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Do you want an effective life? To know that you accomplished more than simply marking time until the next paycheck? I’ve felt like I’ve been spinning my wheels this summer in the quagmire of multiple baseball games, basketball camps, my brother’s wedding, work deadlines, abandoned writing goals, and more.

Instead of feeling recharged, I’m weary. Instead of building something, I feel like the foundation is cracked. If I want to get somewhere in this journey called life, something has to change! Time to work smarter instead of harder. So I started thinking about what I needed to do differently … and remembered a challenging book that was required reading way back when I was in college.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is as thought-provoking today as it was then and offers us valuable tools for the journey in the form of seven habits to develop. As he writes, “If you want to achieve your highest aspirations and overcome your greatest challenges, identify and apply the principle or natural law that governs the results you seek.”

He maintains that character is both foundational and catalytic since an intrinsically-flawed foundation will not lead to long-term success. That character must be developed through a natural growth process from dependence to independence to interdependence. That character is a composite of our habits. That private victories (inward change) precede public victories (relationship success). That we must find the balance between production capability and production results. (i.e. don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.)

The seven habits the author proposes are:
Be proactive.
Begin with the end in mind.
Put first things first.
Think win/win.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Synergize.
Sharpen the saw.

It will be a challenging seven weeks as we take a closer look at these essential habits.

What about you? Are you effective in life? Why or why not? What do you think is essential to success?

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