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Saturday, August 20, 2011

7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
   yet they store up their food in the summer...
(Proverbs 30:25)

There was a leadership book published years ago by self-help guru Steven Covey entitled "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".  For a while, that was all we heard about in leadership training seminars.  People jumped on the bandwagon touting the wisdom of the teachings of this book.  The idea seemed to be that if leaders everywhere would just embrace these teachings, all would be well with the world!  Uhmmm.....it has been on the market since 1989 and I am not seeing much difference!

As I was waking this morning, an idea came to mind.  It was simply, what would you classify as the seven habits of highly ineffective people?  So, in keeping with my usual method of working this thought out in my mind, I am sharing my answers with you!  If you feel so move, please add to my list via comment.  There may be some I just did not consider and you're always welcome to expand!

1)  Highly INEFFECTIVE people have a tendency to be selfish.  Covey taught that we need to think "win-win" (in other words, what can each of us get from the circumstance that makes us feel that we have won).  Truly ineffective thinking begins with "me" and ends with "me".  If my motivation is to figure out how to get my way, find something in the circumstance that will dazzle my fancy, etc., I am probably not going to be a very loving individual!  Effective people really learn to look beyond self.

2)  Highly INEFFECTIVE people gravitate toward slothfulness.  Covey taught that we need to be proactive - anticipating the next step.  Ineffective people don't think ahead, don't find any pleasure in plans for the future, and barely exist in today!  Slothfulness is really a condition of inactivity - either because we don't want to, there is no immediate benefit to that action, or we just like the place of "comfort" we are in at this moment.  The tell-tale sign of being slothful is a sense of apathy toward something or someone.  Whenever we find ourselves lacking interest in things that others find move them or bring excitement, we might just be on the border of being a sloth!

3)  Highly INEFFECTIVE people tend to spend a lot of time in gossip.  Covey taught that we need to seek first to understand others - in time we can seek to be understood.  Ineffective people find gossip so appealing because it takes the eyes off of them, it gives them a feeling that they have "one-up" on you since they have the "inside" information, or that they can create a little "stirring of the waters" by what they share in "confidence".  Boy, I could spend a whole day on this one, but I think you get my point!

4)  Highly INEFFECTIVE people don't have an active and growing spiritual life.  Covey taught that you need to put first things first.  Scripture is consistent in this one message - God must be first!  It began with the garden and it ends in heaven - he must be first.  Ineffective people really have not developed the consistency of relationship with the Lord that brings about growth of character.  As a result, they tend to be pretty stagnant - almost religious in their actions.

5)  Highly INEFFECTIVE people have a tendency to isolate.  Covey taught that we need to "synergize" - put the strengths of one person together with the strengths of another and see what comes of bringing that strength together.  Ineffective people see themselves as either not of much value in relationship, or they see themselves as able to live independent of others.  Either outlook is completely wrong.  God gives us extreme value - we just need to learn to trust him that when he declares us valuable, he will be faithful to bring that "value" to the surface!  Community is God's idea - isolation is ours!  Consider the source - God has proven to be reliable....us, not so much!

6)  Highly INEFFECTIVE people live very anxious lives.  Covey taught that people need to begin with the end in mind.  He was really teaching that we need to go through this phase of continually self-discovery.  Now hear this....we don't need to spend a whole lot of time on "self-discovery"!!!  We already know ourselves pretty well!  What we do need to do is spend some time in God-discovery - allowing him to point out where we are not trusting him fully with our lives and then commit those areas to his keeping!

7)  Highly INEFFECTIVE people tend to start well, but end poorly.  Covey taught that there needs to be continual renewal, or a person will burn out.  Ineffective people make great strides for a while - all committed at first, but then that commitment begins to be a burden, so they stop the forward progress.  In contrast, effective people learn to consider the cost before making the investment - there is a time of assessment, consideration, and then comes the commitment.  Once they are committed, it takes an army to attempt to stop them!

Well, just my ideas this morning!  We could probably get by with being ineffective for a while, but eventually that area that makes us ineffective will catch up with us.  Relationships will fade, we will be stuck in a rut of inactivity, and our lives will just lack the enjoyment that God intends for us.  Maybe we should do a little "God-help" assessment today!