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A New Level of Thinking

Albert Einstein observed, "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of

thinking we were at when we created them.

As we look around us and within us and recognize the problems created as we live and interact

within the personality ethic, we begin to realize that these are deep, fundamental problems that cannot

be solved on the superficial level on which they were created.

We need a new level, a deeper level of thinking -- a paradigm based on the principles that accurately

describe the territory of effective human being and interacting -- to solve these deep concerns.

This new level of thinking is what Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is about. It's a

principle-centered, character-based, "Inside-Out" approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

"Inside-Out" means to start first with self; even more fundamentally, to start with the most inside part of self -- with your paradigms, your character, and your motives.

It says if you want to have a happy marriage, be the kind of person who generates positive energy

and sidesteps negative energy rather than empowering it. If you want to have a more pleasant,

cooperative teenager, be a more understanding, empathic, consistent, loving parent. If you want to

have more freedom, more latitude in your job, be a more responsible, a more helpful, a more

contributing employee. If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy. If you want the secondary

greatness of recognized talent, focus first on primary greatness of character.

The Inside-Out approach says that Private Victories TM precede Public Victories TM, that making

and keeping promises to ourselves precedes making and keeping promises to others. It says it is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving

ourselves.

Inside-Out is a process -- a continuing process of renewal based on the natural laws that govern

human growth and progress. It's an upward spiral of growth that leads to progressively higher forms

of responsible independence and effective interdependence.

I have had the opportunity to work with many people -- wonderful people, talented people, people

who deeply want to achieve happiness and success, people who are searching, people who are hurting.

I've worked with business executives, college students, church and civic groups, families and marriage

partners. And in all of my experience, I have never seen lasting solutions to problems, lasting

happiness and success, that came from the outside in.

What I have seen result from the outside-in paradigm is unhappy people who feel victimized and

immobilized, who focus on the weaknesses of other people and the circumstances they feel are

responsible for their own stagnant situation. I've seen unhappy marriages where each spouse wants

the other to change, where each is confessing the other's "sins," where each is trying to shape up the other. I've seen labor management disputes where people spend tremendous amounts of time and



energy trying to create legislation that would force people to act as though the foundation of trust were really there.

Members of our family have lived in three of the "hottest" spots on earth -- South Africa, Israel, and Ireland -- and I believe the source of the continuing problems in each of these places has been the

dominant social paradigm of outside-in. Each involved group is convinced the problem is "out there"

and if "they" (meaning others) would "shape up" or suddenly "ship out" of existence, the problem would be solved.

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE Brought to you by FlyHeart Inside-Out is a dramatic Paradigm Shift for most people, largely because of the powerful impact of

conditioning and the current social paradigm of the personality ethic.

But from my own experience -- both personal and in working with thousands of other people -- and

from careful examination of successful individuals and societies throughout history, I am persuaded

that many of the principles embodied in the Seven Habits are already deep within us, in our conscience

and our common sense. To recognize and develop them and to use them in meeting our deepest

concerns, we need to think differently, to shift our paradigms to a new, deeper, "Inside-Out" level.

As we sincerely seek to understand and integrate these principles into our lives, I am convinced we

will discover and rediscover the truth of T. S. Eliot's observation:

We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we

began and to know the place for the first time.

 

The Seven Habits -- An Overview

 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

-- Aristotl

 

Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits. "Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny," the maxim goes.

Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns,

they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness or ineffectiveness.

As Horace Mann, the great educator, once said, "Habits are like a cable. We weave a strand of it

everyday and soon it cannot be broken." I personally do not agree with the last part of his expression.

I know they can be broken. Habits can be learned and unlearned. But I also know it isn't a quick fix.

It involves a process and a tremendous commitment.

Those of us who watched the lunar voyage of Apollo 11 were transfixed as we saw the first men

walk on the moon and return to earth. Superlatives such as "fantastic" and "incredible" were inadequate to describe those eventful days. But to get there, those astronauts literally had to break out of the tremendous gravity pull of the earth. More energy was spent in the first few minutes of lift-off, in the first few miles of travel, than was used over the next several days to travel half a million miles.

Habits, too, have tremendous gravity pull -- more than most people realize or would admit.

Breaking deeply imbedded habitual tendencies such as procrastination, impatience, criticalness, or

selfishness that violate basic principles of human effectiveness involves more than a little willpower and a few minor changes in our lives. "Lift off" takes a tremendous effort, but once we break out of the gravity pull, our freedom takes on a whole new dimension.

Like any natural force, gravity pull can work with us or against us. The gravity pull of some of our

habits may currently be keeping us from going where we want to go. But it is also gravity pull that

keeps our world together, that keeps the planets in their orbits and our universe in order. It is a

powerful force, and if we use it effectively, we can use the gravity pull of habit to create the

cohesiveness and order necessary to establish effectiveness in our lives.

 

"Habits" Defined

 

For our purposes, we will define a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.

Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the what to do and the why. Skill is the how to do. And

desire is the motivation, the want to do. In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to

have all three.

THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE Brought to you by FlyHeart I may be ineffective in my interactions with my work associates, my spouse, or my children because

I constantly tell them what I think, but I never really listen to them. Unless I search out correct

principles of human interaction, I may not even know I need to listen.

Even if I do know that in order to interact effectively with others I really need to listen to them, I

may not have the skill. I may not know how to really listen deeply to another human being.

But knowing I need to listen and knowing how to listen is not enough. Unless I want to listen,

unless I have the desire, it won't be a habit in my life. Creating a habit requires work in all three

dimensions.

The being/seeing change is an upward process -- being changing, seeing, which in turn changes

being, and so forth, as we move in an upward spiral of growth. By working on knowledge, skill, and

desire, we can break through to new levels of personal and interpersonal effectiveness as we break with

old paradigms that may have been a source of pseudo-security for years.

It's sometimes a painful process. It's a change that has to be motivated by a higher purpose, by the

willingness to subordinate what you think you want now for what you want later. But this process

produces happiness, "the object and design of our existence." Happiness can be defined, in part at least, as the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually.

 


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 1087


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