My latest audio-book is the classic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey. This book has already mercifully saved me from listening to the Detroit Tigers blow another game. So far I”m impressed. I love how Covey attacks the “Personality Ethic” of so much self-help literature and promotes, instead, a character ethic. Here’s one particularly good gem:
Inside-out means to start first with self, even more fundamentally to start with the most inside part of self, to start with your paradigms, your character, your assumptions, and your motives. It says that if you want to have a happy marriage, be the kind of person who generates positive energy and sidesteps negative energy rather than empowering it. If you want to have a more pleasant, cooperative teenager, be a more understanding, empathetic, consistent, loving parent. If you want to have more freedom, more latitude, in your job, be a more responsible, a more helpful, a more contributing employee. If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy. If you want to have the secondary greatness of recognized talent, focus first on the primary greatness of character. The inside-out approach says that internal victories precede external victories. … In all of my experiences, I have never seen lasting solutions to problems, lasting happiness and success that came from the outside-in.