That headline’s a quote from Dr. Steven Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a book I enjoyed reading in the 1990s.
Did you read it?
And if you did, can you remember any of those famous and much talked about seven habits? (Click the link above to refresh your memory.)
I once heard that question put to a psyched-up sales audience at a seminar, after someone stated how great the book was. The speaker then made a great point by asking the person to list all seven habits. With some effort they could remember perhaps three or four but, amazingly, none of the audience could list all seven!
The audio clip always reminds me just how easy it is to feel good about reading motivational books but not get anywhere from the time invested in doing so. Why? Because building habits such as applying the knowledge gained from a book or a seminar requires regular nurturing and exercising. Even when you don’t always want to do it.
Which brings me to the point of this post and to what I consider to be the most important of those seven habits.
Begin With the End in Mind.
This one I’ve remembered after all those years! It sounds and looks so simple, yet in only five words you have the formula for a lifetime of achievement.
Now, of course, I don’t think Dr. Covey has discovered something fundamentally new about the human condition to grow and improve. This is perennial wisdom passed down through many cultures and traditions. What I admire, however, is the succinctness with which Dr. Covey has summarized the power behind the throne, so to speak.
What I mean by power is the ability of humans to creatively and consciously imagine an outcome, and to then start turning it into reality.
Whether we succeed or not is a separate issue. What’s more important is to recognize that a creative act precedes both its gestation and eventual actuality.
In other words, and to paraphrase those of Dr. Covey:
Everything is created twice.
Now, until this morning, I hadn’t heard begin with the end in mind explained in that way so vividly.
A friend told me about a recording of a phone interview Dr. Covey did with the small business management guru, Jay Abraham, back in the 1990s.
So, I borrowed the mp3 file and came across this nugget within the first hour. Jay was coaxing Dr. Covey to expand on how many small business owners get distracted by tactical goals such as living the lifestyle and reacting to events, rather than being guided by a more expansive vision of what their business is all about to the people who interact with it i.e. customers, employees, shareholders, the owner etc.
And Dr. Covey’s second of the seven rules was put to the test by Jay and, I think, came out with flying colors when Dr. Covey used the metaphor of a house being built twice. First, it’s designed by the architect with (possibly) input from the buyer. Only then does construction begin and the plans become reality.
Everything is Created Twice: this is something I will be thinking about over the next few weeks in what I see as the major areas of my life.
Namely: career; family / friends: wealth; health; personal growth; spirituality
Finally, as 2011 draws to a close, I want to wish readers of this blog (all 7 of you!) a happy and safe New Year.
As I’ve written about before (see Our world shaken great depression 2), there are enormous geopolitical and economic forces at work (or at rest, depending on your politics), particularly in Europe, and none of us know how that will play out in the weeks (!) and months ahead.
Be well and be happy.