Changing your mindset: The defining principle behind 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

You know that saying, “you are your own worst enemy”?  It couldn’t be anymore true.  We, as individuals, are our own worst critics.  Who else is with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and knows every detail of your life, every thought, every secret, every capability…  only you!  Once you realize that you have more control over your life than you allow yourself to have, you can shift your mindset.  You can shift the way you view or perceive situations and their expected outcome.  In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey refers to this as the “paradigm shift”.  It is the way we perceive the world and the mental map that we use to base our actions.

Here is a simple exercise to kind of put things into perspective.  Think about all of the things you have to do this week.  Now state your list of things out loud:  I have to [cook dinner]I have to [make the bed] I have to [take out the trash]. Etc. etc.  Now, take a moment to go over that same list again, but this time instead of using the terms “I have to” replace that with the term “I want to”:  I want to [cook dinner]I want to [make the bed].  I want to [take out the trash].  Now pause and think for a moment, how did replacing “I have to” with “I want to” make you feel?  Were there different feelings attached to the situations depending which term you used?  Did it make you feel more positive to do something by saying “I want to” do this versus “I have to”?  What you experienced is the paradigm shift.

A paradigm shift is necessary in positive decision-making.  Emotional intelligence takes effort and, most importantly, time.  Now, you are not always going to be able to quickly change your mindset in situations.  But if you can at least exercise awareness, it is a step towards the right direction.  The way you view things and make assumptions can greatly dictate the outcome of a situation.  You have control.  You can decide on your attitude and how you allow things to affect you.  Now, this isn’t a catch-all for every situation in life.  Obviously, as humans, no one is perfect and you are allowed to have feelings, but you should be aware that there is hope, and that by empowering yourself you are capable of accomplishing great things.

This book really motivated me to move forward with this blog.  I’m a pretty private individual, but I really wanted a creative outlet to reach out to people to inspire and motivate them to try something different and fun.  I highly recommend reading the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People.  At the least, it will leave you with a sense of empowerment and, hopefully, it will inspire you to take action.  Because, at the end of the day, you can have all the best tools in the world, but unless you make a conscious decision to use them, they won’t serve you any purpose.

The Seven Habits:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with an end in mind.
  3. Put first things first.
  4. Think win-win.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  6. Synergize.
  7. Sharpen the saw.

Know that you are important, you are loved, and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.  XOXO

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