As I started reading more into Dr. Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people” I started to realize that there is a lot of this book that isn’t even about the 7 habits. The first of the seven habits doesn’t even start until page 63. That is a large portion of this book is about getting us to understand what these seven habits are for, and how they can help us all in our personal and professional life.
In the first video we talked about what a paradigm is, and also what a paradigm shift is. If you need to please go back and read that article or simply watch that video first. Now we are going to get into an overview of the seven habits.
Stephen Covey begins this chapter with a quote from Aristotle. He says “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. What are we doing everyday? Are we working on expanding our mind? Trying to build our relationships with the right people. Exactly what good and bad habits do we have everyday so we can take out the trash, or bad habits and nourish and work on the good habits.
In order to create a new habit we must know how it starts. Again this starts in the mind. On the inside. We have to have three things to make a habit. First the knowledge which is defined as what to do, and why. Then we must have the skill to do it, and last we must have the desire to it, or motivation to make it habitual.
A good example of this is people that want to start a new business. Now, to start a new business or venture you are going to have to create some new habits in order to get started, and to make the business succeed. Many people would like to do this. They dream about it and sometime say one day I’m gonna, but it never happens. They don’t have all three parts to create this new habit of actually going out and pursuing the new business. Maybe they had what they wanted to do down, and why they wanted to do it, but maybe they stopped because they didn’t have the skill to do it. They didn’t know what to do.
Now some people can have all three of these things in place for a short time but that doesn’t make them habits. For instance, I knew a man that would blow his money on anything. It didn’t matter what it was he would blow it. If you didn’t catch him on payday he was broke. 99% of the time he didn’t have money but he had all kinds of useless things. One day the utility company comes knocking on the door and gave him a disconnect notice. Now, he knows he already spent his paycheck and could not get the money together. So he got on the phone and called the utility company and argued with them for some time that he did not have the $230 for utilities that they were asking for. They told him time and again “sir if you don’t have the money by tomorrow at 9am we are shutting off your utilities, and by the way it’s only 16 degrees outside. This guy didn’t know what to do. He went to bed that night brainstorming and trying to come up with some way to get the money. By morning time he had it. He came up with a way to hustle up $230 dollars because all three things were in place. One he knew what he wanted to do and why, he figured out a skill to obtain it, and he absolutely had motivation to do it. If you go outside in 16 degree weather you will find a way to get warm.
The thing about this story is that if he would be facing that same condition day in and day out this man would find a way to come up with this money every day. He would make it a habit to not blow his money because he would want to stay warm.
I want you to look at your own life. Are there some good habits that you would like to keep? Are there some areas in you life that you know if you improve with simple daily habits you could achieve some dream or goal that you have been putting off?
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