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Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us – Oliver Wendell Holme

Start with an understanding of your destination. To know where you want to go, you need to know where you are.

It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy — very busy — without being very effective.

There are many empty victories, successes that have come at the expense of more valuable things. Doctors, academics, actors, politicians, athletes, plumbers and business professionals struggle to make more money or get more recognition, until they find out that the things that mattered most were now gone because they were blinded by their goals.

By Design or Default

All things are created twice, but the first creation might not be by conscious design. If you are not self-aware and become aware of your first creations, you empower others and circumstances outside your control to shape your life. You reactively live according to scripts handed to you by other family, associates, and circumstance, but these scripts come from deep vulnerabilities and a dependency on others for validation.

The choice you make is being a second creation of your own proactive design, or a by-product of other people’s agendas. Self-awareness, imagination, and your conscience allow you to change your first creation.

Habit 1 says, “You are the creator.” Habit 2 is the first creation.

Leadership and Management – The Two Creations

Habit 2 is based on principles of personal leadership – that is, leadership is the first creation. Management is the second creation. Management focuses on the bottom line: “How can I best accomplish something?” Leadership focuses on the top line: “What do I want to accomplish?”

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

Management is about how efficiently you climb the ladder of success, leadership determines if the ladder is leaning against the appropriate wall.

The process of rewriting your own script is Paradigm Shifting – it is changing some basic ideas that have been ineffective, incorrect, or incomplete.

In the Nazi death camps where Viktor Frankl learned the principle of proactivity, he also learned the importance of purpose, of meaning in life. The essence of “logotherapy,” the philosophy he later developed and taught, is that many so-called mental and emotional illnesses are really symptoms of an underlying sense of meaninglessness or emptiness. Logotherapy eliminates that emptiness by helping the individual to detect his unique meaning, his mission in life.

Having a mission means knowing which basic direction you want to set your short and long-term goals. This endows you with the power of a written constitution that is based on the right principles. You can then measure the effectiveness of your decisions – concerning where you allocate your time and energy – against this constitution.

Principle Center

Instead of being money, possession, career, or pleasure centered, it is better to be principle centered. Correct principles remain valid even during times of change and uncertainty,

Even when most people ignore principles, history teaches us that these principles have stood the test of time, they have endured many changes and encountered many turbulent times, yet people continue to return to them. The reason is that they can be easily validated by personal experience.

Principles are deep, fundamental truths, classic truths, generic common denominators. They are tightly interwoven threads running with exactness, consistency, beauty, and strength through the fabric of life.

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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