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This will be an absolute, unashamed plug. But it has an X-Factor style back story about me.

In the early 1990s I read a book. I have, admittedly, read some more since then. In the mid-1990s, I threw what those in my former profession called a ‘double-six’, which is an inexplicable euphemism for losing it emotionally and doing something that exhibits the point at which a straw broke your camel’s back. In my case, and I really didn’t see it coming, I broke down in tears in front of one of the best, most understanding supervisors I ever had the honour to serve. I suspect he was as surprised as I was. Evidently, a build up of stress factors over a period of time just hit me and I suffered an emotional collapse.

Traditionally, when this happens to coppers they have 6 months off, see the doctor for some pills, and later debate with their friends who has the highest dosage of said pills. Which is not a judgment on whether or not they were suffering from stress, because they invariably were. It is just a statement based on my experience of my colleagues’ response to it. Absence, medication, discussion. Standard procedure.

In my case I left work at the start of the shift during which it happened, had the following shift off, then after a three day weekend was back for my morning shift on the Monday. Two workdays lost, a weekend off as per the rota, and back.

One might suggest I wasn’t really stressed. Well, I don’t cry easily. I am/was a macho, rooftop-chasin’, car-chasin’, door-kickin’ kind of guy. So tears at lunchtime suggest a breakdown.

What ‘sorted’ my depression for me was not drugs. It was application of what I’d learned in the aforementioned book. It espoused taking control of events by using the gap between stimulus and response to decide, consciously, deliberately, in a considered way what, exactly, to do about the event. I took my family to dinner, decided what changes I felt I needed the job to make in my regard and, with that clarity, sought and got it.

Never lost it again. I’ve suffered some severe cr4p since then but it’s never brought me to tears or caused a lay-off.

On the 9th of March 2020, the 30th Anniversary Edition of that book will be released. It’s been updated, and if the font size remains the same there’ll be an extra 120 pages of ‘stuff’ in it. I’m already pumped and waiting to buy it.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012), amended by his son Sean.

If you want an intelligent, profound and systematic take on effective living that doesn’t dictate what you should do but focuses on how it is you who decides what and how you need to do things, this is it.

I’ve read tons of stuff. Anthony Robbins, Ziglar, Tracy, Sinek, and others. They all provide great advice on how to get what you want.

But every time I think about ‘life’ and consider ‘doing’ what these writers promote, I find that I always come back to the wisdom – and the book – that Stephen Covey gave me. And if the book blurb is true, 50,000,000 suspect the same.

Go on. Treat yourself. Buy a book that I can assure you from experience, really is life-changing.


Yep. Shook his hand……