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
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.
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