Seven Habits – Day 3 – The See-Do-Get Cycle

Yesterday we looked at the Personality Ethic and the Character Ethic, just after we explored Paradigms. Paradigms influence how we see thing, and we see things either through a lens of Character, or Personality. How does knowing about paradigms affect personal change?

Personality is a map; it is just someone’s subjective representation of the truth. But Character is the territory itself, it is the objective reality. Our maps tell us where to go – so we need accurate maps. Have the wrong map, you get nowhere fast. The territory only tells the truth.

Our Paradigms affect our behaviour – we cannot act outside of our perception and assessment of what we see.

Another way of understanding the effect and use of the concept of paradigms is to explore the See-Do-Get Cycle. The Cycle suggests that how we see – our paradigms – influences what we do, and what we do influences our results, what we get. Often, the response to challenge in our workplace is to change what we Do, but Covey proposes that all this provides is temporary relief before the new way of Doing no longer addresses the original problem. He suggests that changing the way you see the problem provides better results. What does that mean for personal change?

It means changing from the Inside, Out.

Returning to the idea that we are responsible for our response to what happens to us, how we see what happens to us requires an accurate paradigm if we are to address it correctly, with character. Assuming you have acknowledged and accepted the idea that having an accurate paradigm is an essential element of any improvement process, then you now have to decide what to do about it. As it is in work, so it is with personal change.

You have to see that you are the problem, and that the solution is within you.

Jim Rohn said you won’t get fit by getting someone else to do press-ups for you. Personal change requires you do the work, not someone else. Other people can be resources for personal change, but you are the one who has to make the changes and put in the effort, not them.

Personality Ethic people solve their problems by putting on wild clothes, being louder and even more whacky. They change their image and so the Outside sees them differently – but what Outside sees still isn’t reality. They change their Do, but the real problem isn’t addressed. They redraw their map but the territory stayed the same.

Character Ethic people look inside and ask themselves “What is the truth, what is the right thing to do, and am I willing to do it? And when they have an answer to those questions, they set about doing it. They change from the Inside, and Outside sees the change – and it is real. The world moved, not the drawing of it.

This process reflects that how Character Ethic people saw the problem was part of the problem, and now they see differently they get better results.

What Covey was saying is that lasting, beneficial change comes from within. It is not a false front that lasts as long as the current trend. If you want to change for the better, look inside, look at your paradigm of self, see what your current truth is, decide what the real truth should be, and base your next actions on that.

Tomorrow – we look at Principles.

Seven Habits Day 2 – Personality Ethic v Character Ethic

Yesterday I wrote of Covey’s concept of Paradigms, and of “How we see the problem is the problem.” Today’s entry is about one of the influences on how we see and behave. Today we will address the difference between the Personality Ethic and the Character Ethic.

“When Man first discovered the mirror, he lost his soul,” said the philosopher. This single sentence summed up what Stephen Covey had discovered in his study of 200 years of American ‘success philosophy’ literature. He noticed that for 150 years success was about diligence, effort, integrity and so on. But just before and since WWII success was suddenly all about ‘the power look’, manipulation, image, etc.

We have read about Kennedy wearing two vests on walkabouts because he couldn’t be seen to be cold. We watch as politicians waffle and fail to answer questions so as not to offend any potential voter, minority group, sponsor, lobbyist or reporter with anything so blunt as the truth.

The difference between the Personality Ethic and the Character Ethic is stark. We now venerate celebrities and value their opinions upon issues that they know nothing about. We judge people based on their (presumed) political persuasion when we don’t know the first thing about them, or we lump them all in with abusive terms. Personality Ethic thinking abounds, in the sense that many people think that their image is all they need to be. Watch any ‘reality’ show and ask yourself what all the preeners, whacky-dressers, overly camp and expressive talkers and other pretenders are hiding.

We live in a Personality Ethic World, and it shows.

But guess what? Character is STILL appreciated, lauded and respected. Ask Captain-now-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore, the centenarian veteran who walked 100 laps of his garden on a zimmer frame and raised over £30m for the NHS. People saw a man of character and were inspired.

Generally speaking, the difference between Character and Personality is that the first is truth and the latter is false. The difference is summed up in the motto of North Carolina State, “To be rather than to seem.”

Personality is front, it’s show, and when such people need validation they ride bandwagons and espouse whatever is opportune in the moment. They are always right and you are always wrong. Which means, taking paradigms into account, they see through the lens of self and self-importance and act accordingly.

Character is intrinsic, it’s who a person is, and is usually based on integrity, realism, values-based self-confidence. People with character acknowledge what is and respond after careful thought. They see themselves as capable of being wrong and are willing to learn, to be better informed. They can be trusted to be what they appear to be.

Do you see the world through character, or personality? More to the point, which lens would you rather have? Which would you prefer to be seen to have?

How does your (my) self-image affect my (your) paradigms and your behaviour? Do we act based on how we will be seen, or on what we know and believe to be the right thing regardless of image?

And how does that affect our willingness to change?

Find out tomorrow.

7 Habits Day 1 of 17 – Paradigms

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Before he got into the Habits themselves, Stephen Covey laid a foundation, a core set of bases for understanding what was to follow. One of my recent discoveries on my 25th year of study was just how much what mattered at the start, mattered at the finish. And in the part between.

The primary, possibly most powerful tenet of The Seven Habits Philosophy is that of personal responsibility. Make sure you understand that. Everything that we do about what happens to us – is our fault. I should emphasise, given a participant’s interjection that ‘not everything is our fault’ that not everything that happens to us is our fault – the tenet doesn’t say that. It states that what we do about it is our fault.

Which means that when events pressurise upon us, when we want things to change, when we realise we don’t know or understand something, then responsibility for addressing those challenges lies not with Mum, friends, the government or the media. It lies within us. We are responsible.

This is almost too much to bear for some people, and for some vulnerable people it is nigh on impossible. Understanding personal responsibility can be a curse as much as it is liberating, when it comes to judging situations. “Why don’t you just DO something?” is easy for one to say, hard for another to do.

Which brings us to the first idea we have to understand if we are to understand the remainder of the Habits, and life in general. (Incidentally, reading the book will raise your levels of understanding of psychology as well as philosophy.)

The first concept to understand is that of Paradigms. In essence, and to quote Dr Covey, it is summed up in the phrase, “How we see the problem, is the problem.”

Paradigm is based on a Greek word, Paradigma, meaning pattern. If you consider (my understanding of) Gestalt Theory, it means we see and assess things based on a pattern that our experiences have formed. Paradigms are why we pull on some door handles and push on door plates – our experience instantly tells us which we are approaching and we act accordingly. That is at a basic level, but at an advanced level it is why we judge people and situations – our upbringing, state of mind, prior experience and judgements all inform us and we usually assess and act without further thought.

In demonstrations, Covey asks half of his audience to look at a picture of a woman’s face while the remainder close their eyes. Then the audience changes places and he shows a picture of a saxophone player. Then the pictures close and all open their eyes. Then a third picture is shown, which to those in the know is a composite, a drawing utilising the same line structure but slightly changed detail, and the audience is asked to discuss. Half insist it is a girl, the other half a saxophonist. Debate takes place an eventually all see both.

This is where it gets interesting. Think on the idea that how we see things influences what we do about it, and that our past experience influences how we see things. This has two effects.

First,  if we see things differently from others, we act differently and if we see the wrong thing, we do the wrong thing. That is not too sinister. But secondly, we can be directed to see things a certain way – and therefore act as we have been ‘told’ to see.

What does this mean?

It means that it does not take long, or very much, to direct people’s thinking.

Advertisers do it. We know that. But the media does it, too. How often have you been told that ‘outrage’ has been caused by something a politician has done, when if you were to step away from being told that you are outraged to realise that only the Opposition has ‘been outraged’ – surprise – and what has happened is really quite insignificant. But the media primes the reader to be angered using adjective and adverb to exaggerate factual content.

Not only is it true that “How you see the problem is the problem,” but “How you are told to see the problem can cause problems.”

A lot of people I speak to are quite defensive when I speak of the 7 Habits. What I find from what they say is they haven’t a clue what they’re defensive about – but their experiences and paradigms are telling them that this is religion/psychobabble/not relevant/I’m nuts.

In essence, understanding Paradigms lets us ask ourselves several question about our issues, challenges and problems. They are:

  • “How do you see yours?”
  • “Am I seeing the situation correctly?”
  • “Does it really matter? And
  • “What am I going to do about it? If anything.”

Tomorrow we’ll look at the Personality and Character Ethic, and how even that influences how we see and act.

Seven Habits Review: Day 0. Introduction.

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I have written before about how many people confuse The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with being a business book. It isn’t, never was. What it is, is a book about living effectively as an individual and as part of any relationship. It is not about fame or success, per se, but about living a principled life, which in turn can lead to those things – if they are what you want. But let’s be frank – most of us don’t want them or don’t see them as important as being a good person doing good work for the people they care about, while enjoying life – which this book promotes in spades.

I recall once attending a meeting of personal development teachers preparing to deliver the Seven Habits material to schools with the overall aim of teaching ‘leadership’, and I opined that what we would be teaching was  self-leadership, and this was even more important because while everyone has the potential to be ‘a success’ and a ‘boss’ the vast majority of young people would be the staff, the workers, the led – and they should be trained to be the best they could be at those things, too. Leaders – self-leaders – make great followers.

The Seven Habits are (and I quote) A principle-centred, character-based, inside-out approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

Let’s break that down a bit.

Principle-Centred. We like to think we can control events, but while we can control what we do, principles (sciences, incontrovertible truths, systems) decide the results. I’ll get deeper into that in future articles but for now I’ll explain that it means that instead of letting fame, wealth, family, church, peers, friends, pleasure, friends, enemies or work dictate how we think and behave, we let principles lead our decisions and resulting actions.

Character-Based. Our personality is what we show other people deliberately, but our character is what we really are. Personality tends to make us follow fashions and popular thought and ‘the latest thing’ so that we can fit in and benefit from that fitting in. Character, on the other hand, requires sacrifice, work and effort. But it lasts well beyond fashion, fame and money.

Inside-Out Approach. There is a tendency for folks to wait for their external world to change so that it suits them, instead of either changing it for the better themselves by changing their approach towards the changes needed. In 2020 we see protest after protest of people demanding other people change to suit their agenda – then they go home and wait for it to happen instead of engaging those in power in an effort to persuade and influence the change they want. The Inside-Out Approach is about looking into yourself and deciding what you need to change in yourself and how you need to change your approach, in order to achieve what you seek. Waiting for ‘them’ to change is ineffective.

Personal and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Effectiveness is not ‘just ‘success. Effectiveness is getting the results you want in such a way as to get them consistently – not once, but as long as they are needed. And it is not just about ‘you’ – it’s about effectiveness with and through other people, too. I have often said ‘Everything we do, we do with, for or because of other people – everything.’ So relationships are important enough to pursue with diligence. Including those we have with ourselves.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, then, are about taking responsibility for making things happen for the benefit of all those you love or serve, including yourself, while acting with good character and respecting the realities of the world.

Over the next 17 days (long story*) I intend to expand upon Stephen Covey’s work with a view to encouraging any reader to take up their own study of The Seven Habits so that they can benefit, as I have, from a better self-understanding and an improved recognition of what is going on around them, how they can respond to the challenges of the modern world – and do so without offending or being offended.

A word of warning, though – as you understand the lessons Covey taught you will start to recognise how many people are trying to tell you how to live. Covey’s main lesson is that you have that choice and it need not be imposed upon you. Reading the book will make you aware of how the world is trying to condition you – not necessarily out of malice but out of a desire to make you agree with ‘them’. After reading it, you may still agree with ‘them’. But it will be a conscious rather than popular agreement.

In the end, a major tenet of this book is this.

You can live your life or your life can be lived for you.

I hope you enjoy the work to follow.

 

(* Michael Heppell, personal development coach, has proposed a 17 day project for his Facebook Group and this is mine. That wasn’t as long a story as I thought.)

Resistance is still futile.

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Since last month’s release of the 7 Habits 30th Anniversary Edition I have read it twice. Added to the 25 years or more of reading, courses and observations I have already learned and made, you may be forgiven for thinking ‘Why?’ Fair comment.

However, what I have found is that when reading this timeless book there is always something new to discover, to understand, or to interpret in a new, more modern context. This time I read every chapter, then read each again while I made notes. I made 295 separate observations, and that is far from the full number of lessons in this classic if you consider that some of my notes were ‘I know this…’ I also made new connections – correction, I recognised the connections I’d missed before – between the lessons in the early pages and their relevance to those in the middle and end of the book.

As I did for so long, I suspect that a lot of people will perceive the 7 Habits as a sequential list of things to apply to life, when in fact that is very far from the whole story. The Habits are sequential in the sense that they address the roots, shoots and fruits of effective living in first the personal and then the public senses of existence. They are easier to learn and understand in sequence, too.

And yet, this 25th year’s reading identified to me the depth of thinking that Covey put into this work over 20-plus years, because I started to discover for myself the intricate web, the extensive inter-connectedness of the 7 Habits. I saw the way each singular element impacts, underpins, and has synergy with all the others. There are no contradictions between what is said on one page, and what you find anywhere else. All is in synch with everything else. This book has an ecology of its own that is a complete parallel with nature’s own ecology. Everything in The 7 Habits ‘library’ works with, and because of everything else. And any failure in one area compromises success elsewhere.

I suspect that recognition of this ecology is why I also enjoyed his later works. They, too, extend the ecology of the original, iconic work. Just as reading the 7 Habits in its laid-out sequence enhanced my ability to understand what could be quite an intellectual work, reading the following books in sequence underpinned and extended one’s understanding of the first as much as reading the first underpins reading of the rest. It may sound a little conceited but I credit understanding this book with an increased awareness and understanding of everything I have experienced in life. Yes, it made me clever. I never wrote like this before 1995.

In moving forward from The 7 Habits, Stephen Covey gave us First Things First (Habits 2 and 3 in more detail), The 3rd Alternative (Habits 4-6 in detail), Principle-Centred Leadership and later The 8th Habit (personal and interpersonal management and leadership in detail) and reading them all – and applying the learning – covers all the principles a manager, leader and individual needs to know in life. Not just for work, and not in terms of ‘do this, do that’. Technique and processes are situationally specific but the philosophy, understanding and execution of principles, as espoused in these books, apply everywhere all the time, and these books are where you come to realise this.

Some resist reading these books, and the original in particular, because they don’t understand what they are about, possibly because they are often mis-filed in bookshops as business books. They aren’t.

They are, without a dount in my experience and opinion, the most essential personal effectiveness books you will ever read.

Anyway, to assist you in realising this and in order to enhance my own deeper understanding, I am going to spend a lot of July writing about some of the 295 sentences in my notes.

Strap in, and maybe I will convince you, too.

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What the 7 Habits Did For Me.

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I came to the Seven Habits later than I’d have liked, but since they weren’t published until 1989 and I was already 37 years old that’s not really surprising. I discovered the book in 1995 after I’d read Stephen Covey’s time management epic First Things First and realised that I enjoyed his writing style and presentation as much as I did the content.

In retrospect the book changed me in many positive ways, ways I wish to put on record and ways that I would encourage others to explore, if not adopt. I won’t look at the Habits themselves, as that would lengthen this article too much. I’ll just focus on their effect.

In reading The Seven Habits (and Covey’s other works):

  • I discovered that people allow themselves to be influenced, even created by their surroundings, and that I could decide that my surroundings would not affect me. We are all Pavlov’s Dogs, if we allow that to happen.
  • I discovered that the best way to achieve anything is to put myself forward rather than rely on things to happen in a way that suits me.
  • I realised that now and then it is better to just say nothing rather than express an opinion that will upset someone else, especially when there was no perceivable positive outcome to such expression.
  • I discovered that what was being presented to me by others is frequently coloured, flowered with opinion rather than objectivity, and designed to tell me what they want me to think, rather than what is actually unbiased and true. It made me question everything rather than just accept. Professionally, it made me a better investigator.
  • I noticed just how much time and effort is wasted on ‘things done the way they’ve always been done’ and without proper, considered thought. It made me challenge demands on my time – some I won, some I lost, but all taught me new ways to approach people whose demands challenged me.
  • I stopped challenging processes until I truly understood their objective, thus recognising what worked and what didn’t, so that I could influence effective change.
  • I started to think about my future and started developing and executing a plan that made my desired outcomes come into being.
  • I found that reading the book, with its considered prose, well-argued observations and incredible wisdom, made me more intelligent. It made me want to seek more knowledge, higher-level qualifications and challenging opportunities.
  • I decided that I wanted to teach this to others, and so I sought out the experiences, training and opportunities to do so. I even funded its availability in my local comprehensive.
  • I recognised that I have made many, many mistakes, but that they do not define me.
  • And many mooooorrrreeeee.

In conclusion, reading that book arguably made me a more productive employee, parent, husband and trainer. Yes, I still make mistakes but it is usually despite my knowledge rather than because of it. The principles apply – it’s my failure to apply the principles (on occasion) that influenced my personal errors. And given Covey’s confession that even he had trouble with them, I can live with it.

The book has sold 40 million copies, has just been re-issued as a 30th anniversary edition, and still surprises me with my recognition of bits of information that tweak my knowledge of the material and how it applies to my life.

I really, emphatically and enthusiastically recommend it. If nothing else, reading it led to some truly impactive self-discovery and personal growth. The hardback costs less than 10 pints and has a longer-term effect.

Or you can choose beer. Make the better choice.

Habit 5 – The Bit We All Missed

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I have been studying Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits for a quarter of a century, as have many of those with whom I have connected on LinkedIn. The recent 30th Anniversary Edition hit my hallway floor last Saturday – actually, it hit the outside step as the delivery person stood safely distant –and I am deep within its pages again. I have already discovered a few missed nuggets. Including today.

Habit 5 – Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood – has been a familiar tenet in the corporate world, I am sure. I have read that chapter many times, and always sworn to try to apply it in testing or inquisitorial conversations. The book itself describes its use in many such instances, using examples from the perspective of the lives of individuals in their personal and working lives to illustrate how verbal conversations can be improved through application of the aforementioned Habit..

Today, I found a bit I missed and, according to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (if my experience is anything to go by), so have a lot of other people. And possibly the reason I missed it is because this nugget was detailed not in Habit 5’s chapter, but in Habit 7’s, on renewal.

He wrote about great literature that ‘(reading in various fields) can expand our paradigms and sharpen our mental saw, particularly if we practice Habit 5 as we read, and seek first to understand.

That was a AHA! moment. Or indeed a DUH! moment. I’d never thought about that, even if I’d exercised it. ‘Seek First to Understand what we READ’. It isn’t just a conversational model.

Realising that, and recognising its importance, led me to ask the question, “If people read the news with an enquiring rather than an assumptive mindset, would most of the rubbish on social media go away?’

Yes. People would read the allegations, check the facts, research any science or laws applicable, review the political past of the reporter/witness/commentator and eventually, perhaps, come to a less) emotional, ideological or ill-informed conclusion. And then shut the hell up.

(Of course, it might wind them up even more…..)

At the moment, we are witnessing a change in the reportage of the media. They have gone from just reporting, worked through and past analysis, and on to out-and-out commentary. Unfortunately, this is proving to be commentary without real, deep, objective or unbiased analysis.

It’s as if the middle bit is a bar to profit for the printed and commercial media, and a bar to fame and notoriety for the public-broadcaster’s employees who are all vying for a better position, or their own programme. The objective is no longer balanced reportage – it is fame and/or profit through a ‘shock-jock’ style approach..

(The last time newsreaders did something outside simple news-reading for fame, they dressed as sailors and did flick-flacks for Morecombe and Wise.)

Where have the Paul Foots and the Martin Bells and the Michael Buerks gone? They all reported injustice and societal disasters without the need for constant personal attack or self-importance. Even the famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward now seems to be left-biased, and only appears when the right is to be attacked. (I would’ve said criticised but they’ve all gone way past that.)

But more to my point – why have we, the public, stopped putting in the effort and started to just accept what is thrown at us by the media without asking ‘Is this true, exaggerated, misunderstood or made up?’ Why have we omitted that step and then just lost our sanity and sense of calm over what we have not checked is worth that effort?

Habit 5 – Seek First To Understand is a sensible, reasoned, objective and intellectually satisfying approach to news, documentaries and other sources of information. The counter to Habit 5, Seeking First to Assume, makes an – well, you know.

Don’t be one of those.

Unconscious competence is the place to be. Or so you’d think.

You all know the model, credited to Martin M Broadwell  on 1969 as the earliest explainer of the concept. How we start at unconscious incompetence (not knowing what we don’t know), to conscious incompetence (knowing what we need to know), through conscious competence (knowing and thinking about what we’re doing) before the formerly acknowledged top level of unconscious competence, when we can do what we do without thinking about it.

(Of course, when Republican Vice-President Dick Cheney explained that to the inherently biased left-wing media, they displayed their ignorance by taking the mick.)

We tend to prize the level of unconscious competence because it implies we have transcended the intellect, that we are so good we don’t need to focus attention on the competence, and that we are at the flow level, executing to the highest degree.

Wrong.

If we settle at unconscious competence being the best we can be, we stifle our personal growth because we have settled, in our minds, any debt we feel to get even better.

No, the top level (and this is supported by Dr Stephen Covey, Leadership Expert) is conscious competence. And it is also the hardest.

Why is that? It is because it could be argued that TRUE conscious competence IS conscious incompetence.

And no-one wants to admit to incompetence, surely?

Look at conscious competence like this. It means three things – first that we know what to do something and how to do it, but also why to do it, why it works. And thirdly, how to explain and/or teach it to other people. Marvellous.

But the higher level, surely, must be the ability to look at what we are doing and develop new ways of thinking about it and new ways to execute, or even finding new uses for what we’re doing. That’s a whole level of thinking that is higher than unconscious competence, which is something rats can do when they go a-huntin’. That requires awareness that there is something better – which is knowledge yet to be obtained.

The reason that conscious competence is so hard is because all too often we know what to do and why to do it, can teach it and want to do it – but won’t.

If you consider a specific skill, then conscious competence is easy. Take widget, turn crank, ta-daaa.

But in terms of holistic living, not so much.

Example? People know smoking is bad and could stop – but don’t. People who feel really bad after a drinking binge – and do it every weekend. Overweight people who know exercise is good for them – but if they could, would park their cars in their office or living room rather than walk the length of a car park.

You see, those four intellectual levels of learning apply just as much to ‘being’ as they do to performing. And while being able to teach that stuff shows great competence, knowing what you’re not doing and then really, consciously doing it is the best way forward.

Incongruence cost me – don’t let it cost you.

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Ever done something you wish you hadn’t? Ever spoken down to someone when you didn’t mean to? Ever knowingly broken a rule, then regretted it? Ever judged a situation at a time of emotional disquiet, acted accordingly and then realised you had it wrong and always did – but let your emotion rule your thinking?

I’ve done most, if not all of those. And in each case, the fault lay within my acquiescing to the deed because I wasn’t wholly acting congruently – that is, either with my own values or (and this is important) the stated values of the organisation for which I was working. I may not have agreed wholeheartedly with those values but I should have accepted and complied with them. Silly me.

In lesser circumstances, the lack of integrity had short term results – poorer relationships that meant reluctance to engage with someone when I really needed to do so. Phone calls being put off, visits being postponed, and so on.

In the worst case, I felt I had to leave my job. Not entirely because of the offending act but because of the untenable situation it left me in. Nevertheless, the time management/productivity consequence of my failure to act with congruence was no job to manage or to be congruent about.

In TimePower, Charles R. Hobbs discussed how a lack of personal integrity – which I never thought was different to professional integrity but my job loss suggests otherwise! – causes problems not just in the productivity sense but also in terms of our own sense of self-esteem.

(I’ve known people use the term ‘personal self-esteem‘. What other kind of self-esteem could there be?)

When we fail to meet our own standards we tend to dwell on that failure. I’m not talking about failure in the sporting sense. If we didn’t fail to win at sports, no-one else would, either. To paraphrase Ziglar, if someone didn’t come second the winner wouldn’t have been first, they’d have been ‘only’. I’m talking about the kind of failure that our conscience tells us is our own damn fault.

In other words, failing to act with integrity – congruence with our personal beliefs or those we have adopted – wastes time in self-examination, further self-doubt, lack of self-confidence and, potentially, a whole host of other things that stop us doing, effectively, what we are supposed to be doing.

Now ‘retired’, I find that my biggest regret isn’t the lost money I would have earned, but the inability to do the work I had the opportunity to do. And the realisation that even when I wasn’t happy at work, I could have been. Which is an odd thing to write about stressful work but it’s true. I now have less to manage my time about, and less of a need to have high professional standards.

Which isn’t to say I won’t have high amateur standards!

Of course, some lucky people have no personal or professional values, so their integrity can float around complying with anything it likes, so they never fracture their self-esteem.

And do you realise just how much you can’t trust those people?

In conclusion, therefore, I encourage you to spend time identifying your values fully, then decide whether you’ve complied with them so far and then how you’re going to be congruent with them from now on. That’s NOW ON, not ‘in the future’, which is a bit nebulous. If you need help in doing that, it is available HERE. At no cost.

It IS worth the effort, and NOW is the time.

Are your habits making or breaking you?

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This has been reproduced from the internet. Unfortunately the original author hasn’t been identified, and is frequently stated to be that prolific philosopher, Anon.

Enjoy

The Habit Poem

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?

I am a HABIT!

 

What Habits do you have that serve you best – and worst?

And what are YOU going to do about the latter?

Start today. Start NOW.