (2) clarifies where you might have fallen short.
  3. Keep a record of the results you are noticing. A journal is a tool that many people use for this purpose. By recording answers to the questions above, you will begin to see patterns. Some activities produce desired results, and some don’t. As you create your masterpiece, you will want to duplicate your successes, and eliminate those learning experiences that didn’t produce the desired results.

Embrace life as it happens. Focus on this day--the only one you can control. And remember…Make each day your masterpiece!

If this day were a painting, would it be a masterpiece when it’s done? Embrace life as it happens. Seize the day. Make each day your masterpiece!

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