A couple of weeks ago, I decided to return to the beginning. I have bought a new copy of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, one of the first books that put me on the self-development path, got me really interested in the personal and interpersonal psychology.
I am reading it as I used to read most books: from the foreword and introduction towards the end, page by page. As a person completed PhotoReading personal learning course, I know that this way is neither effective in the time investment, nor helps me to retain the information: the “traditional” style of reading takes considerably more time and by the end of the chapter the reader tends to remember its contents only vaguely. But I am not just searching for quick answers to the questions I have. For me, it is more important to be exposed to the text over continuous period of time, to feel my way through it and to let insights appear and be noticed. Additionally, I have this strange feeling of satisfaction when I finish the book without skipping anything substantial.
In the first chapters of the book, Stephen Covey sets the stage for the main part by introducing the main concepts and connections between them. Just before diving into the 7 principles in detail, he makes a suggestion to read the book as if we are going to share it with someone. Better yet, go on and share what we will be reading and learning with others. Because, as we all probably know, the best way to understand some ideas is to teach them to others. Sharing forces us to discover gaps in the acquired information, build the logical connections between separate parts of new knowledge, as well as support it with our existing experiences… and sometimes, it helps us to go even deeper than we expected when another person asks us a question which gives us a new perspective on the subject, thus expanding our worldviews.
While I am not sure with whom and how I could discuss the knowledge of 7 Habits, I decided to start immediately by sharing a few things here on LikzLife. I don’t want to set myself up for failure by promising that I will document all the steps I am taking and all the insights I receive while reading the book, or even that I will eventually share the main ideas from the whole book… but I can see the value in doing it. Anyway, for now a few things from the first chapters of the book. I will state the information in factual form to avoid multiple “Covey says” or “it is stated in the book that”, and also to practice it this way – normally I tend to overdo the citations and references.
Our paradigm defines how we see the world. It consists of a set of beliefs that serve for filtering and interpretation of incoming information, for assigning certain meanings to facts and events around us. Our paradigm is founded on our previous life experiences, it is shaped by our environment, our relationships, our knowledge and skills. Thus, it is completely natural that two different people can have substantially different paradigms, and tend to interpret the same facts in totally different ways.
The day-to-day interaction with the world is accomplished through our paradigm. In this sense, it can be compared to a pair of glasses. You can wear magnifying glasses, or colorful glasses, or sunglasses, and they will influence the picture of the world as you see it in a certain way. But the world itself does not change when you choose to wear a different pair of glasses.
The paradigm that is proposed by the book is the one based on principles. Principles are unchanging concepts that show the “right” way of making decisions, the way which enables sustainable growth and development. Examples of principles are courage, fairness, support. It is also fairly easy to spot false principles: for example, it is hard to imagine a successful and fulfilling lifestyle which is based on lies, egoism, manipulation, etc.
P/PC balance is a state or a way of living which devotes sufficient time and attention both for production (P) and production capabilities (PC). The person who maintains a healthy P/PC balance develops his knowledge and skills, takes the time for rest and recreation, for keeping all the tools in the proper condition, while also devoting sufficient time and energy to using this knowledge, skills, and tools in constructive ways to create value, to help others, to solve some real problem and accomplish some real task. In contrast, unbalanced people focus on one of the sides, either working crazy hours for achievement of the results (P) while ignoring rest (PC) and getting burned out, or by spending all the time on gathering information, training and preparation (PC) without ever applying it to create something (P). It is obvious that both sides of this balance are essential for the long-term success.
And that is the piece of knowledge I wanted to share with you today. I realize that this first trial is probably far from being a clear, concise and sufficient presentation of these concepts, but I would like to put it up here for multiple reasons.
If you are curious to learn more or don’t understand a part of the text above, please write your question in the comments below!