Begin with the end in mind

Hi folks,

Today I’ll talk briefly about a few more things I learnt from reading Dr. Stephen Covy’s book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.

By this we mean that when you start a new endeavour or as you interact with others in life, it is important to have a firm vision of what outcome you will like to have achieved in that endeavour at the end of your life. E.g. If you are a parent raising kids, as you raise the kids, it is good to think of how you will like to be remembered by your kids after your death, that is, what you will like to have achieved in that endeavour. This lifetime vision should then steer the actions you make today, tomorrow, the day after, etc.

By beginning with the end in mind, we develop a broader perspective and become more able to identify what is really important, and what isn’t. Often times, people chase after material things in life, e.g. money, fame, etc. because they think these are nice to have, only to realise later that these┬ámay not be as important as once thought. Beginning with the end in mind solves this problem.

Some areas of life one can apply this concept to is relations with friends and family, career, etc.

Many people often live their lives based on things that are temporary, e.g. money, spouse, pleasure, etc. These “centres” determine their happiness, security and strength. The problem with these is that they can come and go and therefore cannot give lasting happiness. E.g. If one is spouse-centred and there is a relationship problem with the spouse, the person can become very unhappy and the unhappiness could impact other aspects of life in an unduly severe way. A good solution to this is to live a principle-centred life. That is, make your life centred on principles that will always hold through regardless of season. E.g. Being kind to others, being empathetic and fair. These are characters that are good to be known for, regardless life’s circumstances.

A good tool to help one begin with the end in mind is a Personal Mission Statement. A Personal Mission Statement can embody the values you hold most important to you, your roles in life, and what you will like to achieve in each of your roles to fulfil your values. By periodically reviewing your Personal Mission Statement and updating it as your circumstances change, you can maintain a balanced view of what is most important to you and act accordingly. Mission statements can be created for a family and for organisations as well to help ensure every party involved is aware of the core values of the group and foster greater harmony.

That’s all for now. There are much more fascinating details in the book on this habit. I encourage you to read it if you haven’t. Till next time.

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