The 7 Habits again and less is more

I re-read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People over the winter break. I do this every couple of years. And just like in past re-readings, I marked many pages for further reflections and writing here in the coming weeks.

A good friend’s biggest reflection for 2022 was the idea “less is more.” He shared that he learnt to focus on fewer things, spent time with fewer friends, and appreciated the importance of re-reading fewer books. Life had gotten busier in 2022 and he found himself content with the focus on less vs. the pursuit of more.

I found myself reflecting on this idea as I re-read the 7 Habits. I’m glad I chose to re-read it instead of attempting to find something new. I needed its wisdom more than I realized.

Every time I read the book, I’m reminded of just how profound a compilation of human wisdom is. Stephen Covey repeatedly states that he just played the role of synthesizer. And that’s very true – it draws from cultures and texts all over the world. However, it also illustrates the power of good synthesis. It is exceptionally well done.

There are so many ideas that stick. Start with your own character. Private victories before personal victories. There’s a space between stimulus and response. Integrity is making and keeping commitments. Begin with the end in mind. You can’t talk your way out of a problem you’ve acted yourself into. Put first things first. Think win-win. Seek to understand before being understood. Sharpen the saw.

Each of these ideas are simple to read, difficult to internalize, and take years to master.

I expect to keep writing about them as I attempt to learn them and make them part of how I operate.

Less can indeed be more.

And simple is hard.