Seven Habits Study Guide/Paradigms and principles

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Stephen Covey outlines several concepts before describing the "Seven Habits" in detail..

Character vs. personality ethic[edit | edit source]

The author describes the difference between what he describes as the personality ethic and the character ethic. The character ethic is the idea that a person advances on the basis of their character. This was culturally the main idea expressed in the US up until about WWI, when popular literature began to focus more on short-cuts and easy ways to manipulate situations or to get what you want. Character ethic depends on deep changes within each of us, while the personality ethic falls back on methods or techniques. The personality ethic does not challenge us; neither does it bring about deep changes within us. Phrases characteristic of the personality ethic are think positive and believe in yourself while Character ethics deals with integrity, patience, e.t.c. Covey gave us a good illustration: Covey uses the example of a person trying to find his way through Chicago with a map of Detroit. No matter how hard he tries, he will never be successful. In the same way, when we have erroneous ideas of what something is like, we are destined to fail in dealing with whatever it is. So we have to get the map first (character ethics) before using the techniques and skills to find the destination(personality ethics). We should work to have correct and healthy understandings of the world around us.

Paradigm and paradigm shift[edit | edit source]

Cover Paradigms are the mental maps that we use to describe the world around us. They are the lens that each of us uses to understand everyone and everything. The key of a paradigm isn't as much in the true nature of a thing as much as our perception of the thing. They also deal with our views and our mental perspective due to the actions done around us.

A paradigm shift is the change in one's perspective concerning the way we perceive things. They are two different things: changing the way we see things around us and changing the things around us. Covey describes how once he was frustrated in the subway to see the very bad behavior of a man's children, but when he found out that they were coming from the hospital where the mother had just died an hour before, his perspective changed completely.

The key to maintaining a good paradigm(s) is to keep an open mind, be optimistic and realize that however much we see. There is always more to the picture than just the painting, depending on the audience.

Principles[edit | edit source]

Principles are time-tested values that have worked through the ages regardless of social context. Values such as "seek first to understand, then to be understood" or "the golden rule: do unto others what you would have done unto you" are the values that effective people of all ages have embraced. They are not quick fixes, not something that you learn and execute over night. They are values that you must work on and master in order to become effective.

Step-by-step development[edit | edit source]

Raising our level of thinking[edit | edit source]

Dependence >> Independence >> Interdependence[edit | edit source]

The habits are designed, when you put them in practice, to help you mature as a person. This process of maturing is described below:

Dependence >> Independence >> Interdependence

We all start out life as babies completely dependent on our parents or other person to take care of us. This is a state of weakness and powerlessness.

As we grow up we work to become independent, moving out of our parent's home, earning money for ourselves, etc. A person at this level is able to do things for himself and does not need anyone else to survive.

The greatest human achievements come from people working at the third level, interdependence. This is when people work together to achieve a common goal, and is the level of maturity of many people in a mature society or organization. This is how mankind has achieved things together that no single person could do alone. Interdependence is the state of human development of greatest maturity and power.

As we develop our character as people, we grow in each of the seven areas described by the seven habits. In this process we move up the chart from dependence to independence to interdependence.

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness[edit | edit source]

You can be efficient with things but not with people. With people you must be effective. True effectiveness is when you can attain a balance between P and PC (between Production and Production Capability).

Production vs. Production Capacity[edit | edit source]

Production is referred to as a useful product (either tangible or intangible) that is being produced. Production Capacity is the process or method in which that product is being produced. The product is usually a result that is either produced continually or on a regular basis thereby introducing the necessity of keeping P (Production) and PC (Production Capacity) in balance. True effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced and the producing asset or capacity to produce.

Financial, economic, and human wealth[edit | edit source]