In 1992 I stumbled on a book called Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It must have fallen into my hands because ordinarily I would never buy a business-y kind of book.
I read that Covey passed away last year at what I’m coming to think of as not-that-old 79 yrs.
Covey was a businessman, educator and keynote speaker as well as an author of many books, and he left quite a legacy.
I’ve surely benefited from his wisdom:
- I learned how to better manage my time by seeing the difference between urgent and non-urgent activities, and by creating a healthy balance among my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Just as we try to do in yoga.
- I learned the importance of building an emotional bank account*. This means that with your significant other, your kids, and those closest to you, you make sure that more positive words, acts and deeds go into the account than are spent in upsets. I’m sure this technique has helped save my marriage and family relationships.
- I learned that someone’s ‘bad day’ can be an opportunity to be kind, and that a slight or offence could be an opportunity to apologise or forgive.
- And finally, I got that when I’m in the presence of someone gossiping, it’s an opportunity to be loyal to those not present. How do you do this? By not participating in gossip, either as the conveyer or listener.
I revisited Covey’s book today after listening to a friend who was gossiping about their neighbours, and I realised there were two things that disturbed me: 1) if I ever met these neighbours, I would likely be predisposed to seeing them in a bad light, and 2) I wonder if one day I might be the butt of a my friend’s gossip.
*The emotional bank account represents the quality of the relationship that you have with another person. You can make deposits by proactively doing things that build trust in the relationship, or you can make withdrawals by reactively doing things that decrease the level of trust. The balance of trust in the account determines how well you communicate and solve problems with another person. – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families – by Stephen Covey