Stephen Covey: Seven Habits, Stephen Covey: 7 Habits, Stephen Covey: Seven (7) Habits

Stephen Covey, 7 Seven Habits, Stephen Covey, Seven 7 Habits, Stephen Covey, 7 Seven Habits,

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Stephen Covey's Seven (7) Habits of Highly Effective People and "Centers"

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Covey's Seven Habits book is very useful for a philosophical type like me. Having just come to the end of the tail-end of an interdisciplinary program in philosophy, I have become accustomed to contemplating what it is I am actually doing! The following come to mind as important observations that relate to Stephen Covey's Seven (7) Habits of Highly Effective People, as well as other Covey books (Seven habits of Highly Effective Teens, The Eighth Habit): It is entirely possible that this is the only life I get, and, relatively-speaking, it ain't gonna be long, even if I live another 70 years; At any given moment I am doing something, cannot be helped; Assuming I am still going to be here in the future, it makes sense to do things now that improve my future self's lot; People, relationships, are a massive part of what life entails, so learning to appreciate others and treat them well can only be good for myself in the long-run; In any case, people should not be seen as means but as ends.

Covey, then, stresses focusing on what we think is important, acting in ways that promote those priorities, spending most of our time on those things, and putting those things ahead of other demands. On the other hand, the Seven Habits is not a Carte Blanche for choosing any old priorities based on whims, because Covey believes that some priorites "naturally" have negative effects on the actor. In other words, he advocates a "Principle Center."

Covey's idea is that we all tend to focus in "centers." Centers may include making money as an ultimate goal, keeping your boyfriend no matter what the cost emotionally, serving some religion or national movement despite the negative consequences, or promoting some cultural, social or economic philosophy while being blind to its "downside."

Covey suggests learning to make ethical principles your "center." This does not mean becoming a member of the Salvation Army, but it does mean treating people and projects as if seen through an ethical lens to as great a degree as possible. An example may be considering the notion that an invasion of Iraq, despite ridding a people of a leader who consciously and deliberately modelled himself on Stalin and Hitler, is not worth one child's life and is therefore untenable. (Of course, such questions, where one good is set against another, deserve extremely weighty and sophisticated deliberation and an understanding of the "technology" of moral philosophy which most people are not taught, unfortunately). An example of a center not aligned with the timeless, self-evident principles Covey is talking about, would be that of "The National Interest". This, warns Covey, might actually work out to be self-defeating, as there is pretty obviously a principle of interdependence between nations, and attempting to further one's own country's interests for no other reason than benefit for oneself and one's countrymen "naturally" tends to invite trouble.

Whether any of this really is applicable to geopolitics is not a decided question, of course. But it does interest me that Covey's book can be used to generate a certain kind of debate about modern political situations, as readily as it can about "company cultures" or family dynamics and problems.
Stephen Covey's Seven (7) Habits of Highly Effective People system requires organizing and planning in detail, and in an ongoing way. Maybe something found by clicking on this line of text might help you with this...
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