Revisiting Seven Habits

I’m rereading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People again. I don’t get a whole lot new out of rereading it anymore, although if I do it’s in the later chapters. I’d like to think this is because I’m progressing and getting the early habits under way, but it’s probably because I’ve occasionally gone to reread it and not made it through before picking something else up.

But it seems that aside from reminding myself of what I’d like to be doing, there’s always these tiny little things that motivate me right then. That shouldn’t be a huge surprise, I suppose, since the whole point of the book is motivation and Covey is a motivational speaker, but it’s nice that it happens. I never post about those little things because they’re usually really obvious, and sometimes the impact of really obvious things doesn’t come across well online.

This time around it was this:

What one thing could you do (you aren’t doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life?

The first implication, of course, is “Then why aren’t you doing it?” — but the central thesis of the entire book is that there are many usual reasons that you’re not, and that it’s a lot of work to develop such that you can get past those. The second implication is that once you’re doing that, you’ll find another One Thing. And Covey’s explanation for why you’re not doing it is that it’s always a Quadrant II activity — “important but not urgent” — and the Quadrant I and III activities (“important and urgent” and “urgent but not important”) crowd out Quadrant II without effort to the contrary — but that’s detail. Just the seed of the idea is enough for now. If I’m not working towards finding and doing it, what am I waiting for?

(And while digging up the exact quote I thought of another three or four ideas I want to write about, but I know people can only take so much of Seven Habits, so you’re safe for now.)

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