When I read Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People a few months ago, I was blown away by the beautifully Christian way that he approached human interaction. This book is so unlike other personal development books because it focuses on developing true depth of character. While I almost expected to get a watered-down view of humanity when I read this book, I received just the opposite. Rather, I learned so much about human nature and the need for good intentions in all our relationships.
I believe that everything we experience in life can shape our faith. The books that we read, the people that we associate with, the jobs that we take, and the trials that we experience all shape who we are and the way that we view the world. That is why it is so important to constantly be striving for growth in every area of our lives, no matter what we might be experiencing at the moment.
As I have looked at this book from a Catholic point of view, I have learned so many beautiful lessons. If you are unfamiliar with the 7 Habits, they are listed below. Knowing what they are will help you to understand what I have learned from this book…
Be Proactive + Begin with the End in Mind + Put First Things First + Think Win-Win + Seek First to Understand before Being Understood + Synergize + Sharpen the Saw
I learned the importance of putting first things first:
“Putting first things first means organizing and executing around your most important priorities. It is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by the agendas and forces surrounding you.”
For Catholics, our highest priority must always be our faith. And, for most people, our faith is made manifest through quality time spent with God.
I know for a fact that, if I don’t make time for my faith early in the morning, it probably won’t happen. And for me, that means I need to get up before the rest of my family and spend some intentional time with Christ.
Putting your first things first could include getting to daily mass, saying a rosary, spending time with family, or any number of other activities. The trick is deciding what is a true priority in your life and making sure that it always comes first.
I learned the importance of keeping heaven in mind:
“Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, and project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination.”
As we consider this principle under the light of Catholicism, we can see it from a very special light. When Christ came to earth to spread the joy of the gospel, He preached a message of preparation and forgiveness. He taught of the coming Kingdom and of the end of time. And He also taught that it’s never too late for us to ask for His forgiveness.
If we begin every aspect of life with heaven, our desired ‘End’, in mind, it is so much easier to see the importance of living a virtuous life and always striving for holiness.
No matter what success we may have on earth, this is not our home. And, even if we fail, it’s never too late to regain our spot in heaven. We can always ask Christ to redirect our steps So, always keep His end in mind.
I learned the importance of working together as a community:
“Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.”
As Christians and members of the true church, we are called to live in community with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to serve those less fortunate in a special way and to show them the light of Christ by our example and work.
These beautiful aspects of faith can not be exercised alone. They take a group effort. They take people who are willing to depend on each other just a bit. Just as Christ promises to take part of our load when we are weary, we must support those around us in this journey of life.
I learned the importance of pressing refresh sometimes:
“You must never become too busy sawing to sharpen the saw.”
Do you ever wonder why computers have a refresh button? I really didn’t until I read this book. Just like a computer needs to refresh, take a break, and restart every once and a while, we need to refresh as well. Like the above quote says, we cannot become too busy sawing to sharpen our saw.
Our ‘saw’ can be any number of things: our faith, career, school, hobby, health, etc. And while we must never “take a break” from our faith, we can definitely take a break from other things to strengthen our faith. This could include going on a retreat or receiving spiritual direction. The same idea applies to all the other areas of life.
So, don’t be afraid to take a step back and press that refresh button.