Victim by choice?

May 29, 2008

One of the main ideas throughout The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is that people tend to blame their environment as the cause of their problems. Excuses run the gambit; from blaming your family, your genes, your job, the economic times, etc. Stephen Covey’s response is that “Quality begins with me.”

You’re not a victim of conditions, you’re a victim of your own decisions, your own choices.

-Stephen Covey

With this mindset, in most circumstances, accomplishing goals in life depends on personal initiative and determination. However, the scales can be tipped in either direction, from “My life isn’t what I want it to be because of other people”, to “I can do everything myself.” I feel it is important to not be arrogant by not accepting help from anyone, or to be foolish enough to believe that everything can be accomplished just by myself. Mr. Covey does talk about this in the book, and one of the pillars of “being effective” is synergism. In essence, he stresses the importance of being able to work collaboratively in teams and the immense benefits that can come if it, but that is another topic in and of itself.

The main theme I wanted to write about today was about taking control of the events in one’s life that are within one’s grasp. To be able to distinguish which events can be affected by you, and which events are simply out of your control is a skill that can be very powerful in life. Challenging may it be, I am going to try and get a handle on situations in my life, while recognizing those that are out of my control. With a mentality such as this, “luck” happens more often. I am becoming a fan of Ralph Emerson, and his many quotes that are so applicable to life: “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

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You Reap What You Sow

May 28, 2008

Stephen Covey used a quotation taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I thought was especially encouraging, yet basic at its core.

That which we persist in doing becomes easier—not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

In a point in my life where many of the daily tasks I am doing are relatively new to me, a lot of them seem appropriately daunting. I am learning valuable skills in these coming years that will be pertinent in relation to my life, career, and future family, and it is easy to try and look for an easy route. Most things in life have no “easy way out”, and Stephen Covey vehemently supports this notion, “You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut,” He uses the idea of trying to cram on a farm, forgetting to plant in the spring, and brushing it off all summer, yet coming back in the fall to try to reap a harvest that you did not sow. It isn’t possible. While some special cases may occur, the general rule stands true, and should be in the forefront in all of our lives.

The Bottom Line: You reap what you sow.