Lessons in Personal Change

I am currently reading this interesting and very popular best selling book by Stephen R. Covey titled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I got it about six years ago because it seemed to be making waves then but never got around reading it. Now that I’m doing so, I cannot help but marvel at such insights from this author . Every page is loaded with life changing principles that will go a long way to help our perception of things and eventually our attitudes and characters.

These are the summaries of the first 3 habits:

Habit 1. Be Procative – Even though both are influenced by their social environments or social weather,  Reactive People build their emotional lives around behaviors of others. When people treat them well, they feel well but when people don’t, they become defensive thereby allowing themselves to be controlled by other peoples’ opinion of them. On the other hand,  Proactive People’s response is value-driven and value-based. That is to say, irrespective of the weather, whether it rains or shines, whether you laugh with them or at them, as long as they have set their minds on achieving a certain target or quality, they are driven by that target.

‘No one can hurt you without your consent’ – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Habit 2. Begin With The End In Mind – Always have a sense of direction and destination. There has to be a building plan before a house is built. There has to be an already designed dress on paper before the cutting of the materials and the sewing starts. All things are created twice. The same way we  visualize how our house, clothes and food should turn out before we start making them is the same way we should sit down and visualize how we see ourselves in the near and far future. You need to have known where you want to get to before you run out of the house early in the morning and jump on the bus or train. Where are you going? What are you hoping to achieve? Having a clarity of destination makes it easier for people to show you the direction in case you get lost along the way.

Habit 3. Put First Things First – Organize your goals around your mission. Our priorities and life schedules should be based on the level of what is more important to us. The popular story/analogy about what goes into the bucket first between the rocks, stones, pebbles, sand, and the water shows that if we don’t attend to the most important issues (the big rocks ) first, we will never be able to fit them into our already tight schedules later.

‘The things which matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least’….Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

According to Stephen Covey, the above three habits are collectively what makes up our private victory which is the stage at which we are able to move from the level of dependence to independence.

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