Thursday, October 29, 2009

Habit 4 - Think "Win-Win"

I know what you may be thinking, "Win-Win in sports? How can that happen?" Competition in sports means a person or team either wins or loses. The concept of "Win-Win" really has nothing to do with the score, but in how you play the game. You can win the score, but loose the (sportsmanship) game.

How you play the game does matter in the long haul.

Think Win-Win teaches that the win-lose scenario has the attitude that says the pie of success is only so big, and if you get a big piece, then someone else gets the small piece. This person always has to win, appear to be the best, be on top, have the last word and is always right. Relationships, friendships, and loyalty are all secondary to winning the game, being the best, and having it your way. But in the end, win-lose strategy usually backfires. You may end up on the top of the totem pole, but you will be there alone with no friends or supporters.

The lose-win scenario makes you a doormat. Pretty much the only thing you are good for is to wipe your feet on. Its only purpose is to serve, be abused and get nothing out of the relationship. This does not mean avoid being a servant. A lose -win is fine if the issue is not that important to you. Just make sure you stand up for things that matter most.

The lose-lose scenario is a downward spiral. It is about revenge and getting back at someone who hurt you or someone close to you. It is much easier to seek revenge than to grant forgiveness. Lose-lose is not about winners, but losers. You need to decide which team you would rather be on.

Win-Win seeks to find the best in each person. Win the game graciously, lose the game with humilty. To Win means:
  • Playing your best whether you have the best score or not.
  • Acknowledging that someone or a team played better on that day is honorable.
  • You may not be satisfied with the score or your performance, but do not take it out on someone else.
  • Take responsibility, evaluate what you need to do to prepare better next ime, set some goals and press on to be your best.

Relationship Bank Account

Do you want to have a better relationship with your parents? teachers? friends? family?, invest in the Relationship Bank Account (RBA). You make deposits that strengthen a relationship and withdrawls that hurt a relationship. The balance represents the amount of trust in your releationship.
A deposit you would like from someone, most likely will be different that a deposit you make with your parents. For example: a deposit with your parents would mean taking out the garbage or making your bed in the morning. You would see a deposit as, being able to stay up later to watch a TV show, or being allowed to spend the night at a friends house.

Understand what is important to them
Tell the truth
Do the right thing
Do little things that no one may know about
Acts and words of kindness
Assume you know what is important, and miss
Lie and cover up
Wait till you are told
Forget to do something for someone
Acts and words or criticism or humiliation

The bottom line is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Put other's needs before your own. Show respect to everyone, even when you have been mistreated. Your character will stand out, people will notice and begin to do the same to you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

9a - The 4 Quadrants

Quadrant 1 - The Procrastinator

Quadrant 1 represents urgent and important tasks. Some circumstances need immediate attention. There is nothing wrong to take care of an important need that just come up. What is unhealthy is to become addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with doing everything the last minute. What is wrong with putting things off till the last minute? How do I know if I am a procratinator?

  • Do I cram for tests the night before a test?

  • Do I write papers the day before they are due and hardly have time to proof read them before turning them in to the teacher?

  • Am I late frequently?

  • I am not good at planning and organizing.

  • I am frequently preoccupied with one thing while I am doing something else.

  • I seem to rush between place and events.

  • I rarely have time (or save time) for myself.

  • I frequently wish that I had thought about things and acted sooner. Often I am just too late.

If the list above characterizes you, a procrastinator you may be.

Quadrant 3 - The Yes-Man

Quadrant 3 represents activities that are urgent but not important. People in this quadrant typically try to please others and have a hard time saying no. If you spend too much time in quadrant 3, you may get a reputation as a "pleaser." lack discipline, and feel like a dormat for others to wip their feet on.

The Yes-Man needs to prioritize their activities. Make a list of your activities with highest priorities first on the left side of the paper. On the right side of the paper, write down next the one of the high priorities what you will need to turn down, say no to, in order to fulfill a higher priority. By planning ahead, you can recognize the lower priority activity and say NO.

Quadrant 2: The Prioritizer
This quadrant is made up of activities like relaxation, building friendships, exercising, planning ahead, and doing homework. It is the quadrant of excellence - the place to be. Here you can plan, anticipate activities that will get you to your destination, avert activities and situations that will waste your time, recognize new opportunities and reduce time in the other quadrants.
The key is planning.
It is about putting FIRST THINGS FIRST.
It is learning to prioritize and manage your time so that your first things come first, not last. You may have good intentions, put actually doing them -putting them first -is the hard part. It means learning to overcome your fears and being strong during hard moments. Habit 3 is about will power (the strength to say yeas to your most important things) and won't power (the strength to say no to less important things and to peer pressure).
Write a list of all the tasks you do in a week: attening school, chores, sports, homework, hygiene, eating, going to appointments, sleeping, leisure activities, family time, time with friends, studying, traveling, working, time on computer, time playing video games, hobbies etc. Next to the tasks, write how many hours you spend doing these things a week.
Are you spending the time you need on the important tasks? What activities are keeping you from doing the important things? What can you adjust?
Get a planner or calendar and write down the important things you need to do this week. Spend 10 or 15 miniutes a day planning and evaluating if you were able to accomplish what you set out to do that day.

Quadrant 4: The Slacker
This is the trivial stuff, the busy work that does not need to be done. This includes opening all your junk email to see if they are from someone you know, staring at the TV or video games like a zombie. Time wasters. Stay out of this quadrant as much as possible. It will get you literally nowhere.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Part 9 - Habit 3: Putting First Things First

Now that you have discovered the things you really like, identified talents and gifts and decided your firsts. You may have a clearer picture of who you are now and what you want to be in the future. Habit 3 is designed to help you put them first in your life. PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST is about learning to prioritize and manage your time so your first things are not neglected, but intentionally pursued.
"The first three habits build upon each other. Habit 1 says,"You are the driver, not the passenger." Habit 2 says,"Decide where you want to go and draw a map to get there." Habit 3 says,"Get there! Don't let roadblocks knock you off course."
Habit 3 is to help you overcome the obstacles; the fears in difficult moments in order to reach your destination. The habit will develop your will-power (the ability to say yes to your most important things) and won't-power (the strength to say no the less important things and to peer pressure).

Life is primarily made up of important moments and urgent moments.

  • important moments: your most important things, your first things, activities that contribute to your mission and your goals

  • urgent moments: pressing things, in-your-face things, activities that demand immediate attention

When these moments overlap they create situations that demand a decision. The 7 Habits has identified 4 time quadrants in which to place these moments.

The training says one should try to do the things in Quadrant 1 and 2. One should spend most of their time in Quadrant 2. If things are done in this quadrant, then one will prioritize activities they need to do the reach their goals; having the end result in mind.

Look at your last 7 days. Where have you been spending your time? Are you accomplishing the things that really matter?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Part 8a - The Crossroads of Life

You are young; free. You have your whole life before you. You stand at the crossroads of life and you have to CHOOSE which path to take:
  • Do you want to go to college?
  • Do you want to get a job working most nights or tryout for the team?
  • What will my attitude be towards the school name change?
  • Should you take the harder AP course?
  • Who will you date? Will you date at all?
  • Will you drink, smoke or do drugs?
  • Will you have sex before marriage?
  • What will you stand for?
  • How will I contribute to my community?

All these questions and more were suggested in Covey's book. The paths you choose today will affect your future forever. It will shape you future. It is both frightening and exciting to have so many opportunities and directions to take your life. In his letter to the Romans, Apostle Paul explains there are forces at work in our lives that influence our decisions.

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what
that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their
minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man[e] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. - Romans 8:5-8

There is the dark force, that resides in everyone. By reading and hearing the news each day, we can see the horrific things people do to each other because they live to please their sinful nature; their instincts based on natural desires. God says people who are controlled by this nature live in bondage, their true image of themselves and who they would become is tarnished and it leads to death (not just physical death, but a hostility toward God and the loss of dignity as a human being.)

Earlier in the chapter it speaks of how one can break free from the bondage of the dark force and truly become free to be human; one becomes ALIVE as God intended.

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a]
2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the
law of sin and death... 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature
but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not
have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in
you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of
righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is
living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your
mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

So how does this help us make decisions? When one becomes ALIVE by the Spirit of God, one desires the things God desires. As one spends more time getting to know what is on God's heart; what His agenda is for humanity (which can be read in the Bible, experienced among other follower's of Jesus and in conversation with God in prayer.) One begins to make decisions based of the truth; the principles God has revealed to us to live a joyful and abundant life; a life of peace.

So, when those decisions come a school, friends, sex, alcohol, school, jobs, etc. , know what Jesus would do will help us make the right choices which will get us where we want to be and do in the future.

The 7 Habit training says to create a personal mission statement. It is like a personal motto pr creed that states what your life is about. In my junior or senior year in high school I was challenged to come up with a life verse. I did a lot of reading and searching in the bible. Philippians chapter 3 kept coming to mind as I was doing my search. I memorized verses 5-12 to really let it sink into my head. Then, verse 12 capture the depth of my being:

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made
perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of

This became my life verse; my personal mission statement. It became the organizing principle; my center. The "press on" I could relate to because I am an athlete. In verse 13 it qualifies the intensity of this pursuit by saying, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead... ."

What was the pursuit? Not to follow my natural desires, but to take hold.

Take hold of what? To take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Wow! Jesus took hold of me; called me into his presence; his kingdom for a purpose. It is my mission in life to find out why? to discover the "that". As I strain toward that prize, God has revealed different levels of who I am and what I am to do. The "who I am" or my being is the most important "that" I have discovered in my journey of life. It is because of who God has created in me (my being), I can decide to do those things that please him in any job, task or situation I find myself. In return I find fulfillment and make life better for those around me. I "take hold" of what being human is all about, exercise those gifts and abilities He has revealed who I am to be a benefit others. It is because I have allowed the Spirit of God to show me the "playbook" for life I find joy and peace. I can make the world a better place one moment at a time.

But, like anyone on a journey, I am content but never satisfied. My favorite song from the U2's album, Joshua Tree, "I still haven't found what I am looking for?" is my theme song. I find joy and fulfillment along the journey, but if I stand and dwell on it for to long - I lose sight of the future. If this stage of life is "that" beautiful, I want to keep searching and discover more of why Jesus took hold of me.

Your personal mission statement will be different. It may be a word, a phrase, a statement, a poem, or a song. Read the chapter on Habit 2. Create a mission statement and begin your personal journey. You may tweak it off and on. It will give you clarity of purpose, it will keep you focused on what is important.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained. - Philippians 3:12-16

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Part 8: Habit 2- Beginning with the End in Mind

The subtitle of this habit is, "Control your own destiny or someone else will." Beginning with the end in mind means developing a clear picture of who you want to be and what you want to do in life. It is not only talking about what you want to leave as a legacy 30 or 40 years from now. It is thinking about what you intend to to tomorrow and deciding what direction you want to go with your life and the necessary steps to take you in the right direction. It means getting into the driver's seat and determining where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

People do this all the time. They use recipes to cook and bake, draw up blueprints to build things, use maps (online maps) to show them the best way to get to a destination and create an outline when writing a research paper. Most people have an image of how they would want to look or be perceived by friends, family and teachers. To create that image, they have an end result in mind. They look at magazines, newpapers, the internet and celebrities to get a picture of how they want to look. They may watch movies, listen to certian kind sof music and go to certain events to get a feel for how they want to walk, talk and act. This is beginning with the end in mind. It is using one's imagination to come up with a desired result; a destination, if you will, of who they will be.

You can evaluate who you have been and what you have done this past week or past year. What perceptions have you left in people's minds? Did you have any conscience goals? What have you accomplished? How do you feel about yourself? How would other's describe who you are? What would other's say is most important to you? You cannot change what you have done inthe past. You can change what you do in the future.

Use your imagination and visualize yourself a year from now.

  • What have you done with your life over the past year?

  • How do you feel inside?

  • What do you look like?

  • What have you accomplished?

  • What characteristics do you possess?

The 7 Habits training uses a quote from Alice's Adventure in Wonderland to make the point in knowing where you want to go,

"Would you tell me please which way I ought to walk from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," says the Cat.
"I don't much care where-" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way to walk," said the Cat.

Many people do not see themselves as responsible for where they are going in life. They do not have a specific destination in mind. So, they live life at the mercy of others, whether it is whatever pop culture is promoting that week, pressure they feel from there friends, family, youth group or favorite TV show. They may think they are in control of their destiny, but it is being directed by outside influences.

So, if it is important to have the end in mind, how do you do it? The training says to create a personal mission statement. It may be short or long, poems or songs, but one thing it must be - it must be from you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Part 7b: Growing proactive muscles

Becoming a proactive person does not come naturally, nor easy. There are no short cuts to maturity and independence.

The Old Way Has to Go
17 -19And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. 20 -24But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
- Ephesians 4:17-24 The Message

We need to exercise our spiritual muscles. As being a follower of Christ means not to be a follower of the crowd and the fads of the foolish. Pop culture has lost touch with God and the truth he has for his people. Getting rid of old habits that are reactive and irresponsible is hard work, needing new focus and a healthy dose of discipline. Putting on new habits and being proactive is difficult when others are trying to sabatage your efforts.

But don't let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother's milk! There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. -2 Timothy 3:14 The Message

This brings us to the next habit, "Begin with the End in Mind."

Part 7a - Listen to your language

A way of identifying if you are a proactive or reactive person, listen to yourself speak. A reactive person may say something like this, after leaving their backpack coat, shoes and socks in the middle of the living room, laying on the couch watching MTV2.

"What mess? That's just the way I am." They may agree it is not the best place to leave their stuff, but they are also saying I am not responsible for the way I act.

"If my teacher wasn't being so unreasonable, life would be much easier." Again, not taking responsibility, blaming their teacher for all their difficulties.

"Boy, thanks alot, you just ruined my day. I wish we would have never moved here. I wish I had money to live in my own apartment." Here are examples where moods, things, circumstances control their happiness. They are saying in so many words, I am not in control of my own happiness; contentment is based on circumstances and things.

The reactive language takes the power away from you and places it in other things or situations. A illustration of a remote controller was used in the training. It is like your life is being controlled by a giant remote. When someone pushes the right buttons, your mood or attitude changes based on the signal. Proactive language put the remote control back into your hands. You are then can choice freely what channel you want to be on.


  • I'll try

  • That's just the way I am

  • There's nothing I can do

  • I have to

  • I can't

  • You ruined my day

A reactive person give the perception that they are victims. The training calls this "victimitis virus." Everyone is out to get them and make their lives miserable. It can be contagious when incontact with a crowd. Comments like:

  • "I am not getting good grades, the teacher does not like me."

  • "If the coach know anything about hoops, I would be playing right now."

  • "The ball keeps slipping out of my hands, it's not my fault I have 5 turnovers."

  • "I could have made that lay up , but my shoes slipped and made me miss."

The only person that is holding theis kind of person back is themselves. You may hear whining, blaming others, get angry, only change when they have to change and excuses.


  • I'll do it

  • I can do better than that

  • Let's look at all our options

  • I choose to

  • There's gotta be a way

  • I'm not goin gto let your bad mood rub off on me

Proactive people have taken the time to think about situations they may face and decide, beforehand to respond a certain way. They take time to consider various options when confronted with a situation. Proactive people:

  • Are not easily offended

  • Take responsibility for their choices

  • Think before they act

  • Bounce back when something bad happenes

  • Always find a way to make it happen

  • Focus on what they can do and do not worry about the things they do not have control over

I have been coaching for many years. I hear the comments from players and can quickly determine which one may have a tendancy to be reactive and those who are proactive. It says alot about a player when they touch the line every time during the conditioning drill; if they do not touch half court during the warm up drill; if they complement a team mate on a good pass or if they never communicate; if they look me in the eyes while they speak to me; if their body language is saying, "Coach, I do not want to come out of the game"; or during a timeout they are looking into the stand and not listening to anything I am saying.

We cannot control everything that happens to us. But there is one thing we can control, that is how we respond to what happens to us. If we choose to be proactive, we will be in control of our lives.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Part 7: Habit 1 - Be Proactive

Habit 1 stresses a person to take responsibility for their life.
They use a weather illustration to make a point.
Everyone carries their own weather. We make choices that determine if it will be a sunny (positive) day or a rainy (negative) dreary day. For example, when you choose to go to bed at a reasonable hour and get the sleep, food and exercise your body needs, you made a decision to give youself a chance to start the next day in a positive light. When you do small acts of kindness, look at the glass as half full, keep a promise you made, spend time in God's Word you make choices that prepare your life for warmth and light. These actions fall under the term Proactive; choices made that you have control over; that help you create your own weather, keeps you focused and centered.

When you respond to a situation without taking time to think about how to respond, or not understanding why you are responding in a certain way, you are being reactive. When you are reactive you are letting circumstances control your responses, which is easier to put the blame on others.

When you act proactively, you examine or have predetermined responses on how you would behave in certain situations. It means anticipating situations and imaging the responses you could make, then determining which is the most appropriate response at that time.

Does it mean you will always have the correct response all the time? No. But, you will have better control over your actions and learn how to best respond in the future.

For the most part, there is always a moment between the time we are confronted with a decision and the time we choose to respond. Use the space between the stimulus and the response to apply a principle which will bring about your desired result.

Reactive people allow outside influences (moods, feelings, and circumstances) to control their response. They have not taken time to think about their response nor a desired outcome.

Proactive people pause to choose their response based on principles and desired results. Their freedom to choose expands as they wisely consider many options of response. You may be saying, there isn't that much time for me to consider all the options before I need to make a response. Unfortunately, this is seldon the case. It is more like we have not trained ourself to be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19). It is more like, "I am caught off guard with this situation, so to defend my pride, I say or do something that discredits the person or situation and makes me look good."

Four Human Endowments
The 7 Habits training identify four qualities of "humanness" (I referred to Francis Schaeffer's term "mannishness of man" in an earlier post) which allows us this freedom:

  • Self awareness - one can stand apart from one's thoughts and feelings and is able to examine and change them.
  • Conscience - one is able to feel the inner prompting of what is right and wrong in something they are about to do.
  • Imagination - one can think ahead; visualize alternaive responses to obtain a desired result.
  • Willpower - the ability to act on one's decisions; to set and achieve meaningful goals in one's life.

Think of a situation where you consistently respond in a reactive way (lose patience, avoid confrontation, blame someone, lack discipline). Consider why you react in this way?

What is a better, more effective way to respond? Is there a response that would achieve the positive outcomes you desire. What is your commitment level to respond in this way next time you are confronted with this situation?

Use the gifts God has given you.

Part 6: Starting with the man in the mirror

"Before you ever win in the public arenas of life, you must first win private battles within yourself. All change begins with you, and sometimes that is the hardest part." - 7 Habits Training

Have you every been asked, "What's wrong with you? Where is the (your name) I once knew?" Or told, "You are disappointing me.

How do you feel about yourself?

In the 7 Habits Training we discussed the PBA - Personal Bank Account.

Your personal bank account is like a bank into which you put all the good things that you do for yourself. It is a reserve that allows you to withdraw strength when things aren’t going so well.
Some of the things that build up your account are:

  • Keeping promises to yourself
  • Doing small acts of kindness
  • Being gentle with yourself when you make mistakes
  • Being honest with yourself and others
  • Renewing yourself
  • Tapping into your talents and developing them.

Some things that take strength away from your account are:

  • Breaking promises
  • Keeping to yourself
  • Beating yourself up when you make mistakes
  • Being dishonest with yourself and others
  • Wearing yourself out
  • Neglecting your talents.
  • So how are you doing?

Identify one easy task that needs to be done today. Decide when you will do it. Write it down and then make sure you accomplish it today.

All of us have an invisible savings account inside our heads. We make deposits and withdrawals from it everyday. Whenever we do something we intend to do, like exercising, eating right, completing a race, or be more positive, we make a deposit into our invisible account. Likewise, whenever we don’t meet our expectations or goals, we withdraw from this same savings account. The 7 Habits Training maintains that the balance of that bank account is what gives us true self-confidence and trust in ourselves. We draw upon past accomplishments to increase our strength and overcome current challenges. The more deposits we have, the more likely we are to follow through on future plans.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part 5: Primary vs Secondary Greatness

The subject of GREATNESS was discussed during the 7 Habits training.

When you see and hear the news and entertainment headlines they mostly report on the secondary greatness of individuals. Those individuals who have been recognized for their social talent or accomplishments. The great athlete, politician, comedian, reporter, teacher, student, actor, hero or whatever recognition a person accomplished in a role in life. It is the OUTSIDE of the person we are viewing.

"I am not suggesting that elements of the personality ethic - personality growth, communication skill training, and education in the field of influence strategies and positive thinking - are not beneficial, in fact sometimes essential for success. I believe they are. But these are secondary, not primary traits. To focus on technique is like cramming your way through school. You sometimes get by, perhaps even get good grades, but if you don't pay the price day in and day out, you never achieve true mastery of the subjects you study or develop an educated mind. Many people in leadership roles with greatness -- that is, social recognition for their talents -- lack primary greatness or goodness in their character. Sooner or later, you'll see this in every long-term relationship they have, whether it is with a business associate, a spouse, a friend, or a teenage child going through an identity crisis. It is character that communicates most eloquently. Ezinearticles - John Meredith, May 25, 2009

Primary greatness has to do with the INSIDE of a person; one's character. A person must not think of their self-worth based on their accomplishments or any other outward action. They may reveal a person's character, but they can be also a false portrayal of a person.

"When the basic source of a person's definition of himself is the social mirror, he may confuse the mirror reflection with his real self; in fact, he may begin to believe and accept the image in the mirror, even rejecting other, more positive views of himself unless they show the distortions he has come to accept." - Seven Habits of Effective People, Stephen Covey

One must not confuse their "doing" as the source of their identity. It is found in their "being". Being has to do with the INSIDE; the character of a person. It starts with the Ultimate Being; our Creator. God created man in his image, all people bear the image of God in their being.

Knowing we were created, we need to go to the Creator to see who we ought to "be." Only then will our true character; our real identity will be revealed and grow in Christlikeness. To be like Christ is who we ought to "be-like." His life in us must me mastered, then we will mirror Christ to the world.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Part 4: What is effectiveness?

The topic of effectiveness is addressed during the training. The term P/PC is used.

P = Production and PC = Production Capability.

They use the illustration of the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg.

The Production Capability would be the Goose. The Goose is the resource that produces the golden egg. Properly caring for the Gooses is best way to get golden eggs each day - which is the Production.

"Effectiveness is getting superb results today (production) in a way that allows us to get those results over and over again (production capability). It is P/PC Balance."

Properly maintaining, preserving and enhancing the resourses we have at our disposal will most likely bring about our desired results.

List 3 results you are responsible for in your life (as a son, daughter, student, employee, Christian, citizen)?

How do the four resources below help you produce the desired results?

  • Physical

  • Finanacial

  • Human

  • Technological

An example, I am a son who is responsible to mow the lawn once a week. This requires my physical resources. I earn an allowance which helps me buy the things I need and want (financial). I depend on my parents (human resource) to pay me the allowance. The lawn mower (however technologically advanced it is, helps me to cut the grass quickly and neatly.)

What are could I be doing to maintain, preserve and enhance these resources?
Physically, I need to get the proper food, rest and exercise. Do not put my life in a dangerous situation. etc.

Financially, save some of the money I earned. Plan for future expenses and purchases.

Human, respect my parents view point, communicate with them, participate with them in family events, thank them for the allowance - building a good relationship with them

Technology, check the oil in the mower regularly, be sure the blade is sharp, wash the mower after using it. etc

I know this may seem like a lot of work comming up with the details, but once you do, you will become effective in getting the same desired results in the future.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Part 3: Principles govern

This is another truth taught during the 7 Habits training. "Principles are self-evident natural laws. We get superb results when we align our paradigms with principles of effectiveness. When we understand these principles, they empower and enable us."

As defined by Webster, "a: to control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of b: to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over."

Principles are:
* universal, not situational
* timeless, not temporary
* objective, not subjective
* at work whether we like it or not

An example used to demostrate principles in growing potatoes. The question was asked, "Which principles govern the process of growing quality potatoes? Answers like:
  • long preparation to get the soil right
  • take what is given (we have no control of the weather or other natural conditions)
  • there are no shortcuts, do it right
  • human element cannot be replaced
  • time commitment
  • may do everything right, but the crop does not produce

If we want to mature, what principles will govern the process of growing a quality life? This will be discussed later. The important thing to understand now is as we work in light of sound principles, we can establish new habits and thereby create the results we aspire to acheive.

We need to examine the principles by which we live at this moment. Like paradigms, we may not think we live by principles, but we do whether we know them or not. We need to take time to recognize them and decide if they are the correct influences which will take us where we want to go in life.

How do we know there are universal principles that are true to everyone throughout all time? How do we know we know anything? This is the philosophical question of epistemology - how do we know truth. Not just truth but, as Francis Schaeffer would say "true truth." Schaeffer would say, "because of the God who is there."

This always brings me to the questions of origins. Were we created by an Eternal Almighty Being who defined these principles so we could live life abundantly (a map to guide mankind); who created man in His own image and gave us our humaness? Those qualities that set us apart from all other creatues Francis Schaeffer refers to as "the mannishness of man"; a desire for real love and significance.

Or, did we evolve from inanimate matter which, we have been told, has always existed. If this is so, then humaness is an accident and there is no map to guide us to abundant living. Everyone can do what is right in his own eyes. There is no universal, absolute right or wrong. (Read Matter Matters article in Christianity Today.) As humans we have an innate sense of right and wrong. With out acknowledging the God who is there, who has the authority to dictate what is right and wrong; what is truth and untruth, the powerful or majority will control and influence. They will determine what is right, what is the truth - and if history says anything, humans cannot be the final authority on these matters. It brings death, poverty, manipulation and destruction.

If one observes the universe around them, they can see the naturals laws God has set in motion. If one looks inside one's self, they can feel the needs only God can satisfy and guide them in truly living a fulfilled, significant life.

Part 2: Examine your paradigm

How do you examine your paradigm; the way you see life? A first step maybe to look for times and events in your life when your world was shaken! You may have witnessed a dramtic event, come close to dying, experienced the death of someone close to you, a victim of a crime, or saw someone or something in a new light, learned new information that changed the way you think or perceive something. It may be something small or huge. You have an ah ha! moment. The lights seem to have turned on and, how you perceived something in the past, is now seen differently. This is may be the beginning of a paradigm shift. This term has its roots in the scientific field, but can be used in this case to describe the a change in one's basic assumptions about the way they see something.

Try to think of an event or circumstance that caused you to question some basic assumptions you may have had in your life.
  • What did you learn that changed your paradigm or pasic assumptions?
  • How did that prardigm shift affect your behavior? Think in terms of what you decided to do or do differently as a result of that understanding or experience?
  • What results or desired results did you get?

If we relate back to the SEE-DO-GET model concerning obeying the speed limit, I can illustrate my point. AT ONE TIME, I may have seen the highway as my personal race track. I could do whatever I wanted to do, as long as I did not get caught. Let's say, one day I was speeding in a residential area and could not stop in time to avoid hitting a dog that was chasing a ball that rolled into the street. The death of the dog and the grief I saw in the little boy's face who owned the dog changed my basic assumption that the highway was my personal race track. I saw that it was also someone's playground as well.

The way I saw driving a car changed, my actions (behavior) when driving the car changed, the results will help to avoid this tragedy ever happening again. This was a paradigm shift in the way I drive. Our results are affected by our pardigms and behaviors.

Here the term principles need to be explored. Our basic assumptions about the way we see things need to be expressed in principles which keep us focused on the right course.

Part 1: The way I see it

Recently I finished a 7 Habits for Effective People training for the school where I teach. In order to process the information I decided to write about it in The Race. I seldom take time to reflect on why I do the things I do. This training is forcing me to, gladly, do so again.
As an introduction, the training says, "Our personality is what people see first. Although our image, techniques and skills can influence our success, the real source of lasting effectiveness lies in strong character - which are the roots of our personality."
This brings up in my mind Friedman's quote in his book "Failure of Nerve" when he says,
There are two distinct ways of leading. One depends on the accumulation of information, data and techniques when synthesized will give direction for a leader. The other, relies on the “their presence, the nature of their being, not in the storehouse of data or armamentarium of technique. The key to leadership, therefore, is not how a leader manages others but how a leader manages him- or herself.” Freidman calls this “leadership through self differentiation.”

SO, our energy in running the race should go to our own character development. It is for the most part unseen, but ultimately significant if we are to see fruit in our lives (which is what people see the most.) Character, like a foundation to a house, is necessary to protect the house from the storms, diasaters, and whatever people and nature has to throw at it. Our life, our personality will be only as good as the character it is built on to weather the storms and challenges of life.

The training introduces people to paradigms. A paradigm is defined as "the way we see, understand and interpret the world; our mental map." We are challenged to articulate our view of the reality; how we see the world and where I fit. Everyone has a view of the world, whether they know it or not. We DO things based on how we SEE reality. For example: if we understand (see) the importance of going the speed limit driving down the highway, then we will drive (behavior) at or under the speed limit. As a consequence (result), we will be a safer driver and avoid getting a speeding ticket.

This is what is called the SEE-DO-GET model. "The results we get in life depend on what we do. What we do in life depends on how we see the world around us."

The question before us is, "what have we been conditioned to see?" Our view of the world; life and how it ought to be lived has been conditioned by our upbringing, environment, and experiences. Who are we listening to?
We need to examine our paradigms.