I am that person that has four or five books going at one time. I’m also that person that starts a book, and after a few chapters- puts it down only to pick it up again a couple of months later. So it has been with this book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.
Over 15 million copies of this book have been sold. It has withstood the test of time, and is one book that people come back to time and time again!! This is the one book that I told my kids at Christmas they need to read this year!!
The author, Stephen R. Covey recommends that one not simply read straight through this book. I have to admit, that would be hard to do. It is not an easy read. It requires thought and reflection. Perhaps that is why it has been THAT book that I’ve put down for a while. He suggests two paradigm shifts that he believes will “greatly increase the value you will receive from this material.” p. 59
1. Don’t read straight through. The material is meant to be a companion as you grow through what you are learning.
2. Shift from learner to teacher. Read it with the plan to share or discuss with others.
Lucky you- you are my person with whom I am acting as teacher. I can’t think of a better person to share what I have learned from this book than you– the person reading my blog right now!!
So on to the habits:
Being proactive is more than taking initiative. It is the realization that we are responsible for our own lives.
LOVE– “Look at the word responsibility – “response-ability”- the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.” P. 71
I love his idea that our responsibility is our ability to choose our response. I would have loved to have understood that concept when I was teaching or raising my children!!! We always want our children or students to be responsible, but I never looked at it on these terms before!
Covey shares the difference between proactive and reactive people.
LOVE– “Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good… Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them.” P. 71
He discusses “listening to our language” This is what I believe Dr. Phil later coined as our elevator music. What we tell ourselves- our language. This really made me think…
“The language of reactive people absolves them of responsibility.” P. 78
“That’s me. That’s just eh way I am.” I am determined. There is nothing I can do about it.
“He makes me so mad!” I’m not responsible. My emotional life is governed by something outside my control.
“I can’t do that. I just don’t have the time.” Something outside me– limited time– is controlling me.
“If only my wife were more patient.” Someone else’s behavior is limiting my effectiveness.
“I have to do it.” Circumstances or other people are forcing me to do what I do. I’m not free to choose my own actions.
Did I just hear a collective OUCH??? I know those words hit a little too close to home with me!
There is so much more to the first few chapters of the book than what I have shared here. If you have read this book, I’d love to hear from you!!