The next part is about principles of personal vision. Vision is very important in life. Henry David Thoreau said “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. You see the fact that you have the ability of self awareness is what separates us from any other living creature on the earth. Take a second to vision that you are floating in the corner of the room, and that you are looking down at yourself right now. You can look at yourself and think about how your mind is working.
This is a very important part of our self paradigm. We need to understand how we think about ourselves so that we can truly understand other people and how they fell about themselves. If we don’t understand how we think about our selves through self-awareness than we may simply be projecting what we want on other people’s behavior and not even know that we are not coming from an objective point of view.
Dr Covey goes on to explain how this relates to real life in what he calls the social mirror. He relates the social mirror to the fun house at a carnival with a bunch of different mirror. That is because it’s not just you projecting you own thoughts, perceptions and paradigms on other people, but also them them projecting their thoughts on you as well.
Also, notice the word projecting and not reflecting. Rarely do people reflect. Most of the time they project things. Some of the examples of this are- you’re never on time, you eat like a horse, I can’t believe you won, you always say that. We all know when we look at these statement that many people use are not truthful. Dr Covey says it best, “They are often more projections than reflections, projecting the concerns and character weaknesses of people giving the input rather than accurately reflecting what we are.”
So, if we look at the Social Paradigm, it tells us that we are largely predetermined if not completely predetermined to the world around us. Now, were not, but if we study look into each one of these determinism theories that are widely accepted the social paradigm tells us that we are.
The first one is Genetic Determinism- Most of us know what Genetics are. This tells us that we are already determined by our genetics. It’s in our DNA. Were a happy person because it’s already in the genetics, or we are violent because it is already in there. Here is one you may recognize from this determinism- “You’re Jewish and that is why you are so tight with money”
The second of the three is Psychic Determinism- This is how you were raised. Whoever raised you deeply embedded your character inside you by how you were treated. Every time they punished you or praised you shaped your character.
The third of the three are Environmental Determinism-This is a big one today. Something in your environment, or the world around you, determined your nature. It could be because of you live in a place that is cold outside a big part of the year. It could be because you have a surplus of money, or in the negative. It could be the government you live by and the laws that are enforced.
We need to look at these things that are widely accepted and ask a few questions. Are we already determined beyond our control. Are we already determined to respond a certain way to the things around us. Zig Zigler would usually say weather we believe we are or we aren’t were generally right.
Dr Covey gives an account of a man that was imprisoned in the Nazi camps in Germany. This man had already had everyone in his family killed in the gas chambers except his sister. He suffered things so horrific that it would be inhumane to mention them, and continued to suffer on a daily basis. A lot of people would have given up. They would have laid down to die. Not this man. He learned that no one could take what he calls “the last of the human freedoms”. No one can take what you have in your mind. He kept expanding his mind and visioning himself outside of the camp teaching and helping other people that he eventually he had more freedom than the guards did. He became a great inspiration to many people and even some of the guards were coming to them with their problems for help.
Think about that for a second. All this man went through, he has nothing and people were coming to him for help. They were looking to him for inspiration. He helped many other prisoners find meaning in their lives. He could have just as easily gave up. He had the ability to respond. He wasn’t predetermined to respond a certain way. Dr. Covey says “Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.
It’s not only independent will or ability to respond that makes us different than all other living creatures on the earth. Self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independent will combined make us unique and different. By these things people can progress in leaps and bounds. By these things we were given dominion over all the other things on the face of the earth. We do not respond like all the other creatures that are predetermined by the type of stimulus. As Stephen Covey points out here that since this is what makes us uniquely human it is our greatest power. The ability to choose a response.
In the next part we will continue with Value From The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and get into what it means to be proactive which is the first habit of highly effective people.
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