We all know of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. On the bestseller list for decades now, it’s de rigueur for all business types. And for people just wanting to better themselves and their lives.
Although it has revolutionized the business world, the habits themselves aren’t that revolutionary. I.e., you read them with recognition, no? I don’t know why but every time I see them, I think of that sweet book, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum.
Both books pretty much boil down to respecting yourself and others.
It’s in the details where we humans get mixed up.
But one thing I know for true is that psychological and spiritual truths have the same meaning. I.e., if something is psychologically true, then it’s spiritually true as well, with the converse also being accurate. You just can’t separate one from another.
The seven habits Covey talked about are straightforward enough:
- Be proactive. Which just translates of course to your choices in creating your life.
The spiritual equivalent: You create your own reality.
- Begin with the end in mind. Know what you want and where you want to go. Create a personal vision statement.
The spiritual equivalent: Visualize and feel your perfect life, in all its details.
As Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
- Put first things first. Makes sense, no? You’re building on the choices and vision for the future you’ve designed.
The spiritual equivalent: Focus on your dreams.
- Think win-win. Simply, that you don’t have to lose for me to win.
The spiritual equivalent: What you do to others, you do to yourself.
- Seek first to understand, then be understood. Which not so many folks do! Most of the time, we’re so focused on getting our own points or opinions across, that we don’t stop to truly “hear” what someone else is trying to convey. So much so that we have to be taught active listening.
The spiritual equivalent: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Nothing shows caring more than truly listening to someone.
- Synergy. Which is just working together. A knowing that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
The spiritual equivalent: When 2 or more are gathered in my name . . .
- Sharpening the saw. Which translates to taking care of you, in all the various ways you do so.
The spiritual equivalent: If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love another.
Of course I love that Covey went on to pen the sequel: The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
- From effectiveness to greatness. Which shows how to truly thrive in today’s world, one must reach beyond effectiveness toward fulfillment, contribution, and greatness.
Sounds a lot like Victor Frankl’s findings on man’s search for meaning. Or Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Both dealing with the psychological need we have to thrive, to follow and reach our dreams, to know that we have a reason for being here, and that we leave the world a better place.
The spiritual equivalent: God has a plan for your life.
When I add all of this together, it makes for a life worth spent—one in which we, you and I, are the driving forces. Mythologist Joseph Campbell summed this up best:
“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
What do you do out of habit in order to succeed?