As my regular readers will know, I think The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a great book and I really admire Stephen Covey’s work. But I have recently been thinking in terms of the ways that the 7 Habits are to be found in the wider world. After all, the author himself does not claim to have invented the habits. He says they are timeless, universal principles to be found in every world religion.
Recently, I wrote about a post on the 7 Rabbits of Highly Effective People and today, I thought I would continue my little series with the 7 Hobbits of Highly Effective People. The quotations are all taken from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein.
Be Proactive in Discovering Your Talent
“I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.”
When Bilbo was chosen by Gandalf – to be a burglar – it seems that other people doubted his abilities. Wisely, Gandalf understood that it is not only other people who do not understand our abilities; it is also ourselves. We have far more talent and ability than we know and for which we give ourselves proper credit.
Begin With The End in Mind But be Prepared for Detours
“Even the good plans of wise wizards like Gandalf and of good friends like Elrond go astray sometimes when you are off on dangerous adventures over the Edge of the Wild, and Gandalf was a wise enough wizard to know it.”
It seems that wise people know that even good plans sometimes go wrong and that means there are likely to be some detours along the way to your major goals. You have to expect them without ever losing sight of your vision.
Put First Things First and Be Determined/Persistent
“Do we really have to go through [Mirkwod]?” groaned the hobbit. “Yes, you do!” said the wizard, “if you want to get to the other side. You must either go through or give up your quest. There are no safe paths in this part of the world.”
You sometimes have to do unpleasant things, tread unfamiliar paths and consider unsafe options. If you are going to achieve big things, you must be prepared to put your own fears to one side and just get on with it.
Think Win-Win to Access Hidden Power
“Gandalf, dwarves and Mr. Baggins! We are met together in the house of our friend and fellow conspirator, this most excellent and audacious hobbit—may the hair on his toes never fall out!”
There is not only strength in numbers; there is power too. When we meet together in a spirit of cooperation, with a common aim, we are able to produce solutions that can benefit everyone.
Seek First to Understand Means You Need to Listen
“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”
Ordinary stuff is hard to listen to whereas tales of doom and gloom are easy. When you are really trying to understand someone, you have to, not only put up with the mundane, but actually be interested too.
Synergize and Understand that You are Not Alone
“Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”
You are part of the synergy of the universe and play an important part in how things are going to be. Stuff isn’t happening by chance of coincidence. You are here for a purpose and your life is a small part of the grand scheme of things.
Sharpening the Saw is All About Taking Action
“Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach.”
Self improvement is about doing. You have to exercise and learn; you have to treat others with consideration and you have to keep your major definite purpose in mind at all times. But, like killing the spider, it is action that makes the difference. You become better, fitter, stronger, braver, more courageous by actually taking action – you need to stop reading and start doing!