Friday, July 20, 2012

7 Habits

I've been a fan of self-help books long before I knew what they were; the first one I ever bought (I've still got it) was called 'Teach yourself speed mathematics simplified' by Edward Stoddard.  I was about 9, and it seems to be this one.

Stephen Covey - arguably the Prince of Self-help writers - died this week in his 90th year.  His classic, 'The 7 habits of highly effective people' has sold going on for 25 million copies.  Stuart Olyott put me on to it some years ago.

Covey was a Mormon, devout and committed.  It showed in his magnum opus, since it lay great stress on character, rather than techniques.  (While I've no agreement with Mormon theology, they do lay great stress on character - at least in theory.  I don't know about the practise.)

The '7 habits' seem very obvious once they're articulated.  Have you ever noticed - the best ideas almost always do?  Here they are:

  • 1. Be proactive
  • 2. Always begin with the end in mind.
  • 3. First things first.
  • 4. Go for win/win solutions to problems - they often exist.
  • 5. First understand others, then labour to be understood.
  • 6. Synergise (work as a team, with each member doing what they're best at).
  • 7. Sharpen the saw - renew yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

Over the next couple of weeks I plan to look at each of these (or at least some of them) and blog about how they may be applied to pastoral ministry.  Who knows?  I may learn something!

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