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7 habits of greater effectiveness

Abundance can emerge in the form of affluence and prosperity, as well as in the form of knowledge and opportunities that could benefit your business. The key to wealth is to find ways to continue learning by challenging ourselves to redefine good fortune. You may start a new business, take a course, or take other steps to somehow better yourself and share your assets so others may benefit from your lessons.

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests how each of us can develop the tools needed to create wealth and fulfillment in our lives.

Habit #1: Be Proactive: these people do more than take initiatives.  They recognize they're responsible for their own choices and have the freedom to choose based on princles and values rather than on moods and conditions. These individuals are agents of change.

Habit #2: Begin with the end in Mind: these people shape their own future by creating a mental vision and purpose for individual projects.  They identify and commit themselves to relationships, principles and purposes that matter most to them.

Habit #3: Put First Things First: these people effectively organize and execute priorities. Come what may, they're driven by their principles and undeterred by changing external circumstances. They roll with the punches.

Habit #4: Think Win-Win: these people seek mutual benefit and mutual respect in all interactions. They think in terms of abundance, opportunity and collective "we" not ego. The aim to continually build more trusting relationships orients their emotional investments.

Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, then be Understood: these people use courage and consideration to listen with intent. They aim to get to know their market, audience, or other focus of their energies so their effort is well-targeted and people benefit. They seek first to be attentive and absorb and later reply openly to build effective exchanges. They aren't afraid to ask questions and prioritize views.

Habit #6:Synergize: these people seek to negotiate and compromise. They're willing to sacrifice part of their position in creative ways in order to respect or value another person's differences.

Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw: these people constantly improve themselves in physical, social-emotional, mental and spiritual areas of their lives. They aim to be well-rounded and promote balance as an example. This increases all habits of effectiveness.


Tap into your potential

You are the key to your own achievements.  You are a bubbling source of infinite ideas that is within your control.  You emit the frequency of energy you need to clarify your next project.  Whenever you receive anything, from a grade on a test, to the assistance of a friend, recognize that you brought it all on yourself.  Who you were is less important than who you choose to become.  Focus energy on what you want and those undesireables will move out of your life.

Goal-setting is a systematic way of motivating yourself to overcome obstacles.  Do it for yourself.  As you intentionally identify something to work toward, the biggest thing to do is just start.  Your attitude can act as your compass.  You will chart out a course to follow.  You are the captain of your own ship.   As you take one step at-a-time, you can learn to overcome self-defeating thoughts, destructive patterns and beliefs outside yourself that hold you back.

Identify the nature of your goal.  Does it concern your personal life? Your job? Your spiritual pursuits? Your leisure activities? Put a realistic timeframe on what you aim to accomplish. You may wish to reach out for advice or assistance to help get you on your way.  Talking about your plans makes you more likely to realize them.  Other people who know can also encourage you.  With perseverence and focus, you will commit to make it happen.

Try these affirmations (and feel free to add your own):

I will accomplish my task before that approaching deadline.

I am building the stamina and endurance to finish the annual marathon.

I believe that external problem will resolve itself if I focus more on my inner growth.

I trust that studying hard will result in good scores on my tests.

I plan to achieve that weightloss milestone before my next birthday.

I diligently invest money to save for my retirement.


Fact & faith

If deepening human values is intrinsic to our human quest for happiness, then it would be in our interest to develop a more holistic and integrated way of learning about the world.  What if it became manditory to explore both the seen and unseen?  To reflect on what is perceptible and imperceptible? To ponder equal rationale for fact and faith? What if spirituality and science were both used as accepted and complimentary means of investigating human existence and survival? 

As it stands, people often take a scientific view or a spiritual view rather than consider them together.  Historical, socio-economic and policial reasons aim to convince us they must be separate. We're led to believe scientific facts are meant to disprove the logic of faith, mysteries and uncertainty.  While the significance and influence of modern Science redefine our motive for curiosity, Science is not the only basis for all that is known and that is also yet to be discovered.

Science definitely has implications for how we understand our world. What we consider to be acceptable or unacceptable behavior in ourselves and in leaders is influenced by perceived morals of scientists.  How susceptible are we to the influence of views around us?  Science develops and draws information from repeatable experiments and empircal data. We choose to believe the discovered limits of gravity, relativity, light, water and other physical laws or face the predicted consequences. 

At times, challenging limits leads us to fascinating new discoveries.  Consider the Earth was once considered to be flat and it used to be assumed we couldn't prove travel was possible beyond the understood speed of light.  These limits were shattered because humans questioned elements of Science.  If humans were to suddenly take everything as is currently understood to be true, then we would cease learning.

Spiritual views remind us that it would not be in the interest of Humanity if we simply act to facilitate scientific progress at the expense of everything else which offers insight about our world.  To recognize that other valuable ways of perceiving and understanding exist reminds us our motives for using Science should include heart and mind.  We also benefit from recognizing that Science is not well-equipped to answer philosophical questions, such as the meaning of life, which go beyond calculations and predictions of probability.   Human existence isn't limited to the facts that Science offers to provide.  To look beyond supposed facts, we must take a leap of faith.


Discuss things that matter

Talking openly about what's on your mind may seem like a huge risk.  You may be afraid of what others would think.  Would they reject you?  Would they laugh? Would they oppose you? Would their reactions matter to you at all?  The prospect of conflict or competition can be a huge deterrent.  Yet, isolating yourself and keeping quiet isn't typically a fulfilling choice.  Which steps could you take to learn to cope and finally get to the crux of what matters?

You could begin by learning to understand the reasons why approval may be important to you.  If you do not receive a kind of approval from certain people, how does it affect your confidence?  It's time to liberate yourself from narrow forms of expression that could play into your fears.  By changing your inner attitudes, you can learn to overcome fear and realize it compromises your pursuits.

In the Tibetan Art of Serenity, Christopher Hansard offers 7 relevant steps for achievement:

1) Learn how to make decisions that are free from fear, so that your progress shall be clear.

2) Choose pursuits that you love and give them the best that is in you.

3) Seize opportunities based on a clear and serene mind.

4) Learn to live in perfect comfort with your higher levels of power.

5) Know that there are mental and spiritual energies dormant in you that will only wake when there is a need.

6) Be willing to go beyond your limits.

7) Be prepared to fail greatly so that you can achieve greatly.


Appearance versus reality

How we experience life and what we show the world can be very different.  You may have faced potentially dangerous situations in the street or in personal emergencies, because you or others assume that you can handle any situation.   Putting up a brave front may be like refusing to face your own vulnerability. 

Remind yourself feeling discomfort simply reminds you that you're human.  You're not expected to know everything.  Feelings of uneasiness don't compromise your strengths and abilities.  Discomfort is actually an invitation to learn reasons for your feelings, to develop courage, to reach out and ask for advice.  Open-mindedness can enable you to grow.  Consider these points for reflection:

1) What you don't know can harm you: this isn't simply a question of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Many accidents aren't predictable, but learning how to adapt and better understand human interactions is very useful.  No matter what the situation, you can make efforts to raise your awareness about what's going on within you.  By asking when you don't understand or don't know what to do, you'll make more effective and rewarding choices in many areas of your life.

2) When image is everything, esteem suffers: if you decide its crucial to portray yourself as emotionally or physically strong, even when you're not, you may end up playing limited roles in relationships and depriving yourself of warmth and compassion that would enable you to thrive.  The risk of sharing your inner self may be scary, yet if you don't do it, your relationship may not have the strength to last.

3)  If you don't feel heard, speak up: when people around you seem more articulate and aware of what's going on, they may not know as much as you think.  Don't expect them to read your mind.  You may feel disconnected or challenged.  Treat this as an opportunity to get-to-know yourself better and to enable other people to get-to-know the real you.  Express what's on your mind.