FOOD FOR THOUGHT – 6 EFFECTIVE HABITS

Life is short. So live… love…
learn… and pay it forward. I seek meaningful experience through mindfulness
each day, to walk peacefully within myself, to win the respect of intelligent
people and the affection of cats, to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends, to enjoy art and beauty, to find the
best in others, to leave the world enriched through my contributions, and to
know that others have lived easier because of me.
1. BE RESPONSIBLE. BE PROACTIVE. THE HABIT OF
PERSONAL VISION.
I have the ability to choose my own
response. I carry my own weather – whether it rains or shines makes no
difference to me. See the world with new eyes by knowing that my honor is
greater than my moods. BY GROUNDING my
emotional life not on the moods or weaknesses of others, but upon my
self-chosen values, my behavior is a product of my own conscious choices based
on principles, rather than a product of my conditions, based on feelings. Focus
time and energy on things I can control (circle of influence) in lieu of
reacting to or worrying about conditions over which I have little or no control
(circle of concern). In so doing, I become RESPONSE-ABLE.
And by practicing this habit, who I am is not determined by what happens to me,
but by how I choose to respond to it.
2.  BEGIN WITH
THE END IN MIND
. THE HABIT OF PERSONAL LEADERSHIP.
Without VISION, I diminish. All things are created twice: the mental or
first creation, and the physical or second creation. The second creation
follows from the first, just as a building follows from a blueprint. If I fail
to develop my own SELF-AWARENESS and become
responsible for first creations, I empower other people and circumstances to
shape my life by default. So begin each day with the blueprint of my deepest
values firmly in mind. Then as challenges come, make decisions BASED
on those values. The busiest people are often the least effective; BUSYNESS
is common to those trapped in Q1 & Q3 instead of Q2, where Habits 1,2, 3
are grounded. Lead a life centered on the principles of QUALITY, patience, authenticity, WONDER,
mindfulness, selfknowledge, and comport myself as an archetype gentleman
scholar.
3.  PUT FIRST
THINGS FIRST
. THE HABIT OF PERSONAL MANAGEMENT.
The key is to schedule my
priorities, not to prioritize my schedule. Therefore, do the important things
first – because where you are headed is more important than how fast you are
going. SAY NO
TO THE UNIMPORTANT
, no matter how urgent, and yes to the important. Also,
don’t confuse the vital for the important: money (or whatever) might be vital,
but one need not make it their whole life. Remember that frustration is a
function of our expectations, not our realizations. So trade crises for
progress by focusing on things that are truly important. When I put first
things first, I don’t just do things differently – I do DIFFERENT THINGS.
 THE HABIT OF
COMMUNICATION.
[Relationships succeed here.] To
fully, deeply understand another is to listen with the eyes and the heart,
which inspires openness and trust. Give others PSYCHOLOGICAL
AIR
by listening to understand their perspective, avoiding autobiographical
responses, and by letting them finish their sentences. Empathic listening
within the other’s frame of reference opens me to be influenced. The paradox is
that in order to have influence, I must first be influenced. HUMBLE myself by acknowledging that I can be
unenthusiastic, impulsive, undisciplined, pessimistic, and an impatient
listener. Then strive to transform those same weaknesses into strengths. Always
be loyal to the absent – always. Like food, less talk is actually more.
5.  SYNERGIZE.
THE HABIT OF CREATIVE COOPERATION/TEAMWORK. POTENTIAL.
[Relationships flourish here.]
Synergy is the culmination of all the previous habits. Synergy uses differences
to build unforeseen strengths. Left to our own experiences, we constantly
suffer from insufficient data. Compromise, which seeks only an end, is 1+1=1½,
whereas synergy, which seeks a new beginning, makes 1+1=3, 4, or more. Value
differences (respect them!) to build on strengths and compensate for
weaknesses. Different perspectives INFORM
my knowledge and expand my experience. This is done by realizing that people
see the world not as it is, but as they are [conditioned to see it]. Be
sensitive to others’ mental maps (paradigms) which have been constructed to
this point in their life with their own
experiences.
6.  SHARPEN THE
SAW
. THE HABIT OF SELF-RENEWAL.
Spend one hour each day renewing
and enhancing the greatest asset I have – myself – through the physical,
spiritual, mental and social/emotional dimensions of my nature. Success has two
sides: production capability (PC), and production (P). Without the renewal of
PC, P begins to diminish, and eventually perishes. RECOGNIZE my strengths daily, reaching for new ones. REMEMBER what is important in life is
learning, health, purpose, conformity to my own uniqueness, temperance, and
inner peace. Learning will always return meaning and energy to my effort, so
I’m never alone with a great book. 
By Zaine Ridling, PH.D.
From 7 habits of highly effective people

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