How to make each day your masterpiece

How would you spend today if it were the one day by which your entire life would be judged?

Fabrizio Giovannozz/AP Photo/File
Italian restorer Agnese Parronchi rubs the hand of Michelangelo's marble statue of David in Florence in 2002. The masterpiece was finished in 1504.

Those who have followed this blog for a long time know that I don’t have many personal heroes. There are a lot of people who have valuable things to say, but there are very few people who have reached such a trusted level with me that I tend to put extra value on the things they say just because that person said them.

One of those few people was John Wooden, who passed away this past week (I mentioned it briefly in my reader mailbag on Monday). A few years ago, I wrote about how John Wooden had taught me a lot about personal finance and over the years, I’ve read his books and a big pile of interviews he’d given.

Of all of the things I’ve taken away from the things he’s said, one stands out above all others.

Make each day your masterpiece.

In other words, how would you spend today if it were the one day by which your entire life would be judged?

This is something I make a genuine effort to keep in mind every single day of my life.

What would I write if I knew I only had one shot at making a difference in someone’s life?

How would I spend the next hour with my four year old son if I knew it was the only hour he’d remember from his childhood when he was an adult?

How would I spend this evening with my wife if it were the last evening we would spend together?

How would I spend my money today if I knew that today spoke financially for the rest of my days?

Would I hold my temper? Would I stop being such a slob? Would I set a good example? Would I not worry what the neighbors thought and just run through the sprinkler in my clothes, laughing with my children? Would I make a perfectly delicious, tasty meal and smile at my daughter across the dinner table – or would I just throw a box of Tuna Helper out there?

Every single day, we’re making an impact on the people around us. The people we love. The people we merely like. The people we will never directly know. Even on ourselves – our future health and happiness and relationships and skills and finances.

Every single day, we have a chance to really make all of those things shine – or we can buy a sack full of double cheeseburgers and sit in the basement all evening watching Seinfeld reruns.

Today is really the only day that matters. You can’t make your past self do anything. You can’t make your future self do anything, either. Your only freedom of choice is right now, and thus today is your one chance to paint your masterpiece.

What are you going to do today to make it your masterpiece?

Add/view comments on this post.


The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.