A decade or so ago “7 Habits” was THE thing for getting life together. A side controversy for some Christians was the dilemma arising from the fact that the author was a Mormon. But, the Mormon ideas of man becoming god and such really aren’t on display. Essentially Covey read a bunch of growth/productivity stuff, much of which was very Biblically influenced. He then compiled his observations in as brief a format as he could. These observations seem to fit with life. Essentially that argument is as follows:
If you are always reacting to your circumstances you are like a boat without a rudder. No reason to expect anything but chronic crisis and ‘bad luck’. What makes the difference between most ‘victim-minded’ people and over-comers? Taking responsibility; for themselves 1st.
The move is from dependence to interdependence by being intentional. Choose to pursue something and then do what will actually get you there. Sounds obvious, but darned if we are prone to missing the obvious. We do all sorts of stuff for reasons that sound pretty lame when we get asked: “why do you do that?”
Supposing we take responsibility for our lives we then achieve independence. We are more or less in control of ourselves (for a given project/role etc.). But that is not a successful life. That is lonely and limited. Life is lived with others. The goal of breaking from dependence is so that one isn’t just an echo of others; they actually have a voice, something to contribute.
How then do we integrate what we now have to offer with others? The mindset starts with goodness. The goal isn’t to ‘beat’ others, it is to share in ways that more good occurs for you and them. So, you take the time to understand who others are and what they have to contribute to a given task/role and as appropriate you share what you have to offer. Then, in cooperation the combo becomes more than the sum of its parts.
The result? Community that works. Tribe. You give and get, not by dominating or being dominating, but by unity in diversity. The challenge then is to stay fresh as new roles and challenges present themselves. Sounds quite sensible, really.
Dependence – danger of being reactionary. Symptoms? Crisis / Withdraw / Crisis
- “be proactive” – you are a spirit/will. Act like it. Choose
- “begin with the end in mind” treasure wisely – what will have mattered when all is done?
- “put 1st things 1st” – put off what won’t get there and put on what will
Independence – now you have something to offer. To whom? In what way?
- “think win/win” join with others with idea of beneficial cooperation (Garden City)
- “understand/understood” take in info to determine what info to contribute
- “synergize” gifts working together multiply effectiveness
- Interdependence – TRIBE. You belong to something bigger than you
“Sharpen the Saw” – keep learning and flowing through the cycle
Is this really legit?
Consider the call to move from being reactionary to the impulses of the ‘world’:
Romans 12:1-5 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (3) For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (4) For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, (5) so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
World > body > mind > will = conformed to this world.
“Body as living sacrifice” means you break the addiction to the world dictating who you are and what you desire and thus do. Stop being a reactionary consumerist! (something like that).
“Transformed by the renewal of your mind” means you have different choices than what the world offers. Free from being reactionary you have a chance to exercise your will wisely. This is of course “by the mercies of God”. Then we can go for what is best.
BUT: don’t get too puffed up, we need others. The end goal is that we are 1 body in Christ, unity in diversity.