7 Ineffective Habits

One of the few self-help books that has ever worked for me is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey.

Briefly, Covey says those seven habits are:
  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the 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
Recently, The Guardian newspaper began a "Work Better" series of articles. It started with a riff on Covey's classic: 7 habits of highly ineffective people.

Here are my thoughts on the ineffective 7 that article author Robert Kelsey listed...

1. Procrastination

Despite prompting - you still do nothing. Once the pressure is gone, you revert to your old state. Strap a rocket to your back and head to the moon. You only need to break free of the gravity of your old ways... Then momentum will get you the rest of the way.

2. Avoiding direction

If you don't have any idea who you want to be in 10 years, you'll have no idea how to act in the next 10 minutes. (Yes, that's an echo of Warren Buffett's, "If you aren't prepared to own a stock for 10 years, don't even think of owning it for 10 minutes." But I think it works here in this context too.) See Matthew McConaughey's 2014 Academy Award acceptance speech about chasing his hero... the version of himself 10 years away.

3. Blaming others

This is outsourcing your own fate into the hands of others. And they won't care about you as much as you do.  Take responsibility and be as self-reliant as possible.

4. Obsessing about others' impact on us

It is okay to have a hero or mentor to inspire us. But what if you could become the inspiration for others? How effective might that be?

5. Having a fixed mindset

Do you believe who you are and what you can do has already been programmed? If so, you'll spend your life on the treadmill of proving your self-worth to others, over and over. Understand, you can "always be learning" and your life will open up to opportunity.

6. Ignoring progress

The ineffective tend to see positive results as "too little, too late." Realize, though, that progress is progress. Be grateful for it... A mind experiencing gratitude cannot simultaneously feel self-pity. There is power in gratitude. Be actively gracious for every small step of progress you make.

7. Every setback is a derailment

You've experienced a failure - hence you are a failure. How effective is that strategic thinking? If you even feel a twinge like that when faced with a setback, take it as a cue for self-improvement. Understand you are battling your own fixed mindset - see #5 above. Instead, what can you learn? Then move on.

Most of all, effective living boils down to answering this question, moment by moment: "What can I do right now to move forward?"

By Kevin Rokosh

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