Analysis - Seven Habits

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Analysis and Thoughts by Christopher Larson



The Maturity Continuum - 
This concept resonated with me. Summarized, the idea is that maturity and eventual effectiveness results from progressing in this maturity continuum: from dependence to independence, and from there to interdependence.

Dependence is relying on other people. Dependence is when your reactions and behaviors are based off of the actions and behaviors of others. Comparatively, physical dependence is as if I am in a wheelchair and I need my wife to dress me every morning.

Independence is progressing to a state where you are completely your own person. The actions of other people do not affect me; I can be in a good mood despite people being unpleasant. Stephen R. Covey described it as "carrying your own weather," meaning, even if the rainstorms come and hail is tearing your umbrella, it still does not matter because you make your own weather that is completely independent. Comparatively, physical independence is as to being healthy and mobile with no assistance.

Interdependence is the final stage of the maturity continuum. One must be independent before one can be interdependent. Interdependence is realizing that working together with other independent people will get you further than you could ever get by yourself. Comparatively, physical interdependence is as to a Spartan Race that I ran in with some good friends in high school. There were some obstacles that we could not get past if we did not have each other to help in lifting or weighing down certain obstacles.

The P/PC Balance
Covey proposed an idea he coined the P/PC balance. P stands for production, and PC stands for production capability. Balance between these two assets means running at an optimal balance among both putting in and getting out.

One can easily become fixated one one or another, especially on production. One thing I often see is people becoming obsessed with their income. I had an experience while teaching in Thailand that opened my eyes to this concept. A friend of mine asked a personal favor that I speak to a small group of kids that she tutored at a local library. During one point in the exercise, I asked them "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Of the eleven kids (aged 12-18), nine responded simply, "Rich!"

Seeing all those kids answer so vainly hurt my heart. I'd also point out that of the two that did not answer like the nine, one of them said famous.

Too often, we disrupt the P/PC balance. We let the intense desire to gain something destroy the future potential to gain that thing. Sometimes we do it out of laziness, as when we do not give regular care to our car. If we run the motor until the oil is black and the coolant is exhausted, our P/C potential (future ability to drive) has been destroyed by our negligent usage (P).

The Gate of Change
Covey opened one paragraph with a quote from Marilyn Ferguson: "No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened by the inside." How true this is! Trying to force the bringing about of change in other people will only be met with resistance and contempt if that change is not desired on their part.

Covey suggests that as we open this gate and begin changing ourselves, we will care less about what others think of us and more about what others think of themselves. Most of us inherently tend to look inward. We ask questions such as "How does this affect me? Why can't I do this? Why is this happening to me?" We make real progress when we look outward, into other people. "What caused him/her to make that decision? How can I help alleviate their trials?"

The goal that we are striving for in personal change is what Covey calls unarguable, because they are at the core of human ethics. They cannot be challenged because they are pure good.

Roles
Each of us has several roles that we play a part in a sub-community through. Mr. Covey lists some examples of his roles. He is a father, a mentor, a teacher, an employee at (such-and-such) company, a youth group leader, etc.

Planning our time on a weekly basis helps to use weeks as building blocks for a great year. Daily tasks don't slip through the cracks, but we also don't have to split hairs or keep pushing daily burdens back. We all have different roles that must be planned for individually, but not every single day of your life is going to require your talents as a volunteer sheriff's deputy.