A Steven Covey Quote.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Quote by Steven Covey, which is in fact Habit number 5.


Two Things We Need To Get Things Done

Every Monday we’re given a chance to start the week afresh. What are you thinking of starting? Is it a new project or opportunity at work? Maybe you want to change certain habits in your life.

Most of the time all we need is the push to start. How do we find the motivation? I propose that we need both a reason and a resolve. The why and the what that will keep us pressing on to accomplish our goals this week.

A Reason That Motivates

Find the reason for any task that you need accomplished and it will help you find the motivation to do so. I know of a couple of friends who have successfully given up their unhealthy lifestyle and resolved to eat healthily and exercise. Their reason? More than looking good, they didn’t want to endure the countless times people have commented about their weight anymore. A great reason that benefits themselves more than it does others.

There’s always a reason for us to do something. The reason may be for ourselves or for others and their good. Most of us ask this very same question,“Why are we at this job?”. Perhaps we have a family to feed. That’s a great reason for us to work hard, work smart and do our jobs excellently. Perhaps its for our own growth. That’s an equally valid and important reason.

Occasionally, there will be time a lousy or unreasonable task comes up. That’s okay! That’s when we learn to say “No” to the task and get other more important things done.

If you’re feeling demotivated at whatever you’re seeking to accomplish, reflect on the reason why it needs to be done. Write it down. Remind yourself constantly.

A Resolve That Perseveres

A resolve that you make is a vow you tell yourself and to others of what you want to change to accomplish a goal. It’s a specifically crafted promise that you make with a very specific goal attached to it.

An example of a resolve is “I will complete a 5km run twice a week“.

Very specific and there’s a simple goal.

After you’ve identified your reason, write down your resolve. The only thing stopping you is yourself. It’s the man in the mirror.

I find that in any task we do, if we can know why we are doing it and resolve to do it, we can get (almost) anything done.

Get it done.

Be a Lifelong Learner

One of the reasons I’ve started writing again is because I believe I have much to learn. I’m young with many more youthful years ahead of me (I hope).

Recently, one of my business mentors shared about the need to be “lifelong learners”. That simply means to keep on growing yourself whether it be physically (to be fit), mentally (to be sharp) and spiritually (to be mature). Let me share a few principles that I have picked up along the way:

Learn to Teach Others

We learn best by passing on what we know. Have you ever had someone ask you to teach them something that you’ve just learnt recently? Whether its a skill or even some principle you picked up from a book or a conference – you reduce what you learn to a few thoughts and you use your own words to explain it.

Writing it down or rehashing some of the things we have been learning helps us remind ourselves the key points we’ve learnt and further engrains the learning in our minds.

Try it. Read thru a single chapter of a book and try summarizing it and sharing it with someone.

Learn to Continually Learn

We should never stop learning. The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing. We tend to think that growth (whether mental or spiritual) happens the same way as physical growth; almost automatically. We think growth happens by default.

No it doesn’t. Once we leave university, we have to move from being spoon-fed to feeding ourselves. Growth happens not by default, but by design.

We learn things by reading, listening or through experiences. Active learning as opposed to passive learning means being intentional to grow yourself. It means growing by design, to have a plan and some simple goals.

What can you do? Pick up a book. Attend a conference. Challenge yourself to learn something new. Keep on learning.

Apply and Keep Applying

You know the quote,”Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime”. The wise man continually applies what is being taught.

Naturally we are bad learners. Only learning and never applying strips us of the fruits we could enjoy when we do apply.

So start small. Pick something you’ve learnt and start applying it into your life. You’ll be surprised and you’ll enjoy reaping the fruits of having done the application.

“What I hear, I forget;
What I see, I remember;
What I do, I understand.”

 – Chinese proverb

In summary, these 3 principles are incredibly basic but highly important if we are to grow to be lifelong learners.

  1. Teach others.
  2. Teach yourself.
  3. Apply.