PHPB Book Club: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Review

Seven Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has always struck my interest because in my world being able to do more with the amount of time I have is high on my priority list.  The book does give some clear instruction on structuring your life to find more time for the most important things, but the biggest and best surprise of the book was how it reframes how you look at life, starting with you and moving to impact the family, relationships, and businesses around you.  It is no wonder why this book is a classic as it empowers a way to think about the solutions of life instead of the problems that are sure to come.  Within the seven habits described of the book are practical examples as well as instructions on how to get started in actually appalling the habits to your own life.  As a basis covers the root of the problem and explores how it can be addressed through developing the habits focused on in the book

Paradigms: In this section you begin to rethink problems as external forces and internalize the role you play in seeing and fixing the problem.  Through the process of moving to a principle centered paradigm in which to see the world the shift can occur to change perceptions, ourselves and eventually situations.

Habit 1: Be Proactive – This habit focuses on how to take what is going on externally and processing what can be done internally that essentially makes you a proactive person.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind – As a kid I always cheated when it came to mazes and started at the exit.  Something about the process gave some clarity and seemed to make the path to get back to the beginning crystal clear.  Likewise in life we can start off heading towards a goal but get lost in the activity trap that leads to a dead end.  This step walks through the way to visualize the goal in mind and then creating a physical path to that goal.

Habit 3: Put First things First – This is the action component to the first two steps as you take a long look at why you are missing out on your effectiveness possibility.  By becoming more of a self-manager in planning roles, goals and scheduling you can adapt to the things that are really most important in your life on a daily basis.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win – This habit moves from the inside out wins and begins to impact those you interact with.  While the position between two people can vary with those who lose and those who win, this habit sets a definitive goal of win/win where both parties have a mutual benefit.  By building character, relationships, and agreements you can use this principle to springboard into relationships of tremendous synergy.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood – Instead of believing you have to put yourself first to win, this habit focuses on reaching goals of interdependence starting from others perspectives.  By learning to listen empathically you risk vulnerability but gain the ability to identify the needs of others and move them towards the steps to satisfy them which is true motivation.

Habit 6: Synergize – The truth is two heads are better than one and when you focus on synergy you get a result of parts that are unified and power unleashed so the whole is better.  By valuing the differences in others you can begin to build trust in the relationships and communications that open up creative possibilities.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – As we see in the season, the world is made to renew itself, so why should we be any different.  The final habit builds all the other habits because it focuses on putting yourself in a constant process of renewal of your physical, mental, spiritual, and social/emotional components.  Allowing myself this “empower hour” every day to continue my development to be a better person has been one of the most rewarding gifts this book has to offer for me.

What I thought would be a book on how to fit more in a day turned out to be a book that unlocked possibilities on how to motivate myself and others to work smarter, not harder towards the goals I have for my life.  This book is a great one to shed insight on yourself and others and provides some real life instructions on the road to being the best you can be.

PHPB Book Club: Outwitting the Devil

The two sides of meFebruary I again set off on the road into my own self-improvement in my yearlong exploration into books meant to give me some perspective and empower my steps for the rest of 2015 and beyond.  First up in February was Outwiting the Devil by Napoleon Hill.

I choose Outwitting the Devil because I was such a big fan of Think and Grow Rich.  Outwitting the Devil acts as a guide when you are facing a fork in the road between defeat and victory and works as a great reminder of the forces at work all of around you and the part you can play in it.  By taking a look at the fork in the road from success to freedom the book details reasons why we fail and hopefully some skills in learning how to win.

As knowing is half the battle on the road to self-improvement these tips are helpful, however, what made me stop in my tracks is the theme of drifting.  A drifter is always pointing all around at the people, places, and events that prevented them from what they feel like they deserve.  When some of the examples hit a little too close to home I had to take a break and really examine myself.  Despite working hard and being driven there are times when I just let layback and rest on what I have done instead of what I intended to do in choosing the direction for my life.  From the times I play space cadet at my desk to the times I choose checking Instagram or playing Candy Crush instead of checking something off my to do list.  Like it or not that is drifting and good reason or not building those habits stand in the way of achieving goals

Luckily there is a way out of the drifting trap and it is not as impossible as one might think.  Choosing exactly what you want coupled with putting in the work to get it before you receive it is the universal heal all.  Once these habits replace those that let outside forces reign not only do you begin to see process with you but the world complies as well.  Outwitting the Devil definitely drew on the same foundation of Think and Grow Rich but in a sense tackled a much more personal struggle we all face to be the masters of our fate or let the storm around us be the deciding factor of our success.  I loved the balance encouraged by the book and its emphasis on the good forces that are out there for everyone to harness to find their success.

Stay tuned for 48 Laws of Power which takes on success in how you interact with others on the road of either your success of failure.



Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don't Worry Be Happy When I was a kid “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin was one of the wake up songs my mom would blast through the house early in the morning.  The narrow lyrics of the song tells how trouble and problems seem to increase when you spend lots of time worrying about them.  These simple words still ring true even though worry can be an irresistible companion at times when you are knee deep in trouble.  While creeping up in the disguise of being prepared or realistic about problems worry can take over your life and change the movement you have in addressing your problems to being stuck in the mud of troubles.

The worst thing about worry is that its real goal is to eat up our most precious resource: time.  Once you see trouble on the horizon or even when you are knee deep in it, the thoughts surrounding those troubles can quickly eat up tons of time.  If you need to pay the rent and your money is funny the thoughts of the impending trouble can wake you up early in the morning and keep you up late at night.  Worry, as the slippery character it is, looks a lot like you are preparing for the worst.

            What you will do next?  Where do you go?  How do you get there?

As those thoughts fill your mind it can trick you to think by worrying you are working towards a solution.

The problem is that in this deceit of worry you forget one of the most important components of solving problems, ACTION.   With the time you spend worrying you could be working towards a solution.  Even if your idea is not a great one once you put it to action you are actively working to wave away the clouds of worry to get to where you can see things clearly.  Action breeds action and worry just breeds more worry.  Thinking about trouble or problems can be a great thing when you tie it to an action plan on what to do to address those same troubles and problems.  Here are some steps I take to combat worry and turn those thoughts into a plan.

  1. Recognize when your thoughts turn to worry
  2. Accept that worrying does not change the troubles or problems on the horizon
  3. Start a list when you start to worry (action breeds action so think of some things in your control that can start to address the problem)
  4. Accept your plans may not be a complete solution (something is always better than nothing)
  5. Start working your plan (take the first step and trust that further steps will come to you later)

The steps may be simple but they are an easy way to settle your mind about the things out of your control and motivate your mind on the things in your control…YOU!!!