Three Central Values

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In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey references Victor Frankl’s perspective about how there are three central values in life:

  1. Experiential: What happens to us
  2. Creative: What we bring into existence
  3. Attitudinal: Our response to difficult circumstances

Covey highlights that the greatest value here is attitudinal because it’s important how we respond to situations and reframe them in a positive way. While I agree with this assessment, I think it’s also important to put equal emphasis on the creative value. If we simply lived in experiential and attitudinal, we would be in an endless cycle of “this happens” and “this is my reaction”. This back and forth tennis match is not the most exciting. Covey explains the importance of being proactive, which is good; but still the creative gets little attention.

Creative is what brings in the new, the inspiration, and the change. While experiential and attitudinal is important, no doubt, I think there needs to be more creative in order to positively aid attitudinal and exit a negative paradigm.


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The Proactive Model

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Stephen Covey describes the difference between proactive and reactive people. Perhaps is easy for us to identify others as being proactive or reactive, but how about yourself? I thought Covey introduces the concept nicely by breaking down the word responsibility—which breaks down to “response-ability”. How do you choose to respond to scenarios? This is important because your response impacts your ability to succeed. In summary, Covey says:

“Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, whether physical, social, or psychological. But their response to the stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response.”

Value-based decisions resonate so well with me because I feel it’s the uncommon route for many. How wonderful the world would be if this type of decision-making process was at the core. It’s hard to stick to your values when the external stimuli is trying to influence you otherwise generally for someone else’s hidden agenda.

You do have the ability to choose your response, and this proactive response will get you ahead.


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Your Emotional Bank Account

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Invest into other people’s mission statements.

Forming stable relationships is important not only in life but also business. In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, I like Stephen Covey’s metaphor where he describes relationships as having their own bank accounts. The greater the trust within the relationship, the greater the balance and wealthier you will be. You want to make regular payments to the account, but you should only withdraw rarely. You make payments by investing into other people’s mission statements.

This too makes me think about how hard it is to invest into others if they don’t make their mission statement be known. You should be open about sharing your goals and personal mission, vision and values so that others can help you achieve it.

In addition, it’s hard to invest in other people’s mission statement if you are only investing in yourself. Sometimes you need to step back and create an awareness of your own behavior to see if you are taking the time to also help those people helping you.


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