Monday, January 24, 2011

Habits that can change your life

One of the most impactful books that I have read is Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  While I believe that all 7 habits can have a significant and positive influence on your success, there are two which I would like to discuss today.  The first two of Covey's seven habits are so powerful that if you can begin to live by them, I am convinced they can change your entire life.
1. Be Proactive.  You are more than the sum of your experiences.  You are more than the sum of your genetic code.  The argument isn't between Nature and Nurture.  It may be hard to believe, but you have the power to choose how you respond to every situation.  In fact, you are the only one who can decide how much value to place on others' opinions, even those closest to you.  We've all experienced it.  Someone we dislike, or who is unimportant to us has something negative to say about us. Their opinion about us matters little.  However, when someone we respect or someone close to us has the same opinion, we are devastated.  You may not believe it, you may not want to believe it, but you alone place value on the opinions of those around you.  Being proactive means saying, "I can, I choose, I will."  It means saying, "Let's look at our options."
2) The second habit is Begin with the End in Mind.  If you don't shoot at a target, you'll never hit your mark.  It is easy to just let life happen.  We look up and the year is almost over. we blink and our kids are nearly grown.  It is easy to get distracted.  Remember the sirens from Homer's Odyssey (check out O brother, Where Art Thou? for a spin on this classic) - they entice and draw us away from our purpose.  Beginning with the end in mind is a way to stay focused on the future.  Whether you want to set a target for the year, or a mission for your life, it is a huge benefit to start your journey by first thinking about where you want to end up.  Not just material things, but things of lasting value.  What do you want people to say about you?  When your time on earth is over, what will be worth the investment?  Max Lucado's new book, Outlive your life is along a similar line.  Lucado asks us the same question.  What were we made for?  Lucado tells us that our purpose is to make a difference in the lives of those around us. 

Each of us has to determine what target we are aiming for and then pursue it with passion and wholehearted commitment.  Don't let life happen to you, be proactive.  Don't wander aimlessly, chart a course. 

My best to you,

jvt