A Book Which Changed My Life
A Book Which Shifts Life's Paradigm. What is a Shift in Paradigm?
We use to interpret everything surrounding us from our own perspective. This perspective is our paradigm and it is based on all the beliefs we have about life. Our perspective is our inner truth, acquired through education and through our personal life experiences.
During our lifetime, it happens us to get into situations when we experience instantly a shift of this paradigm. We see the same old things in a completely new light. This happens when something or someone determines us to see things different, to give them another meaning.
To understand the tremendous effect a shift in paradigm might have, look to the picture at left. It worth a thousand words. What do you see: a duck or a rabbit?
The transformation of our own perspective could be determined by a life circumstance we encounter, by a special person we meet, by a movie we see or a book we read.
The shift could be so great, so powerful that we start to see our life completely different. We see everything in a new light and so our lives' circumstances change.
Image Credit: "Is it a duck? Is it a rabbit?" Public Domain Media File
Definition of Paradigm
The paradigm is the point of view through which someone sees a reality.
Example: loosing job could be seen as a personal drama or as an opportunity to start something new.
What Is a Shift in Paradigm?
You shift paradigm when you start to see something in a new light.
Example: Stop complaining about loosing the job and start looking for new opportunities.
After Reading This Book, My Life Really Changed. No Kidding!
I had never thought before that a single book could have such an impact.
A Book and A New Thinking Habit That Changed My Whole Life
Everything took place 15 years ago, when I discovered and read (many times since!) "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey.
Reading this book, I realized for the first time in my life that everything we live is determined entirely by us, by our perceptions, decisions and actions
BE PROACTIVE AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE. This was Covey's advice which made me think differently and made me understand that things in our lives doesn't happen TO us; they happen THROUGH us.
I understood that I CAN be the CREATOR of my life. The shift in paradigm made me pass from being a VICTIM to becoming a CREATOR.
Before changing perspective, I really was a VICTIM. Everything in my life had happened to me because of other people, of bad luck or of an unfavorable fate. Anytime I failed, someone or something from outside myself was guilty for that. I used to search for excuses and reasons why I failed outside myself. I never thought that my own thoughts and my own actions could be the trigger of the circumstances I encounter in my life.
START WITH THE END IN MIND made me wake up and understand that until that moment I let my life pass me by. I realized that I have the power to really build my own life, I understand that my life can be as I want it to be and no one else have any power over me.
Since I discovered this new paradigm, I have developed a new habit: anytime something goes wrong, I stop thinking about "who is guilty" and I analyse my own thoughts, behavior and actions.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The 7 Habits: - Get Them and Change Your Life!
- Habit 1: Be Proactive -- Take responsibility for your life.
- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind -- Define your mission and goals in life.
- Habit 3: Put First Things First -- Prioritize, and do the most important things first.
- Habit 4: Think Win-Win -- Have an everyone-can-win attitude.
- Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood -- Listen to people sincerely.
- Habit 6: Synergize -- Work together to achieve more.
- Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw -- Renew yourself regularly.
Books That Change Your Life - A Book To Read and Re-Read
This book is so well known that we might skip it! We think we know everything about it and go look for new books.
Though, we owe a lot to the classics. They help us to evolve. They are those wise people who put the bricks of the knowledge we acquired until present.
It is like we walk everyday through our own city or town and we know all the buildings so well that we don't notice them. If someone asks us to describe them, we realize that we never really saw them.
Be proactive and take responsibility for your life
What's A Habit?
Behavior Habits and Thinking Habits
Reading Stephen Covey's book I not only realized that there is another way of looking to my own life, but I also understand something else: our lives are build on HABITS. Everything we do in our daily life is based on what we ARE USED TO DO.
We are used to eat some specific things in the morning, we are used to take a certain road when going to work, we are used to shop at the same stores the same things; when we arrive home we push immediately the TV set button and during weekends we use to spend our free time in quite the same way... Almost 90% of what we are doing is on auto pilot.
Our thoughts are also HABITS, thinking habits. We interpret automatically everything occurring to us through our beliefs.
Believing that my life is determined by outer factors, I used to see everything happening to me as the result of an external cause. If I couldn't find something on my desk, I immediately thought that one of my colleagues took it. When my boss was upset on me for not finishing a project in due time, my team was guilty for not listening to me. When my child didn't follow my advice, she was guilty for being stubborn, and so on...
Without even knowing, I was the victim of my own thinking habits. I never thought that I could see things differently. The way I looked to the circumstances in my life was for me the single possible truth.
This book made me think about my own paradigm. The idea of being responsible for everything arriving in my life opened for me a new perspective. I began to put myself questions about the way I think and the decisions I take in my daily life. I discovered a lot of beliefs I have about life and I started to question them. I got that all those beliefs represented only the way I saw life and not THE TRUTH about life, as I thought before.
Overcoming My Limits
How I Succeeded to Break The Walls of My (Thinking) Comfort Zone
Any habit, from smoking to believing that you are not capable to do something, becomes in time stronger and stronger. It is not easy to get rid of a bad habit. Even if we are aware that a certain habit is not good for us, we find ourselves choosing to do it again and again.
Fighting a bad habit makes the habit more powerful and gets you more demotivated. The best way to get rid of any bad habit is to replace it with a good habit.
Anytime I faced a failure, I got used to ask myself: "what did I wrong?" And, starting to search for the answer, I forgot about looking for the person guilty for my "bad luck"...
This is the secret to change a bad habit: find something to do instead. Right in the moment your bad habit is preparing to take its place, do instantly your new action.
It works for me like wonder. My thinking pattern changed. Now I feel responsible for everything happens to me and I know that my life is in my hands.
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it"
Begin with the End in Mind - Best Way of Predicting the Future is to Create It
Taking responsibility of the own future is the best decision someone can make in his/her life. What we think is what we get.
Building Our Future
Acknowledging about the possibility of really being able to build our future is a big responsibility for us. It is exhilarating and frightening at the same time.
Thinking about what we want in life and about how our life we would like to be it is not easy.
Firstly, we will find ourselves limited by our own imagination. We will be tempted to think starting from where we are at present and we will put ourselves limits regarding what we really COULD accomplish in the future.
Secondly, we will have to give ourselves an answer to a question: what is the purpose of our lives?
Building the future is not an easy process. It might seem like an answer we have to give to the Goldenfish who met us to fulfill any wish. But it is much more than that.
It is a process of digging deep inside us and discovering things that we never thought about. It is a process of overcoming all our limits, of setting high goals, and of pursuing them.
7 Habits for Highly Effective Kids
Sean Covey, Stephen's Son - 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids
If we postpone to do what is good for us or, simply, if we don't want to put the effort to change our lives because we think it is too difficult or too late, we don't have the right to not teach our kids good living habits.
Sean is the living example of the effectiveness of applying the 7 habits. Stephen taught him the habits and rise him following these principles. He graduated from BYU with a degree in English and later earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a popular speaker to youth and adult groups. Author of the international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens which has sold over three million copies and is translated in over 15 languages.
Teaching Kids The 7 Habits - Give your kids the chance to master their lives!
Never is too late to change your life, but as early you begin, as better. We want the best for our kids. Helping them build good habits from their early ages is really the most valuable thing we can grant them.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Sean Covey: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens - A Book for All Ages
If you had problems reading '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' of Stephen Covey, you must try his son's book, which is the same thing written in a simpler and entertaining style. Most people reading both books said the son over passed his father!
Best selling author like his father, Sean Covey sold over 2,000,000 copies of his book, '7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens'
Sean is the most clear evidence that all these principles work. Sean dedicated his life in pursuing excellence and in helping other people to do the same thing. He was taught by his father how to approach life and he translated in his book all he learned. But, unlike his father, he changed the style. So, his book is straightforward, very easy to read and both teenagers and their parents loved it.
Do You Think You Can Really Build Your Own Life? - Is it possible to live as we want to, or we are at the mercy of circumstances we live in?
Is our future in our hands?
How to Start Building a New Life
Take the Risk of Finding Your Happiness!
Today, in his blog post, Seth Godin said something that make me think more about the habits which define our lives: "Seek out habits that help you overcome fear or inertia. Destroy those that do the opposite."
Fear and inertia are our biggest enemies keeping us in our comfort zone. We are feeling safe when we are on a known territory. Even if we realize that we should do a lot of things for living a better life, we cannot do anything. Fear and inertia 'help' us to stand still by offering us a lot of reasons for not taking action. As a well known affirmation states, we cannot have other results as long as we do the same things every day. Our rational mind understands it, but any impulse to go out of our daily habitual schedule is automatically annihilated by fear of risk and wish to stay comfortable. Why to bother? It is 'safer' to stay where we are...
Besides our habits, our friends and relatives are usually 'helping' us to prevent any change in our lives. They reinforce the power of our habits with more reasons to not move further. Loving us, they want us to not take any risk, to stay inside the limits we have already settled.
There is no evolution without risk. The good news is that it is possible to live as we would like. The bad news is that building the life of our dreams requires a big effort from our part.
We need to start first by breaking down the barriers we put in our own minds.
First, we have to stretch our imagination and settle a big goal.
Second, we have to:
- analyse what we are doing daily,
- identify the habits which keep us in fear and inertia
- replace them with the habit of living uncomfortable
until we find a new comfort zone.
Then, we have to repeat the process.
This is the way to become successful.
Stephen Covey Books
If "The 7 Habits" Helped You, Go Read Other Books By Stephen Covey - It's About the Time To Transform Yourself!
The most beautiful thing in life is that we always have a choice: to survive or to make a difference.
Surviving means to be a victim and live like a victim.
Making a difference means living on a purpose, setting high goals and preparing ourselves to live them. It is not easy to enroll on the road of self transformation. We need inspiration and help. We need mentors. Stephen Covey is one of them.