Habit 1– Be Proactive

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This first habit is one that focuses entirely on the self. Because we, as humans, are the only creature who have the ability to actually think about our very thought processes (aka “self-awareness), we are therefore able to see how we view ourselves and others. This ability allows us to act, rather than merely being acted upon. One important lesson that I really got from this habit was that we have the freedom, or the power, to choose how we respond to any given stimulus (occurrence/situation/event.) Unlike animals, we in fact have a step in between “the stimulus” and “our response.” Right in the middle, we have the ability to decide within ourselves how everything around us is going to affect us. Covey gives the story of Viktor Frankl during the Holocaust, which is an incredibly illustrative story.

This was really difficult, yet amazing, for me to hear. “As humans, we are truly responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.”

Responsibility–“response-ability”=the ability to choose your response!

Most of us, including myself admittedly, are usually reactive when it comes to making a choice as to whether or not we will let outside conditions affect us. Reactive people let things such as bad weather or negative people/media control them.

The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values–carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

Therefore, until each of us truly accepts the fact that we are where we are today because of the choices we made in the past, we are not able to decide to choose otherwise. Take responsibility for letting others affect you. It is not what happens to us that affects us, but it is instead how we react. It is the major events, both amazing and devastating, that force us to actually decide how to respond, and then it is with that response that we shape ourselves. So don’t just say that “if only I HAVE more money, then I will be happy.” BE HAPPY. Focusing on being, rather than having. Take control over your feelings and responses, be proactive.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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I have had this book for years, but only recently have really decided to crack it open and read/study it. So far, I agree with the millions of people who have read it. Stephen R. Covey is truly brilliant. Therefore, I am going to go through each of the 7 habits and give a brief  synopsis on the main lessons I took away from each habit. It would be impossible to put everything I learn into a single post, so therefore consider this a little spoiler…and go buy the book!

Paradigm–basically is the way that we “see” the world; “see” in terms of perceiving, understanding, & interpreting (not the visual sense)

Paradigm Shift–is that “Aha!” experience when someone finally “sees the composite picture in another way. The more bound a person is by their initial perception, the more powerful their Aha! experience is–like turning on a light bulb inside.

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are–or, as we are conditioned to see it.”

“The more aware we are of our basic paradigms, maps, or assumptions, and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experience, the more we can take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, listen to others and be open to their perceptions, thereby getting a larger picture and a far more objective view.”

So, what Covey is saying is that the key to making huge, significant change, is to work on our basic paradigms. The only way to make huge change in your life is to start at the core. You can’t just focus at changing your attitudes and behaviors because that is not change at the core, which is not going to result in real, long-term change. The only real way to achieve amazing improvement in our lives is to focus on the core which is the paradigms from which our attitudes and behaviors actually flow. Once we change these paradigms, we can change the way that we see the world. Because you cannot separate paradigms from your character. “Being is seeing in the human dimension. And what we see is highly interrelated to what we are.”

Covey talks about the principle-centered paradigm, and says that we need to focus on the Character Ethic as opposed to the Personality Ethic. “The Character Ethic is based on the fundamental idea that there are principles that govern human effectiveness.” These principles are natural laws that cannot be broken, they are what governs human growth and happiness, and they are in fact the “objective reality.” Principles are not practices. Practices are situationally specific, but principles are deep fundamental truths that have universal application. “When these truths are internalized into habits, they empower people to create a wide variety of practices to deal with different situations.” They are also not values. Principles are the territory. Values are maps. “Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value. They’re fundamental. They’re essentially unarguable because they are self-evident.”

On the other hand, the Personality Ethic is the “get rich quick” scheme that always promises you “wealth without work.” While it may seem to work, you are still the same person, and the scheme does not result in long-term success. This book instead focuses on a principle-center, character-based, “inside-out” approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

The inside-out approach says that private victories precede public victories, that making and keeping promises to ourselves precedes making and keeping promises to others. It says it is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving ourselves.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.  -Aristotle

HABIT: intersection of knowledge, skill & desire; in order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all 3!

 

 

 

 

Couldnt Have Said It Better Myself

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I was so excited when I came across this article on HelloGiggles. It is me to a ‘T’.

I FLY SOLO & I LOVE IT

So most women – as they’re portrayed in media, anyway – are obsessed with the need to have someone to fall back on. If she is single, she is desperate for a man; If she has no friends at school, she is desperate to be in the “it” clique. People like me are not usually exhibited in films or television shows. Am I the exception? Am I the only person in the world that likes to be alone sometimes?  I grew up an only child with divorced parents. At the age of 8, my mom started paying me to “babysit myself” in order to not deal with the “hassle” of calling a real babysitter, so being alone has been pretty normal for me my whole life. Now, as an adult, I go to dinner alone, with no book, no magazine, no distraction and Ilove it; There is no forced conversation or awkward pauses. I go to the movies alone and I love it; There is 100 percent concentration on the film, no wondering “Oh, I hope they don’t hate my movie choice” or “When the #$*& is he going to hold my hand?!”
Sometimes, though, it is awkward going out in public solo. Personally, I prefer it, but I hate all of the odd glances and wrinkled eyebrows. YES! I said a table for one, please get the blank over it! Why does it always have to be such a big deal?! There is this one really good sushi place in LA called Sushi Dan and when I lived in LA, I would go there every single school night for dinner (true story). The first week or so, all of the employees would look at me funny for sitting at the sushi bar alone while I was surrounded by couples and groups of friends, but after some time passed, it wasn’t a big deal anymore! The sushi chef’s even started to prepare my order without me ordering. (Yeah, I got the same thing every night okay?—Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice & a water with no ice—Okay, maybe it is a little embarrassing that the chef knew my order by heart but it was delicious, okay!) Nevertheless, being alone at dinner gave me time to think about and process my day.
Alone time is something to be valued—not dismayed. So why is it that alone time is always viewed as a negative? “Ohh, you’re staying home on Saturday night? Wow! You are such a loser.” Who gives a flying piece o’ $^!+?!  I’m not saying that you should become an anti-social weirdo, I’m just saying that if you like to forgo a lame party to stay home and actually watch SNL “L”, then you should not feel condemned. It’s nice not having to change out of the comfy sweats into shoes that make your feet feel like they’re about to snap in half.
So if you’re the girl in high school who doesn’t have many girl friends (like I was) or the girl in college who has yet to go to a college party (like I am) or if you’re that woman that stays at home on weekends to do crafts (like I will probably be), do not feel bad. Don’t feel pressured to go out if you’re not in the mood. You are not alone. I fly solo more often than not and I love it! Do you?

"Love"

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Today I modeled (well, “modeled”) in a fashion show that was part of a bridal extravaganza. As soon as I walked into the venue at 10am, I knew that this was one of those textbook occasions where I should’ve just said “NO.” I have never, ever, been the type of girl to daydream about weddings. Ask my parents, or my friends, or anyone that has brought up the topic of a wedding in my presence. I don’t place nearly as much emphasis on them as 99% of American females do. Before you shockingly ask yourself why, perhaps you should just mosey on over to your next local bridal show.

From the moment I walked in, a number of cliche love quotes starting running through my head, only to reaffirm my hypothesis–> weddings do not prove love; not real love anyway.
Think about these…

You don’t marry someone you can live with – you marry the person who you cannot live without. Unknown Author

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well… Vincent van Gogh 

Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. St. Augustine 

To love another person is to see the face of God. Les Miserables 

Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have so to speak pawned a part of their narcissism. Sigmund Freud 

So although these are borderline corny, these descriptions of “love” do not include any reference to the extravagance associated with the modern wedding. Isn’t love between a husband and a wife supposed to be unconditional? I don’t think forcing your spouse, your parents, or yourself to go broke, in order to throw the biggest wedding, is what Sigmund Freud had in mind. You can’t say you love your man unconditionally, if you condition such love upon his agreement to let you throw a huge wedding.

For example, I love cake just as much as any American, and I can appreciate a good episode of “Cake Boss,” but nobody really needs to spend thousands of dollars on something that is going to be consumed and later excreted. Why not just hop onto Google, and look up ways to make your own sweet wedding cake. I would have way more fun screwing up a cake with my Mother, and then dimming the lighting at the reception to cover its flaws, than I would having to remember the fancy $5,000 cake 3 years later when I’m still paying for it. And this is just one example, weddings are cash-cows. They are a commercialization of Hollywood love, which is why our country has the hardest time keeping our divorce rate down.

A wedding should not be stressful. It should not break families apart, or force them to go broke in order to satisfy a childish dream of a huge wedding that in fact will only last a few hours. Wake up girls. If you truly love the man who will be waiting at the end of the aisle, then forget the overpriced flower arrangements, and spend more time in Bora Bora doing the dirty dirty.

Is Dakota Fanning Too Young to be On the Cover of Cosmo Magazine?

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Well, I am. I can’t stand cosmo magazine. The only time I get a chance to even read magazines is during my (rare) gym workouts. However, I absolutely cannot read Cosmopolitan while rocking the elliptical at my local Nebraska gym. I have tried, I was mortified. Either I am too shy, or “100 Best Sex Positions of the Month” is something that most people are uncomfortable reading amidst 20 other gym rats. This magazine would make me blush if I read it in the comfort of my own home, let alone while being watched by the usually gym creepers.

I have always loved Dakota Fanning, she is one of my favorite actresses. I think she’s a bit more sheltered though than people would like to believe, and therefore any blame for this has to go on her parents. I don’t know how I feel about it yet though. I suppose it depends on the content of the article on her. However, I don’t think I’d want to put my 17 year old on a cover of this soft porn periodical…even if she was wearing a turtleneck and talking about bunnies. There’s just something weird about her face being on a magazine along with numerous other erotic headlines.

Did I mention I have a problem with a mag that is published largely by women, but that gains most of its income by purporting to know “what men want.” Well, I digress.

Full Article Here

Unemployment for Recent Grads…Interesting

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It comes as no surprise that a large number of recent college graduates are unable to obtain employment following their graduation. See Yahoo Article

It also comes as no surprise that members of the baby-boomer generation are encouraging these same graduates to seek out any job, regardless of whether or not they’re in fact overqualified for such, and it often seems that these boomers find recent graduates to be self-righteous brats with an entitlement complex, merely because these same young people often refuse to be the (proverbial) “burger flipper.” This happens to piss me off.

First, I do generally laugh at those kiddos who graduate from college, and hold out their hand; expecting someone to give them a great job because, by-golly, they’re now entitled to it. To elaborate… I have a problem with a general sense of entitlement. However, (pay attention boomers) there is a HUGE difference between these types of grads, and those grads that refuse to be “burger flippers.” I will tell you right now, it will be a cold day in hell that this girl would work a minimum wage job after graduating with honors, and 2 degrees. Why? Because I am far too overqualified. I AM above that. This does not mean that I believe I am entitled to an incredible job relevant to my qualifications, but I am entitled to reject a pathetic job that does not require me to use my educational experience. Dear Boomer, would YOU? I didn’t think so. Not when many students go thousands and thousands of dollars into debt to get those damn degrees. And lets not forget the hospital bills for the 3 times they had their stomach pumped. It all adds up, believe it or not. But back to my rant.

As many young Americans do, I grew up being told that if I didn’t want to be a Wal-Mart greeter or a burger flipper, I had to get good grades and goto college. Isn’t it funny that the same boomers who pushed us to goto college (and graduate school) are the same ones now calling recent grads self-righteous entitlement brats because they refuse to work as a greeter or flipper?

Stay tuned for my criticism of the current educational system…as it happens to coincide…