Did you ever pick up Steven R. Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”? At the end he has a little personal note about his personal belief that to really live the fullest life, you need to get help from the Creator. But the spiritual underbelly of the program is evident from the beginning.
Let’s have a look at the principles, and see their relationship to the spiritual life:
The first principal is “be proactive”, which is revealed to mean that you need to use the uniquely human attributes of (1) the ability to imagine other scenarios, (2) free will, and (3) consciousness of right and wrong. Belief in the existence and importance of free will and moral consciousness are spiritual beliefs: these are core questions about the meaning and purpose of human life that we can prove or disprove intellectually.
The second principal is “begin with the end in mind”. Here we are asked to soul-search and to come up with a personal mission statement akin to a business statement. We are asked to soul-search: to consider his suggestion that the center of life should be timeless principles like his habits and to ask ourselves what the center of our lives are, and write out a set of rules for our lives. Why should the center of life be timeless principles? Because focusing primarily on pleasing our drives, other people, or institutions doesn’t work: our self-value and -direction needs to come from within, and that means we need to follow the correct roadmap, which are these timeless, and therefore stable and dependable values and principles. Why soul-searching, as opposed to just following a scientifically proven formula? Because we need to internalize and understand our principles: they are deeper than mere ideas and mere directions: they are signposts towards Reality, towards living in accordance with the way things really are. So both the need to center ourselves around principles and the way to find our center require spiritual effort: you can’t just follow a formula or agree to some rules: you need to go deep within yourself and find that mysterious connection between ideas, feelings and the Wisdom that alone understands in what way values like “be honest” and “be kind” actually matter.
The third principle is “put first things first”. As Covey points out, this one is less about leadership and more about management: we need to minimize the time spent on immediate+unimportant, nonimmediate+unimportant, and immediate+important; and maximize the time spent on nonimmediate+important (so we can stay ahead of things). That’s pretty standard and common sensical, but of course as part of this larger project of personal growth and self-empowerment based on free will, moral consciousness, other timeless principles, and reliant on a heavy amount of soul-searching, it is part of a spiritual quest.
Those first three principles are about personal development. The next three about working with others, which Covey maintains is required for us to reach our full human potential. This again is a spiritual belief: a statement about the meaning and purpose of life that you can’t prove or disprove intellectually, but that you can pray and mediate upon and in this way grow a whole-being insight into.
Principles four, five and six are “seek first to understand then to be understood”, “seek win-win” and “synergize”.
Let’s return to this advertisement later.
Author: BW; Editor: AW; Copyright: A Watson
This Logbook becomes a chapter book at Logbook of a Pure Love Mogul: Chapters