Books are a lot like people. Sometimes they come into your life uninvited, or you find them willingly. Like people, books can teach you some of the hardest lessons. They speak truth so deep like you never saw coming. Sometimes we keep those books in the back shelf. And then other times we open them to read again.
It is very likely that The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will become a staple in my office. There are so many practical bits of advice crammed into about 350 pages. Once you finish reading, it feels like you’ve gone through an entire college semester on this! I’m so fascinated with the principles Stephen R. Covey shares in his book that I just had to write about. And by doing that, I get to read again!
Habit 2 of Effective People
Since there is so much to cover, I decided to pick my favorite concept from one of the earlier chapters. The book is divided into three parts and then broken down into the seven habits. I want to share about Habit (let’s call it chapter 2).
The idea behind Habit 2 is so simple. It is to start with the end in mind. To keep things even simpler, it means to start (anything you do) with a clear understanding of your destination. Maybe you want to own your own business one day. You might be dreaming of finding “The One” and having all the kids. Or, your destination is to become financially secure by the time you are 40.
The End in Mind
All these goals are wonderful, but the author is suggesting that you may not get there unless you keep the end in mind before you even start. And if you are ready to do that, there is one way: write a personal mission statement. Say what!!? That’s what schools asked for on applications. We’ve had this tool all along!
So where do we even start? That’s when we get to my favorite part of the book. Before we can write a personal mission statement, we need to understand our vision and core values. This is where things clicked because we had been reading about the same exact thing in a women’s bible group. They called the “main axis,” but the idea is the same.
Down to Our Core
When we know what drives us from our core—the center of our lives—then everything else that flows from it has a clear purpose. Having the right core will differentiate an effective person from someone chasing empty victories. And this aligns perfectly with the author’s next point.
He speaks to how we all have a center. And they are very familiar to us: a spouse, family, money, work, possessions, pleasure, friend/enemy, church/organization, and even the self. And while these can all be good things, individually or combined, these centers should not drive our every decision. There is a clear commonality in all of them—they can change or even fail us.
Your Core is Immovable
But there is an answer. It holds true in the business world and in the spiritual sense. A solid foundation is found in having a principle center. That means our foundation is created on solid principles that do not change. As told by Covey, your principles give you security in knowing that your core is immovable. If you are guided by your principles, then you stand apart from life’s situations. You think and act differently from most of the world. And your power comes from your self-awareness that your actions are not driven by your circumstances.
All that in just some twenty-odd pages! It’s insane to think of the amount of wisdom that Covey shares in this book. This book is a great find and I highly encourage you to read it today. Take it as you would meeting someone off the street… with an open mind.
Verses to reflect
“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels–everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.”
“The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.”