I started reading this book towards the end of my university degree when I felt like a complete baby-adult. At this time, I had little experience in navigating the professional world and I was feeling quite helpless. The walls of formal education were crumbling around me and I was looking for a means of building my independence. This book completely changed my perspective on the human experience and my attitude towards living as a socially and economically valuable person in society.
Stephen R. Convey’s book is a great self-help book which I would recommend for all adults to read. I had many “aha” moments as well as opportunities for deep reflection. His book helped me evaluate my own daily habits and make long term goals for myself. The book is organised such that the habit most achievable is first out of the seven. What I most enjoyed from the book is the idea that the 7 habits are meant to be developed over one’s lifetime and revealed to me an insight into the purpose of human existence- which, in my opinion, is to demonstrate unconditional love to others through empathy and to serve others with a win-win mindset. I am not particularly religious, yet, the truth was loud, clear and utterly inspiring.
The first habit, “Be proactive”, hits home for me. Coming out of university, I recognised my own naivety in my understanding of how people operate. My assumption was that communication is simple, and if an idea was understood by both parties then effective communication had taken place. Nope… there are usually other parties involved, and communicating with all parties involved is equally as important as a common understanding with the primary party. Two things occurred in my life lead me to this conclusion. On one occasion, I had experienced rejection from a dream job offer due to miscommunication and a lack of proactiveness. Another time, due to these same factors, physical projects that my Year 7 students were working on were mistakenly thrown out from the storerooms. It was a lesson learnt the hard way and led to some serious personal reflection. Albeit, some external factors influenced these two incidents, I quickly recognised that I needed to be much more proactive with my communication with others to avoid more serious incidents occurring in the future.
Convey talks about the “P/PC Balance” which is a paradigm of effectiveness based on P- production and PC- production capability. To be effective, a person needs to balance their short term objectives with their long term objectives; 1) producing immediate desired results with 2) developing the ability to produce these desired results. For me this was a game changer, as this led me to think outside of the box in terms of my objectives for financial assets. At the moment, I am earning what most would consider a good salary for a graduate. But what can I do to improve my ability to earn? For this and other reasons, I have decided to get more serious about learning how to code. I view it as an opportunity to expand my skill set, be creative and improve my production capability.
Another idea that captivated me was the idea that principles are laws governed by nature or “natural laws”, which determine the consequences of our actions. I have always been fascinated with the idea that the world’s major religions operate with the same fundamental principles. The natural laws are self-evident rights of humans which operate independently from us. These are the concepts of equity, fairness and reason which are present in all cultures and major religions. Essentially, for our values to enable us to reap greater results, it needs to align with principles. To be effective, we need to become principle-centred.
This is a book I would happily study again in the future to examine the fruits of my determination. The first habit resonated with myself the most and has led me to become happier and more confident with my decision-making skills.
You won’t regret picking up this book!