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.