I am re-reading Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and wow, what a difference in reading it at the age of 33 vs the age of 18! I received it from my Uncle as a graduation gift from high school. I remember reading it “sort of” but it didn’t have much of an impact on me at the time. I took a few good ideas that have stuck with me (like Sharpen the Saw), but the true depth of the book was hidden from me at that age. And now, wow, I think it’s one of the most important books I’ve read in a while. I’m only half way through my re-read, but I just couldn’t wait to post this thought.
What strikes me the most is that book is framed as a tool to become effective, but I propose that you could unilaterally change the word “effective” to “happy” and the book would have the same powerful meaning and value.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how organizations can help their constituents be happier. I see that companies are doing a lot to find their WHY, to build their organizational core values, to build a great company culture; but I’m not sure it’s all working to achieve happiness for the individuals in the organization. Isn’t happiness the true goal in all of that? Isn’t an individual who is truly happy going to be a better employee, a more satisfied customer, a stronger leader, a more productive anything?
It seems that true individual happiness is the holy grail of organizational culture. With it, everything else will hum along.
I think the Seven Habits book has a lot to say about happiness. The principles that are at the center of your own individual life– your Personal Creed, your personal core values, your priorities, being intentional — these are things that determine whether you will be happy in life, which ultimately lead to your effectiveness as a human being.
Happy people are effective people.
And, by the way, I don’t think anyone could argue against the statement: Unhappy people are ineffective people.