A Highly Effective Habit

I pride myself on not re-reading a book. Well, mainly because I think there are SO many books in this world and my time is precious and I cannot, simply cannot, waste that time re-reading.
I think as I age, I tend to take back some words that I’ve spoken.
Nowadays I do. Not novels of course. I just can’t stand it if I already know the story and keep ploughing the same lines. Or coming back to the same ending.
My cousin’s friend has a peculiar habit of reading books. She’ll read the first chapter, then rifle through till the last chapter and read it. If she enjoyed the ending, she’ll buy the book and happily curl up somewhere to slowly partake the ‘feast’.
I think that just spoils the fun of reading. But to each her own, you see.
I know a friend who is reading probably for the 8th time Stephen Hawkings’ impossibly tough to decipher “A Brief History of Time”. I haven’t managed to read it all in one sitting without wondering if I am dumb. I can’t swallow so much of mindboggling stuff. My brains need to rest after one chapter of Hawkings.
But for certain books, like self-help and motivation (I can’t stand it when people give other people derisive looks when they mention “self-help”), I don’t mind re-reading them. At times, I may have read the book quickly and perhaps, like most people, forgotten most of the stuff unless I practice them daily. So a quick dip into the book, skimming over areas and concentrating on some, can be quite refreshing.
The book I am re-reading at the moment is Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
I first read the book back in the mid-90s, borrowing a hardcover from a uni friend. It didn’t strike me as fantastic but I did appreciate the seven principles outlined by Covey. They made sense.
But age, experience, life and such can make certain books, certain words, and yes, certain principles quite meaningful. Suddenly I can relate to certain chapters and find myself attracted to re-read, contemplate and look back on my life, and compare. Compare if that’s true. I can now see examples from my life and reflect on the seven principles more clearly.
Some people say that Covey is good for theoretizing but the principles aren’t practical. (By the way, the seven principles DO NOT belong or originate from Covey. He studied almost 200 years’ worth of books and writings – essentially what academics call ‘a literature review’ – to condense these habits or principles). And some are quite unhappy that he has “kept” a final habit for a book of its own (The 8th Habit).
But coming back to Covey, I find this second time is enlightening because there is much of human nature that can be learnt and applied. I think in all cases, application is key to achieving our destiny, short of sounding extremely corny. And it’s easy to resist change too because we can always say, “That’s easy for him to say. Is it even achievable in real life, in my office?” Basically the book is meant for people who work with other people, in the office mostly, as his book is used for staff training. But that does not mean the principles cannot be applied to everyday life.
So let me partake this feast first and I will let you know later what insights I’ve gained.
In the meantime, here’s a quick overview of the 7 habits.
Habit 1: Be proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
Habit 3: Put first things first
Habit 4: Think win/win
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the saw

2 thoughts on “A Highly Effective Habit”

  1. Good books are like music-repeats are just as enjoyable. Can’t explain it. I’ve listened to Don Mclean’s Mountains of Morn 1,100,210 times. Nay, must be more than that. 😉

  2. haven’t you ever read a book that you just wish never ended and you wanted to last forever? THOSE are the books worth rereading. 🙂
    Hmmm.. I might just blog about this… 🙂


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