Personal vision is simply self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability of one to look at themselves as if they were viewing another person, or having an out of body experience. We can look at ourselves physically this way but also emotionally. We can separate ourselves from our thoughts like this, too; making it easier for us to identify the thoughts and habits that are holding us back, or are negative in nature.
You might have been told a few times that the world is your mirror? Well, Stephen Covey explains that if that is the case than the image being reflected back to us is very distorted. Stephen says the mirrored image the world reflects back at us is distorted because it provides input to us based upon what other people are projecting on to us. This projection includes their own character flaws and weaknesses. Who we are is not determined by our environment, DNA or upbringing. Who we are is who we choose to be!
For every action there is a reaction. But how often do folks choose the reaction they have in any given situation? How often do folks use their self-awareness to change the responses they often automatically exhibit based on environmental conditioning, upbringing, etcetera? Through self-awareness; Covey writes that we can gain great freedom because of our ability to function at a high psychological level; rescripting our unwanted behaviors after taking the time to identify what they are. This way we are not a slave to outside influences that we’d otherwise permit to control our reactions and feelings.
You can either be a proactive person or reactive person. Which do you choose? Proactive people in Stephen Covey’s Book are folks who are living their lives responding to situations through the decision making process rather than automatic responses based on conditions. Reactive people tend to live their lives based on letting conditions determine their reactions. A proactive person won’t truly be able to call themselves as such until they can honestly say that they are who they are right now because of the choices they have made up to this point.
Covey tells us that taking the initiative to solve problems and move ahead is essential to living a proactive life. Taking initiative to figure things out, as well as handle things without requiring our hand to be held, is what brings some people success.
Mr. Covey explains here that the difference between reactive people and proactive people is like night and day. He tells us that proactive people are those who can look at a situation that isn’t really that great, assess what is happening, and then make the choice to take initiative to positively improve the situation to the best of their ability. Mr. Covey warns us that this is not the same as positive thinking; people thinking positive in an effort to blot out the negative. He tells us that proactive people first face the facts before deciding what positive action may need to be taken to counter the current negativity of a situation.
The words we use can tell us a lot about whether or not we are reactive or proactive people. A reactive person will tell us they have to do things; using language that tells us that they are controlled by the external environment. Proactive people tell us they choose to do things and that they are not controlled by their environment. Proactives live a life largely based on their choices and own those choices as such.
Mr. Covey tells us under this heading that our circle of influence contains only the things we can control. Our circle of concern contains our circle of influence and so much more that we don’t have control over. Stephen writes here that Proactive people focus only on the things that they have control over and that by doing this are able to expand their circle of influence. He tells us that over time their circle of influence will become just as large as their circle of concern. However, he also says that this means that the proactive person’s circle of concern should naturally expand.
Direct control, indirect control and no control refer to situations and concerns that are all in our circle of influence. Those things we have direct control over can be positively influenced by us changing our habits. Those things that come under the category of indirect control are matters revolving around other people’s behavior. These matters are positively resolvable if we are willing to change our methods of influence. The stuff that we don’t have any control over can be managed in a more positive way by simply changing the way we look at things.
Can you expand your circle of influence to a point where you have control of situations that were once in your circle of concern? Sure you can! It’s pretty simple to do if you learn how to do things like… Continue reading Expanding the Circle of Influence: Habit 1: Be Proactive: Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People Book Chapter Summary.
Under this heading it’s explained that the have’s in life like, “I wish I had my house paid off,” or, “If only my spouse were more loving toward me,” come under the category of our circle of concern. The be’s in life all have to do with working on our character and habits. If we work on the be’s in our life, they will eventually bring the Have’s into our circle of influence.
We are informed here that we are free to choose our actions but not always free to choose the consequences of the actions we take. These consequences are based upon universal law. So, if our actions violate universal laws, then the consequences will reflect that accordingly. If we are experiencing negative consequences do to our chosen action, at the very least, we need to acknowledge the mistake that triggered them in the first place. Next we need to immediately correct the mistake if we can and, regardless of our ability to rectify what our action has caused to happen, “We must learn from the mistakes we make.”
Keeping promises to ourselves and others is important. Keeping promises to ourselves helps us to develop more self-respect and confidence. Keeping the promises we make to others helps them to grow to trust us more, too.
Under this heading Stephen R. Covey challenges us to be proactive for thirty days. He tells us to reframe from thinking that the problems we are experiencing are external ones. We are advised to take charge of our reactions towards them and work on ourselves (using what’s already been written in this book) in order to resolve the situations we face. It is also written here that we should be aware that our circle of influence will gradually begin to grow if we are willing to take up this challenge.