7 Questions to Seize the Essence of Today



Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Robert D. Smith on how to understand the value of a single day, and how to make the most of it.

Robert is author of 20,000 Days and Counting, and he’s a consultant to best-selling authors, speakers, entertainers, and cutting edge organizations.

20,000 days is the average number of days we have to be alive.  Let’s make them great.

Without further ado, here’s Robert …

You’ve heard it said a thousand and five times: “Live today like it’s your last!”

It’s a cliché, but it’s still good advice. You don’t know what tomorrow will look like, or if you’ll even see tomorrow to find out what it looks like. Today is truly all you have.

If you really grasp that, then you should be living each and every day with maximum intensity, pouring every ounce of yourself into life. How do you do that? By getting things started right.

“The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.” 
Henry Ward Beecher
(He lived exactly 26,920 days)

The manner in which you begin your day determines how well you live it. To live each day to its true potential, you must begin the day with intention. These seven questions are the perfect tools for infusing purpose into each precious day you are given.

1. Whose life am I going to brighten today?

The sooner you make others your priority in life, the sooner you will be liberated from the restrictions of selfishness. Self-consumption confines you to the small space of yourself, without any room for variation or vibrancy in your life.

The best part is that it’s actually s-o-o-o-o-o easy to brighten someone else’s day. A smile, a bright greeting, a brief celebration — these are all small actions that go a LONG way.

2. What three things am I most grateful for today?

I cannot think of a better way to kickstart your day than to reflect on the GOOD! If you begin your day in the mindset of gratitude, you will continue to see the positives as the day unfolds before you. When your mind is in a positive state, your actions follow suit and you create positivity around you.

3. What memories am I going to create today?

Why wait until tomorrow or the next day to create a good memory? If you create a good memory today, you can already start enjoying it tomorrow, and so can those who share the memory with you.

Call a family member and remind them how much they mean to you, how much you love them. Have dinner with a close friend. Share a cup of coffee with a new friend. There are simple things you can do within each day that will create good memories, stronger relationships, and a fulfilling life.

4. What challenge am I going to overcome today?

Just because you vow to live a positive and intentional life does NOT mean that trials and challenges aren’t waiting around the next corner. Everyone has challenges all throughout life. HOW you deal with them is the important part.

If there is a challenge that you can confront and overcome today, do it! You will feel empowered, inspired, and motivated in every aspect of your life.

5. What value am I going to create today?

There are many places in life that you can fill with value. You can bring value in your work, in your relationships, and even in your personal time. It’s up to you whether or not you bring value to your life and those around you today.

6. How much joy can I create for others and myself today?

At the end of your life, you will not be remembered so much for your accomplishments and achievements, but for how you treated others. If you are full of joy and thankfulness, others will be filled in turn. Joy is contagious. Start with a simple smile, and share it with everyone you meet today.

7. What life-changing decision(s) am I going to make today?

These don’t have to be major. In fact, most significant life changes aren’t the product of one HUGE decision—they’re the sum of many small decisions that add up to something big.

Today is the day to make progress toward those major changes! Tomorrow may not even exist. Now is your chance.
The present moment is the only moment you totally control. What will you do with it today?

Robert D. Smith is the author of 20,000 Days and Counting, a crash course in living each day with maximum purpose and intensity. He also writes about entrepreneurship, personal growth, and more at TheRobertD.com.


  1. I like how it’s all focused on a positive note. Also I like the framing based on the questions – it forces to act, at least to give answers.

  2. Robert,
    Yes. “What challenge I am going to overcome today?” – I am going to run my app in the cloud today! If done, that would make quite a few folks happy on my team. 😀

  3. This is awesome. And fits in nicely with my “three words for 2013”: Live. Laugh. Serve. It’s also the name of my website that is barely off the ground. That’s the challenge I’m going to overcome today. 😉

    It’s amazing (and so easy) to brighten someone’s day with a smile. I do it all the time. Works every time.

    And the gratitude thing? Right. On. I was on my way to lunch today and this phrase came to me: “At the end of the day, it’s all about grace, gratitude, and giving.” Truly a message from heaven.

    Great post, Robert. I’m going to go check out your site.


  4. Thanks, Michael! I love that you’ve already realized the power of a simple smile. Keep living, laughing, and serving!

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