I don’t know about you, but challenging the structure we have for our habits, good or bad, can feel like trying to make ice cream in the sun; the ice cream is the goal, however the process needs some improving. Habits hold you in a zone, when it comes to the prospect of change. As a learned action, the choices all around you, impact progress in life; where you live, what you own, where you go, what you eat, what you do and when, just so many levels of choices guiding our life. With our choices, it would be nice to think we make the best ones for ourselves, and those that rely on us.
We are responsible for what happens in our lives, and according to Stephen R. Corvey, and his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, habit 1, Be Proactive, puts our first foot in the door to creating a better future and self. Every moment is an opportunity for living experiences, for things to improve, or to flounder. Being a proactive person, rather than a reactive person, coming to terms with accepting blame for what has held us back, gone wrong, or could go wrong; we control our lives by our behaviors, actions, thoughts, and the direction we took in life. We take responsibility for where and what we are.
Our choices control the future stimuli towards our potential growth, or lack there of, ties us to our unending and inhibiting reality. Habit 2, Begin with the end in mind, is seeing what you want, and saying ‘Yes I can’. Not thinking about dreams, inspirations, wants, needs, anything we don’t currently posses, leaves us reacting to our lives, influenced by the people and environment around us.
The change of focus in habit 1, grasping the mindset to make changes, builds the reality that goals are achievable with habit 2, Begin with the end in mind. We all want to find a way to achieve our dreams, and imagination is key when we envision what the end looks like. A good strategy to embark on your journey is to sit down and write things out, for proof this is what you want, and to visually see it, making it even more real. By experiencing acceptance for our own responsibilities (1), and then mentally creating what we envision as our end goals (2), we have to derive a way to make these things happen with habit 3, Put first things first. How do we start making things happen? The first thing is to realize that it is okay not to do everything all the time, we are not super humans; over exhausting, stretching ourselves thin, worrying about everything kills our strength and will to make things happen, let alone changes that could take us from our comfort zones. Taking action slowly, prioritizing day-by-day, moment-by-moment, and understanding that changes are gradual, helps us stand from the loaded down crawl we take on.
Nothing is a quick fix, but with three habits down, each building on the other to be stronger, we are more at ease and motivated when we reach habit 4, Think win-win. We connect with our personal self worth through our actions, but what we forget, is that other people can be affected by our choices to succeed with our goals. Succeeding is not a game where someone wins and someone looses, as win/lose thoughts are based on competition and being ahead of other; where habit 4 is based on a cooperative forum, mutually seeking benefits for all involved. This frame of mind and heart, is an approach that requires Integrity, Maturity, and Abundance Mentality, sharing the pie rather than taking as much as you can, is a balance of your own courage and strength, and consideration for others.
Look, learn and listen, something no human does without. Our entire lives are built on those three words as we grow up; it helps form what we become. For the most part, looking and learning is accomplished daily through our interaction and experiences, but for many of us, listening is a struggle, as we all want to share about ourselves. Most people listen to reply, rather than listen to understand. This is our habit 5, Seek first to understand, then to be understood. We filter our communicating habits through our experiences and level of attention. It varies in different autobiographical responses such as evaluating, probing, advising and interpreting, when listening to others. People will surprise you if you really listen and try understanding that our differences make us stronger. Listen with an unbiased perspective, you will hear more than just words waiting for you to jump in.
Our habit 6, Synergize, builds on our differences and uniqueness. Being genuine and open to others influences, allows our differences to become strengths for one and all, unity versus uniformity. Our being is physical and mental, social/emotional, and spiritual, and all parts equal who you are, so why ignore that in others? The best asset is differences, but sometimes our best asset begins to breakdown after long hauls; burning out, weaknesses to our body, our choices become harder and harder to keep positive. In many areas of our lives it creates discomfort, unless we recharge our batteries. Habit 7, Sharpen the Saw, embraces recharging our systems. Continuing to practice the other 6 habits, will keep you looking forward and face the new day with anticipation of achieving your goals. For without destinations, we drift.