First from 7 habits by Stephen Covey Summary
Habit #1: Be Proactive
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness. We need a pause button that we can press to enable us to stop between what happens to us and our response to it.
Habit #1 is the ability to act based on principles and values rather than on emotion or circumstance.
The ability to do this is based on four unique human gifts:
(1) Self-Awareness – the ability to stand back and observe our lives, thoughts, actions, etc.
(2) Conscience – an inner voice that helps us to evaluate what we observe.
(3) Imagination – the ability to see something different from past experiences or responses.
(4) Independent will – the power to take action. Habit #1 is the key to all the other habits – the power to choose!
We must learn how to focus on things that we can do something about. There are things that we can be concerned about (our circle of concern) but there are things that we are able to influence (circle of influence). We need to focus on our circle of influence.
How do we put this habit into practise?
The Emotional Bank Account illustration is helpful. In our relationships with people we make "deposits" (proactively doing things that build trust in the relationship) or "withdrawals" (reactively doing things that decrease trust in the relationship). The balance of trust in the account determines how well we will communicate and solve problems with another person.
The following deposits need to be made:
1. Be Kind – using words or phrases like thank you, please, excuse me, you go first, may I help you? Performing unexpected acts of service – helping with the dishes, kids, etc. Finding little ways to express love – through notes, expressing appreciation, giving compliments.
2. Apologise – saying I am sorry. We must agree on the right to disagree – allow other people to see things differently.
3. Be Loyal to Those Not Present – Not criticising or gossipping behind the backs of family members. We must talk about others as if they were present. We should choose to focus on the positive rather than the negative. When we talk about weaknesses we do it in a responsible and constructive way.
4. Make and Keep Promises – Excitement and hope is created when a promise is made. Marriage vows and promises to take care of children should be kept.
5. Forgive – When we forgive we open the channels through which trust and unconditional love can flow.
These deposits are based on the three Primary Laws of Love (love that is unconditional):
(1) Acceptance rather than rejection;
(2) understanding rather than judgment; and
(3) participation rather than manipulation. We need to view every problem as an opportunity to make a deposit: someone's bad day is an opportunity to make a deposit; an offense is an opportunity to apologise and to forgive.
Follow the next habits next week… Blessed.. Enjoy!! Let's Build our family 🙂