Win the Day


“Day-Tight Compartments”

In 1913, Sir William Osler, the Father of Modern Medicine, delivered a speech at Yale University with a simple message: “Live in day-tight compartments.” 

Osler had just traveled the Atlantic Ocean via ocean liner, and the captain of the ship had demonstrated to him how, by pressing a single button, he could turn parts of the ship into watertight compartments. Leveraging that machinery as a metaphor, Osler likened each of us to an ocean liner on a long voyage. “Touch a button and hear, at every level of your life, the iron doors shutting out the Past—the dead yesterdays. Touch another and shut off, with a metal curtain, the Future—the unborn to-morrows.”

Like the book they are based upon, these devotionals are all about pressing that button and unleashing the power of twenty-four hours.  Burying dead yesterdays can be as difficult as a graveside funeral. Imagining unborn tomorrows involves no less labor than childbirth. But if you want to win the day, there is no other way.

Long ago, a poet said, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). If you want every day to count, you have to count the days. How? Try count­ing backward. 

This may seem a little sadistic, but if you’re the curious type, pay a visit to Go ahead—this app will still be here when you get back. Enter your birthday, along with body-mass index, and it spits out your estimated day of death. 

What does it mean to win the day? It’s living like each day is the first day and last day of your life, which is both an art and a science. 

In these devotionals, I’ll introduce seven habits designed to help you win the day. This process won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But if you put these seven habits into prac­tice, you’ll win a lot more days than you lose! You’ll learn how to stress less and accomplish more. 

Before we begin, let me ask a question: can you do it for a day

No matter what habit you’re trying to build, what problem you’re trying to solve, or what goal you’re going after, it always happens one day at a time. When you think in terms of weeks or months or years, it can be overwhelming and demotivating. Don’t worry about next week, next month, or next year! 

Can you do it for a day? With God’s help, I know you can! 

Think on this: Almost anybody can accomplish almost anything if he or she works at it long enough, hard enough, and smart enough.