Book Review: Make Today Count (John Maxwell, 2004)

“You really can make today great. The key is to make the most important decisions of your life and then to manage those decisions. Anyone who does that consistently can make today a masterpiece.” – John Maxwell

I first read this book in 2014, and it still resonates in 2020.

In “Make Today Count,” John Maxwell emphasizes the “Daily Dozen,” which is a collection of 12 focus areas that he says are essential for personal success:
1. Attitude
2. Priorities
3. Health
4. Family
5. Thinking
6. Commitment
7. Finances
8. Faith
9. Relationships
10. Generosity
11. Values
12. Growth

Although John Maxwell’s advice is that a person focus on each of these 12 areas (or create your own 10-15 areas) consistently, as a reader, I think that one or more of these may stand out more than others, depending on where that reader is in their life.

For me, in 2020, Attitude and Relationships seem to stand out more. I think Attitude is a given; it is a cornerstone to personal success that cannot be overemphasized. If someone has a rotten attitude, it is manifested in their relationships with others. People are either appalled by or drawn to a person, based on their attitude.

With that in mind, one thing that has seemed to be impressed upon me repeatedly in both my interactions with others and as a bystander in observation of how others interact is this: the way I treat others is a reflection of my character, not the other person’s character. And this truth seems to stand, regardless of what the other person has done, good or bad. And it stands regardless of whether we’re talking about personal or professional relationships.

The most insightful and practical part of the book is the chapter on Relationships, where the author comes close to this same concept with the following advice:
People are insecure… give them confidence.
People want to feel special… sincerely compliment them.
People desire a better tomorrow… show them hope.
People need to be understood… listen to them.
People are selfish… speak to their needs first.
People are emotionally low… encourage them.
People want to be associated with success… help them win.

make today countHe goes on to say, “when you understand people, don’t take their shortcomings personally, and help them to succeed, you lay the groundwork for good relationships.”

I feel like if I didn’t get anything else out of this book but just a clear understanding of how to improve my relationships (and to also actually put this into practice), then this book was well worth the time to read and learn.

And yet, Relationships is just 1 of the 12 “daily dozen” from John Maxwell that you will get from this book.

A worthwhile read that can make a difference for you, starting today.

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