This morning, during family learning time, we started our family’s deep dive into The Seven Habits of Happy Kids. Somewhere between explaining paradigms, paradigm shifts and the first habit of being proactive, it hit me that the world needs The Seven Habits more than ever. 

With everything going on in the world, there’s probably never been a better time to revisit Dr. Covey’s classic teaching and how we can apply them during our current pandemic. 

Habit One: Be Proactive

It’s so easy right now to feel completely out of control of our lives; We can’t eat out, we can’t visit people we love and most of us can’t work. It’s so easy to think that because so many decisions are being made for us by global health authorities that our circle of influence has shrunk, but it hasn’t. There’s still plenty that we have control over, from our attitude, to how we choose to view this curent crisis. Now more than ever is the time to be proactive. 

Habit Two: Begin With The End In Mind

Once we’ve shifted our focus to the things we can control, we realize that now is the time to prepare for when this epidemic ends. At the end of 2020 when we’re getting ready pop our champagne corks what do we want to say we accomplished during the time we were forced to stay home? Now more than ever is the time to look back to plan and begin with our end in mind. 

Habit Three: Put First Things First

Of all of the habits, this is the one that requires the most discipline right now. If you’re stuck working from home it’s really easy to spend our time stuck in quadrant four in the decision-making matrix and binge on Netflix and junk food while we wait for civilization to come back. When viewed from the right lense, however, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to accomplish all of those Important But Not Urgent tasks that get crowded out by the fires during normal times. Now more than ever is the right time to put first things first. 

Habit Four: Think Win / Win

During this global pandemic, the ultimate win/win is following the government’s rules so that we can end the threat and return to normal lives but there are others. Never in my life did I think I would have to write about toilet paper, but as Americans lose their minds and hoard bath tissue, it’s obvious that we’re not thinking of ways for everyone to win. This only causes bitterness and a lack of cooperation. During these times of uncertainty, now more than ever is the time to think win/win. 

Habit Five: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

In my lifetime, there’s never been a greater need for more empathy than now. We’re all going through some very real problems and there is a lot of fear. The restaurant worker who is short with you on the phone is probably worried sick about making ends meet. The person who’s rude to you online is probably fearful of their family’s risk. We’re all under stress but to think that ours is somehow more important than that of others is not only arrogant but counterproductive. Now more than ever we must seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Habit Six: Synergize

As we see the number of infected people nearly double every day, we are seeing the result of bad synergy. Right now our whole is greater than the sum of all of our parts. If, however, we follow the protocol, stay home and shelter-in-place, our impact can be felt around our country and we can use that synergy for the greater good. Never before has the need been greater to synergize. 

Habit Seven: Sharpen The Saw

The great gift hidden in the tragedy of this situation is the opportunity to replenish our energy by resting. To restore our sanity by taking a step back. To reconnect with our families by using our time together. To read, and think and create. We may never get this kind of chance to sharpen our saws and we should be making the most of it. 

So much of what’s going on is outside of our control. It’s easy to slip into the dark places of our minds and let fear take over. There’s never been a time in my life when the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was more relevant and necessary. We just need to revisit and begin using them today.  

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