Wednesday, June 16

Seven Habits

These last few nights I’ve been reading my husband’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It’s almost a tattered copy now, frayed in the edges, thanks to my once careless handling. It’s basically one of those coaching books that I hope don’t make me run into tiresome platitudes, but just straight to the point, useful insights. I’m just on my second "habit" anyway so it's early to tell. Oliver is an aficionado of this kind of literature, and obviously I’m not. I’m more of a jd salinger kind of thinker who finds bliss in the neuroses of oneself and of the world. But, before I stray off into any further mental torment, it’s best to exercise prudence when working on the book’s objectives, singular of which is to know one’s Character. The key to being an effective person, it suggests, is to work the issues from the inside out (meaning the character), to have better control of the outside-in (personality) circumstances of your life. More or less. But I’m quite doing this thing on my terms. First because I have never bothered to sum up my character before. Sure I have the 100 Things about me Meme going on, but it’s only as cheesy as it can get. So who am I? I’ll probably attempt to look at it in two parts:

1.Empathy (which could otherwise be a weakness unless used with forethought)
5.Imagination (??? - the walter mitty syndrome)

1.Lack of ambition, focus or direction
3.Temper, or lack thereof
5.Fear of confronting reality

Right about now, I realize that it’s healthy to be just in between, and not to drive oneself to impossible lengths to be a Perfect Person. I mean heck if you ask me, what matters most to me is personal happiness, never about money or artificial success. But rarely do I care to add that being happy entails having a full stomach, a roof to shelter one’s head, clothes, good education, respect of one’s peers, or owning things that satiates one’s physiological needs. Neither am I inclined to be a bum, get wasted, and live on other people’s compassion. But are those all to it? How about surreal things like song and poetry that we cannot rationalize and yet can restore the dankness of our spirits? Is our existence any better if we have everything of the former and nothing of the latter? How about the tibetan monks who lived in seclusion, fed in poetry and prayers and yet were undoubtedly elevated to kingdom come by doing away with all their worldly cares? What is the more important hunger?

I’m still going to read the rest of the book, and maybe change a few things about me, but I’m not going to be any preachier than this already is. As the gritty French would always remark, take me or leave me. It’s between the devil and the deep, blue sea.

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