Habit 2, Begin With The End In Mind, Principles Of Personal Leadership, A Principle Center (one of two parts)

Author’s quotes:

“By centering our lives on correct principles, we create a solid foundation for development of the four life-support factors.

Our SECURITY comes from knowing that, unlike other centers based on people or things which are subject to frequent and immediate change, correct principles do not change. We can depend on them.

Principles don’t react to anything. They don’t get mad and treat us differently. They won’t divorce us or run away with our best friend. They aren’t out to get us. They can’t pave our way with shortcuts and quick fixes. They don’t depend on the behavior of others, the environment, or the current fad for their validity. Principles don’t die . They aren’t here one day and gone the next. They can’t be destroyed by fire, earthquake or theft.

Principles are deep, fundamental truths, classic truths, generic common denominators. They are tightly interwoven threads running with exactness, consistency, beauty, and strength through the fabric of life.

Even in the midst of people or circumstances that seem to ignore the principles, we can be secure in the knowledge that principles are bigger than people or circumstances, and that thousands of years of history have seen them triumph, time and time again. Even more important, we can be secure in the knowledge that we can validate them in our own lives, by our own experience.

Admittedly, we’re not omniscient. Our knowledge and understanding of correct principles is limited by our own lack of awareness of our true nature and the world around us and by the flood of trendy philosophies and theories that are not in harmony with correct principles. These ideas will have their season of acceptance, but, like many before them, they won’t endure because they’re built on false foundations.

The WISDOM and GUIDANCE that accompany principle-centered living come from correct maps, from the way things really are, have been, and will be. Correct maps enable us to clearly see where we want to go and how to get there. We can make our decisions using the correct data that will make their implementation possible and meaningful.

The personal POWER that comes from principle-centered living is the power of a self-aware, knowledgeable, proactive individual, unrestricted by the attitudes, behaviors, and actions of others or by many of the circumstances and environmental influences that limit other people.”

Personal comments:

Two weeks ago I witnessed un-principled behavior by members (all but one) of two county boards. Their focus, with a few exceptions, is on power and control, not the behavior you would see if they were converts to Covey’s message (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). His message of Principle-Centered living is beyond their ability to comprehend; they do not possess the desire to live it! Their behavior (e.g., denial, untruths, intimidation, harassment, pettiness, and grandstanding) demonstrates their true nature.

Next: Habit 2 Begin With The End In Mind,
Principles Of Personal Leadership
A Principle Center (two of two parts)

Habit 2, Begin With The End In Mind, Principles Of Personal Leadership, Identifying Your Center

Author’s quotes:

“But where do you stand? What is at the center of your own life? Sometimes that isn’t easy to see.

Perhaps the best way to identify your own center is to look closely at your life-support factors.

Most people are very much a function of a variety of influences that play upon their lives. Depending on external or internal conditions, one particular center may be activated until the underlying needs are satisfied. Then another center becomes the compelling force.

As a person fluctuates from one center to another, the resulting relativism is like roller coasting through life. One moment you’re high, the next moment you’re low, making efforts to compensate for one weakness by borrowing strength from another weakness. There is no consistent sense of direction no persistent wisdom, no steady power supply or sense of personal, intrinsic worth and identity.

The ideal, of course, is to create one clear center from which you consistently derive a high degree of security, guidance, wisdom, and power, empowering your proactivity and giving congruency and harmony to every part of your life.”

Personal comments:

This is a short post because I believe it imperative to think carefully about what Covey says here, and carefully apply it to your life; past, present, and future (what do I want it to look and feel like?). Think of it in terms of the four life-support factors (security, wisdom, guidance, and power) Covey detailed in a previous post (8-13-2014). It will be well worth the time spent.

Next: Habit 2 Begin With The End In Mind,
Principles Of Personal Leadership
A Principle Center (one of two parts)

Habit 2, Begin With The End In Mind, Principles Of Personal Leadership, Alternative Centers (3 of 3 parts)

Author’s quotes concerning additional alternative centers:

“FRIEND/ENEMY CENTEREDNESS. Young people are particularly, though certainly not exclusively, susceptible to becoming friend-centered. Acceptance and belonging to a peer group can become almost supremely important. The distorted and ever-changing social mirror becomes the source for the four life-support factors (security, guidance, wisdom, power), creating a high degree of dependence on the fluctuating moods, feeling, attitudes and behavior of others.

And what about putting an enemy at the center of one’s life? Most people would never think of it, and probably no one would ever do it consciously. Nevertheless, enemy centering is very common, particularly when there is frequent interaction between people who are in real conflict. When someone feels he has been unjustly dealt with by an emotionally or socially significant person, it is very easy for him to become preoccupied with the injustice and make the other person the center of his life. Rather than proactively leading his own life, the enemy-centered person is counter-dependently reacting to the behavior and attitudes of a perceived enemy.

CHURCH CENTEREDNESS. I believe that almost anyone who is seriously involved in any church will recognize that churchgoing is not synonymous with personal spirituality. There are some people who get so busy in church worship and projects that they become insensitive to the pressing human needs that surround them, contradicting the very precepts they profess to believe deeply. There are others who attend church less frequently or not at all but whose attitudes and behavior reflect a more genuine centering in the principles of the basic Judeo-Christian ethic.

In the church-centered life, image or appearance can become a person’s dominant consideration, leading to hypocrisy that undermines personal security and intrinsic worth. Guidance comes from a social conscience, and the church-centered person tends to label others artificially in terms of “active,” “inactive,” “liberal,” “orthodox,” or
conservative.”

Because the church is a formal organization made up of policies, programs, practices, and people, it cannot by itself give a person any deep, permanent security or sense of intrinsic worth. Living the principles taught by the church can do this, but the organization alone cannot.

SELF-CENTEREDNESS. Perhaps the most common center today is the self. The most obvious form is selfishness, which violates the values of most people. But if we look closely at many of the popular approaches to growth and self-fulfillment, we often find self-centering at the core.

There is little security, guidance, wisdom, or power in the limited center of self. Like the Dead Sea in Israel, it accepts but never gives. It becomes stagnant.

On the other hand, paying attention to the development of self in the greater perspective of improving one’s ability to serve to produce to contribute in meaningful ways, gives context for dramatic increase in the four life-support factors.

Personal comments:

As Covey points out, these centers are some of the most common, but not all. “If you look you can sometimes see beyond behavior into the center that creates it.”

Next: Habit 2 Begin With The End In Mind,
Principles Of Personal Leadership
Identifying Your Center

Habit 2, Begin With The End In Mind, Principles Of Personal Leadership, Alternative Centers (2 of 3 parts)

Author’s quotes (alternative center discussion continued):

“WORK CENTEREDNESS. Work-centered people may become “workaholics”, driving themselves to produce at the sacrifice of health, relationships, and other important areas of their lives. Their fundamental identity comes from their work—“I’m a doctor,” “I’m a writer,” “I’m an actor.”

Because their identity and sense of self-worth are wrapped up in their work, their security is vulnerable to anything that happens to prevent them from continuing in it. Their guidance is a function of the demands of the work. Their wisdom and power come in limited areas of their work, rendering them ineffective in other areas of life.

POSSESSION CENTEREDNESS. A driving force of man people is possessions—not only tangible, material possessions such as fashionable clothes, homes, cars, boats, and jewelry, but also the intangible possessions of fame, glory, or social prominence. Most of us are aware, through our own experience, how singularly flawed such a center is, simply because it can vanish rapidly and it is influenced by so many forces.

If my sense of security lies in my reputation or in the things I have, my life will be in a constant state of threat and jeopardy that these possessions may be lost or stolen or devalued.

PLEASURE CENTEREDNESS. Another common center, closely allied with possessions is that of fun and pleasure. We live in a world where instant gratification is available and encouraged.

Innocent pleasures in moderation can provide relaxation for the body and mind and can foster family and other relationships. But pleasure, per se, offers no deep lasting satisfaction or sense of fulfillment. The pleasure-centered person, too soon bored with each succeeding level of “fun”, constantly cries for more and more. So the next new pleasure has to be bigger and better, more exciting, with a bigger “high”. A person in this state becomes almost entirely narcissistic, interpreting all of life in terms of the pleasure it provides to the self here and now.”

Personal comments:

A good place to look for these alternative centers is on Facebook. Most, if not all, centers can be found there.

Next: Habit 2 Begin With The End In Mind,
Principles Of Personal Leadership
Alternative Centers (3 of 3 parts)