Quotes from the author:
“Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits. ‘Sow a thought, reap and action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny,’ the maxim goes.
Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness…. or ineffectiveness.
Habits, too, have tremendous gravity pull—more than most people realize or would admit. Breaking deeply imbedded habitual tendencies such as procrastination, impatience, criticalness, or selfishness that violate basic principle of human effectiveness involves more than a little will power and a few minor changes in our lives. ‘Lift off’ takes tremendous effort, but once we break out of the gravity pull, our freedom takes on a whole new dimension.
For our purposes, we well define a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire. Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, The WHAT TO DO AND THE WHY. Skill is the HOW TO DO. And desire is the motivation, the WANT TO DO. In order to make something happen in our lives, we have to have all three.
I may be ineffective in my interactions with my work associates, my spouse, or my children because I constantly tell them what I think, but I never really listen to them. Unless I search out correct principles of human interaction, I may not even KNOW I need to listen.
Even if I do know that in order to interact effectively with other I really need to listen to them, I may not have the skill,. I may not know HOW to really listen deeply to another human being.
But knowing I need to listen and knowing how to listen is not enough. Unless I WANT to, unless I have the desire, it won’t be a habit in my life. Creating a habit requires work in all three dimensions.”
Now we get to the “meat” of the subject, the overview of what can make your life more meaningful, successful, and full. Forming a listening habit is difficult for those who never have seen it as a habit. These folks, as I’ve said before, are more interested in preparing a response to your words than really, really listening to the words, tone, and emotion embedded in your communication. In a conversation yesterday, one individual in the group felt it important that the rest of us listen to him, and he preferred that we not speak. How do I know? Every comment, from others, was interrupted with more long one-way communication. The rest of us could only speak when we interrupted him.
Next: The Seven Habits—The Maturity Continuum