I just finished The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Talk about life changing, inspiring, uplifting. If I follow through and apply the principles that were clarified for me in this book, I will be a far more mature, desirable and useful person. Everyone should read this book! There were many parts that warrant sharing but this one toward the end, talking about sharpening your saw, really jumped out at me.
“Just as the education of nerve and sinew is vital to the excellent athlete and education of the mind is vital to the scholar, education of the conscience is vital to the truly proactive, highly effective person. Training and educating the conscience, however, requires even greater concentration, more balanced discipline, more consistently honest living. It requires regular feasting on inspiring literature, thinking noble thoughts and, above all, living in harmony with its still small voice.
Just as junk food and lack of exercise can ruin an athlete’s condition, those things that are obscene, crude, or pornographic can breed an inner darkness that numbs our higher sensibilities and substitutes the social conscience of “Will I be found out?” for the natural or divine conscience of “What is right and wrong?”
In the worlds of Dag Hammarskjold,
You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds.
Once we are self-aware, we must choose purposes and principles to live by; otherwise the vacuum will be filled, and we will lose our self-awareness and become like groveling animals who live primarily for survival and propagation. People who exist on that level aren’t living; they are “being lived.” They are reacting, unaware of the unique endowments that lie dormant and undeveloped within.
And there is no shortcut to developing them. The law of the harvest governs; we will always reap what we sow—no more, no less. The law of justice is immutable, and the closer we align ourselves with correct principles, the better our judgment will be about how the world operates and the more accurate our paradigms—our maps of the territory—will be.”
I could go on and on but I won’t. I’m excited to integrate these lessons into my life, with greater awareness and understanding, and see what the results are down the road.