I received an e-mail yesterday from Baylor College of Medicine stating that students should read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People before orientation. I’m sure many of my classmates have already read this very popular book on personal change, so to avoid procrastinating on my first medical school “assignment”, I immediately purchased the book and read the first pair of chapters entitled ” Inside-Out” and “The Seven Habits – An Overview”. 🙂
The author, Dr. Stephen Covey, references this book’s utility as a lifetime guide rather than a one-time read. He encourages readers to really reflect on the stories and ideas to a point where they themselves can become a teacher of the seven habits. So over the next few days, I’ll probably write a post on each of the seven habits to not only help myself remember what I’ve learned but inspire my readers to have their own epiphanies.
The introduction offers a comparison between the Character Ethic and Personality Ethic. The former, which has unfortunately been pushed to the backseat in our modern society, focuses on principles inherent to all humans – honesty, integrity, intelligence, etc. The latter dwells mainly on how we adjust our personas to become exactly what society needs us to be. We change ourselves to be liked by others… to assimilate… or just to feel different.
Next, the author teaches us to live from the inside-out. As responsible individuals, it becomes a necessity to focus on how we can change ourselves rather than projecting the source of our problems on others.
Finally, Dr. Covey describes the P/PC (production/production capacity) ratio using the classic story of the goose that laid one golden egg per day. The greedy farmer wanted more golden eggs (P) faster, so he kills the goose in the hope of finding many eggs inside of it. He finds nothing. Now, not only has he eliminated his production capacity (PC), the goose, but entirely doomed his production (P). This lesson outlines the importance of nourishing your source (PC) to ensure a stable (P). One must also understand the delicate balance between the two factors.
For example, most students get an education (PC) to ultimately have a secure, well-paying job (P); however, if the student spends their entire life in education earning degree after degree without applying it to a career, (in other words, PC >> P), their maximum potential will never be attained. Likewise in the golden egg story where P >> PC, the demise of the goose (PC) ultimately leads to the demise of the golden egg supply (P).
Mahatma Ghandi once said:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
As individuals aspiring to achieve the highest level of success, we have to find it within ourselves to create change. Whether it’s in marriage, friendship, or business relationships, we have to focus on the Character Ethic, harnessing the principles of integrity, honesty, etc. to drive us onto the proper path.