Stephen Covey and My Religion

The first time I heard of his name and his famous book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was when I was with Sony Electronics in Penang. It was such a revelation that a simple basic 7 steps could make me a better person. I have changed so much since then. I have since used these basic items at work, with my children and everyone I meet.

The first realization is that my views are not the only views that exist. There are different perspectives of things in everything. I see the same thing as others are seeing but my views and perception are different from theirs. Without this realization, I would not be able to move on to the next level of his book. It would be a waste of time because then, the paradigm shift did not happen.

The first 3 of 7 habits tackles the move from dependence to independence or self-mastery. Being proactive means that having the realization that whatever action I take, I have to be responsible and accountable for whatever happens. Whatever I do will decide the effectiveness of my life. ME. “Begin with the end in mind” is to have vision and mission of what I want as the final result…be it at work, religiously or at home. What do I see myself as. By putting first things first, I am actually prioritizing, planning and implementing everything based on importance. Urgency becomes another matter that has to be dealt separately. For example, the choices between an important long overdue family dinner and your boss urgent simple request.

The next level is the interdependence level. This is the level where most of our lives intertwine with others ie your family, your work mates, people you meet etc. I find the 4th habit still a challenge till this date –Win-Win. I have always been very competitive and want to win. I secretly do it now. It was hard to realize that a mutual-beneficial relationship would ever happen. Every time that happens I feel like I lost part of me, that I have ‘compromise’ what I want. In reality it has helped throughout my life. I think it has helped me in to still have a marriage, a wonderful open relationship with my children and definitely a better co-worker, boss and customer/client. I am still learning this art, sometimes you just make the other person feels like they are winning and you lost 🙂 . Seek first to understand then to be understood is also a tough habit for me. I was never a good listener, always a talker. I still talk a lot and sometimes able to stop myself and do a u-turn to practice listening and have an open mind while doing it. I have received thank you’s, hugs, appreciation cards and smiles for being caring, empathetic and respectful. At the same time on occasions I learned the hard truth that some people just do not want to be understood and have very different views. Synergize the 6th habit is slightly easier once all 5 is in place. I find that when I do not believe in the win-win, teamwork fails…miserably. But I know it works well, when the people around you are always there for you, for their colleague and for their own family.

The third level is the Self Renewal. I have to sharpen the saw. It is a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle so you could do all 6 habits effectively. This includes living healthily with as less stress as possible. I don’t have an incredibly good exercise regimen but I do think I eat healthily as much as possible. I don’t have any serious illnesses, alhamdulillah. Mental renewal is also important where I feel religion plays an important part of my life. The principles I hold are absorbed into the 7 habits as much as possible. I read all type of books to stay alert and to increase my knowledge.

I am still a woman in progress. I am always in progress to become a better person. I am a in progress of becoming a better muslim too….as I realize my religion is the key to me being an effective person. A better person. Covey makes me think about my life principles…and it is obvious for me then and still now that my life principle is what my religion has always taught me.

Thank you.

Covey was a father of nine children and a grandfather of fifty-two. That in itself says a lot about a man.




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