Sunday, January 18, 2009

Be Proactive- Habit 1

To truly enter into "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", I believed it was necessary to take the recommendations of Stephen Covey to heart. Most importantly, the suggestion was to be proactive for 30 days. I am at day 17 of process, and it has been great.

In reading this "National Best Seller" I am struck by how it compares to other well known books, like "The Power of Now", by Eckhart Tolle. Covey says we must work on our being, on what we can be. To say, "I can be more patient" is much more powerful than making excuses.

This is one way to explain what living in the now is like. We are constantly making decisions. Covey points out that self-awareness in the decision making process is key to being proactive. This self-awareness allows us to choose our actions and choose them in the context of the ever present now.

Beyond the power of now (our self-awareness), Covey discusses three other "endowments" that contribute to our ability to choose. We have imagination, conscience, and independent will. Defined, they are:
  1. Imagination- the ability to create in our minds beyond our present reality.
  2. Conscience- a deep inner awareness of right and wrong, of the principles that govern our behavior, and a sense of the degree to which our thoughts and actions are in harmony with them.
  3. Independent will- the ability to act based on our self-awareness, free of all other influences.
With these endowments in mind, Covey says, "... Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions." In one sense, our fundamental conditions never change. We always have the power to choose our response to any situation. Tolle describes this ability to choose as the power of now. Of course, our life is filled with mistakes as we try to make the best decisions. Covey acknowledges this reality and gives the following insight:
The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it... Our response to any mistake affects the quality of the next moment. It is important to immediately admit and correct our mistakes so that they have no power over that next moment and we are empower again.
With this guide in hand, we can start now in the journey to be proactive, a challenge to make decisions in the now, guided by our imagination, conscience, independent will and with commitment to acknowledge mistakes, correct them, and learn from them.

Let's be proactive.

40 comments:

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