“Each of us has a center, though we usually don’t recognize it as such. Neither do we recognize the all-encompassing effects of the center on every aspect of our lives.
Lets briefly (and I’ve limited his discussion for easier readability) examine several centers or core paradigms people typically have for a better understanding of how they affect these four fundamental dimensions (security, guidance, power, and wisdom) and, ultimately, the sum of life that flows from them.
SPOUSE CENTEREDNESS. Marriage can be the most intimate, the most satisfying, the most enduring, growth-producing of human relationships. It might seem natural and proper to be centered on one’s husband or wife.
But experience and observation tell a different story. Over the years I have been involved in working with many troubled marriages, and I have observed a certain thread weaving itself through almost every spouse-centered relationship I have encountered. That thread is strong emotional dependence.
If our sense of emotional worth comes primarily from our marriage then we become highly dependent upon that relationship. We become vulnerable to the moods and feeling, the behavior and treatment of our spouse, or to any external event that may impinge on the relationship—a new child, in-laws, economic setback, social successes, and so forth.
FAMILY CENTEREDNESS. People who are family-centered get their sense of security or personal worth from the family tradition and culture or the family reputation. Thus, they become vulnerable to any changes in that tradition or culture and to any influences that would affect that reputation.
Family-centered parents do not have the emotional freedom, the power, to raise their children with their ultimate welfare truly in mind. They tend to love their children conditionally, making them emotionally dependent or counter dependent and rebellious.
MONEY CENTEREDNESS. Another logical and extremely common center to people’s lives is making money. Economic security is basic to one’s opportunity to do much in an other dimension. In a hierarchy or continuum of needs, physical survival and financial security comes first. Other needs are not even activated until that basic need is satisfied, at least minimally.
Money-centered people often put aside family or other priorities, assuming everyone will understand that economic demands come first.
Over the next 2 parts/posts Covey will discuss Work Centeredness, Possession Centeredness, Pleasure Centeredness, Friend/Enemy Centeredness, Church Centeredness, and Self Centeredness.
In an earlier post rescripting was discussed and I made a confession that I was still working on my rescripting. Covering these Alternative Centers reminds me of those, and I look forward to rereading Covey’s, “A Principle Center” (a future post).
Next: Habit 2 Begin With The End In Mind,
Principles Of Personal Leadership
Alternative Centers (2 of 3 parts)