Because I’ve been driving back and forth from Corvallis to Portland so much lately to attend to my mother and cousin, I’ve had ample to time to listen to audiobooks. I find that I’m actually grateful for the opportunity to “read” in this fashion. (Like many folks, the past decade has destroyed my attention span and ability to read for long periods.)
I’m currently reading Stephen R. Covey’s classic The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. (Five stars on Amazon in 5672 reviews!) I read the book once long, long ago — sometime during the mid-1990s. I’ve referred to it now and then as the years have gone by, but mostly I’ve forgotten its lessons.
Or so I thought.
In reality, it turns out that much of my personal philosophy is similar to the precepts Covey covers. It’s shocking, in fact, just how much of my personal and financial philosophies align with those presented in Seven Habits. I haven’t consciously or deliberately emulated his teachings, but I’ve wound up in the same place nonetheless.
For those unfamiliar, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are as follows:
- Be proactive. Take responsibility for your own life. Take the initiative and don’t simply accept what you’re given. (Here are my thoughts on becoming proactive.)
- Begin with the end in mind. Have a plan for your life. Know where you want to go — and why. Like me, Covey is a proponent of writing a personal mission statement.
- Put first things first. Sort out your priorities (which is much easier to do when you have an end in mind). Focus your attention on the things that are urgent and important. Covey’s “big rocks” metaphor comes from this section.
- Think win-win. When possible, seek mutually beneficial solutions to problems. Don’t be adversarial. Help others achieve their aims as you achieve yours.
- Seek first to undertand, then to be understood. Don’t be in a rush to be right. Listen to what others are saying. (Truly listen.) Practice empathy. I feel like this is a seldom-practiced skill in modern society, which is why I urge people to practice financial empathy.
- Synergize. Find ways to work with others in order to achieve mutual aims and accomplish things that you couldn’t do alone.
- Sharpen the saw. Make time for personal renewal. Keep your lifestyle balanced. Pursue self-improvement.