Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with an understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.” -Stephen Covey

It is taking me so much longer than I would like to read through Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but there is so much information to digest. A couple weeks ago, I reflected on Habit 1: Be Proactive. Habit 2 is “Begin with the end in mind.” At the beginning of the chapter, Covey asks us to participate in a visualization experience. He wants you picture yourself listening to your family and friends speaking about you at your funeral. What would you like each of the speakers to say about you and your life?

Image Credit: TheGuardian.com

I wrote out what I would want Jesus, my family, my fiance, and even my future kids to say about me. I found it to be a very insightful experience that I think will help me to write my personal mission statement, which Covey encourages each person to do.

“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and do what really matters most.” -Covey

Trust in God, joy, laughter, respect, love and encouragement were all things I hope to have as a part of my life.

“Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.” -Covey

Covey goes through common things that people have at the center of their lives – family, spouse, money, work, possessions, self, pleasure and even church. But having all one of those things at the center falls short. I was intrigued then, as to what Covey would say our center should be. He says being a “principle-centered” person is what should be at your core which means you “try to stand apart from the emotion of the situation and from other factors that would act on you, and evaluate the options.”

Although I agree that living based upon principles is best, my question is, “What principles do you stand on?” I see the flaws of centers like money or other people, but I think simply living by “principles” isn’t enough. How do we know what principles to live by? Perhaps it’s the 7 habits outlined in this book, but I think what Covey is getting at without saying it straight up is basically living the way Jesus taught. What I’ve read so far of 7 Habits points to living biblically, just stated in a different way. It’s cool to hear new terms and to have a different perspective even, but I think that living based on Jesus’ principles in the power of the Holy Spirit is an important distinction. We can’t live the way Jesus did in our own strength because we’ll always revert back to a faulty center. That’s why having a relationship with Jesus, where the Holy Spirit enables us to follow Christ is essential.

I’m thankful for Covey’s insights. It’s helping me to be grateful for the Gospel in a new way. I look forward to reading about the other 5 habits.

Take 2 min and reflect: What do you hope people will be able to say about the way you lived your life?

“My dear friends, if you and I had been without trouble, we never could have had such a promise as this given to us:—’As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ It is our weakness that has made room for God to give us such a promise as this. Our sins make room for a Saviour; our frailties make room for the Holy Spirit to correct them; all our wanderings make room for the good Shepherd, that he may seek us and bring us back. We do not love nights, but we do love stars; we do not love weakness, but we do bless God for the promise that is to sustain us in our weakness, we do not admire winter, but we do admire the glittering snow; we must shudder at our own trembling weakness, but we still do bless God that we are weak because it makes room for the display of his own invincible strength in fulfilling such a promise as this.” -Charles Spurgeon

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