Habits: the building blocks of change

“Sow a thought, and you reap an action; sow and action, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”        

  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 ‘’WE CAN’T CHANGE THE FRUIT WITHOUT CHANGING THE ROOT’’                                                                                                      – Stephen Covey

The most important aspect of nurturing a tree is to water the roots. Similarly, cultivating good habits is the most important aspect of nurturing one-self. If we want to excel in life, we need to track our habits. Stephen Covey’s ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ is a great guide to inculcating positive habits, thereby eliminating the negative ones. This is exactly what the Life class was all about; nurturing the roots of our character by incorporating positive and life changing habits.

The life classes were very thought provoking and revealed various aspects of life that I need to work on. I just didn’t realize when the life class journey culminated. It has really helped me to become self-confident. The ‘Death Activity’ taught us the importance of time by focusing on the activity which has the highest priority. A quote by Mahatma Gandhi is along the same lines – “ Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.“ I learnt how to be more proactive by managing my schedule in a way that we always are mostly in the ideal quadrant i.e. the 2nd quadrant (not urgent and important). The Eisenhower Matrix, also referred to as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is practically helping me in prioritizing the tasks at hand.

“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest; we have to be more disciplined than the rest.” -Warren Buffett

Self discipline and self mastery is a prerequisite for building healthy relationships with others. Stephen Covey calls this the habit of ‘personal management’. This is about organising and implementing activities in line with the goals outlined in habit 2. Stephen Covey says that habit 2 (At the beginning of any activity, keeping the end goal in mind) comes first, while habit 3 (Prioritization) comes second. Let me share an example wherein I tried to incorporate these habits to manage my time. The end goal was clear to me(habit 2), however that wasn’t enough to make it happen. Dreaming about it was never going to make it a reality because there is no substitute for hard work. I started maintaining a ‘To do list’ on a weekly basis outlining the activities and their priorities. The key point is that I learnt to be persistent and not give up when there are failures or setbacks.

The philosophy of EBA (Emotional Bank Account) was something that I came across for the first time.I can clearly envision the power of this philosophy because it can improve one’s relationship with others, which is a very difficult thing to do.

The habit on which I need to work upon the most is ‘Sharpen the saw’ which is the habit of self renewal. Covey divides this habit into four components – the spiritual, mental, physical and the social/emotional. It encompasses all the other habits and encourages and enables them to grow. We cannot achieve success in our lives if we are not nurturing the four parts.

In a nutshell, a life class has the potency to change a person’s approach towards life. It has helped me to become a better individual; a person who listens empathetically and who acts proactively.


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