The greatest thing that I learned by NOT reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
About 10 years back, I discarded the 7 Habits of Highly effective people book as boring and lengthy. I strived to read it but couldn’t read past the first few pages. I felt that the book wasn’t written with the reader in mind and the examples were grossly irrelevant. But I had always appreciated the concept and the author based on the limited summary that I had read.
So I ignored the the details in the book and decided that I’ll never read it. I never recommended it to anyone else and even discouraged a few readers from reading it based on my reading experience. Nevertheless, I kept the book in my library because it looked good.
But I always kept practising the habits, as mentioned in the titles, without worrying about getting into the details. The smaller lessons in these chapters didn’t matter. Years of such practice only increased my respect for the author. In these years, I must have picked the book tens of times with an intention to read it. But my previous belief didn’t allow me to read it any further than the few pages that I had read before.
The sad demise of Stephen Covey touched something deep inside me but couldn’t move me enough to immerse myself into his great work.
Over these years, my life took every turn that it could. Life blessed me with good times and bad. I read a few more books that had a profound impact on my life. I was quietly drawing lessons from these great teacher’s works and tried applying them in my life.
But I learnt more from the biggest teacher of all times, that is life itself. I kept walking on the journey, learning some big lessons the hard way, developing insights and carving my way of dealing with things. I cherished my self-learned lessons more than the ones that I read. In fact I felt privileged to acquire them.
But life has certain circles that you never understand. Today, nearly after a decade, I stared reading the 7 Habits again. This time, with more respect and dedication towards this great work.
As I read through the first few chapters I was astonished to know that the smaller lessons that were hidden in these chapters were actually the big lessons I had learned from life. The ones that I was proud of. The ones which I felt were only mine. I wish I would have convinced my stupid-10-years-younger self to persist through reading this book. I wish I would have known these lessons earlier. These insights were always there, in fact very much available to me, but I wasn’t grown enough to understand them.
This whole experience dawned upon me that there are things that we didn’t like before. There are things that we don’t like today. Probably these things aren’t bad. Just that we haven’t grown enough to understand them.