In a society where everything is quick-fix and modeled after the fast food restaurant it is no surprise that corporate America faces the current dilemma of failing management and disinformation. Covey reminds us we must be willing to get personally involved with our job, life, family, and so on. This essay will discuss four principles needed not only in business but everyday life as well; Security, Guidance, Wisdom, and Power. Security does not mean what it used to twenty years ago. In times past, a hand shake could seal a business deal.
Now, there are multiple copies of signed pages holding each party to their word. Also, a man was as good as his word in years gone by. Today it is more difficult to establish some level of trust enough to do business on a long term basis. Identity and personal integrity are just a couple of the issues that have to be proven to potential business partners. Identity plays such an important role in every day life that if we are not yet established as a person who knows themselves others will take notice.
Not only is it difficult to perform in the business world, but the lack of this character trait can significantly hurt any personal relationship we hope to gain. There are various degrees of security which are, for the most part, dictated to us by the circumstance in life. However, being human, we have the ability to control how our integrity is substantiated. If we are careful when approaching this aspect of our daily lives we will soon be known as a person others can trust. This is security.
Not just security for business prospects, but in the day to day grind of every-man-for-himself it will be the defining factor of all of our relationships. We can gain a great deal of insight on life if we develop a secure lifestyle. This mode of living guides us to the next principle of the four I mentioned above. The direction we receive in life is also a choice we make and comes from all the different forms of information that we allow to infiltrate our minds. It is inevitably this that shapes who we become.
Covey recognizes this and offers a lot of practical insights for those who are brave enough to live life to its fullest. A person can live either on the low, middle, or the high end of this continuum. The low ultimately causes an individual to focus on themselves and what’s in it for them. Self-centered people are an example of this end of the continuum. Those focusing on traditions or human institutions are the result of the middle continuum. Then there are people who are inspired and inspire others to reach their potential in life.
We choose the type of guidance we follow. Some may think that circumstance dictates their guidance, but it is impossible for anyone to be on a certain level of the continuum without consciously choosing to do so. We may not want to accept that as a truth, but the proof is easily seen by the manner of our lives. People who try to control the information shaping their lives are the people Covey calls wise. To have balance in life is to be able to see things as they really are and not to allow the facade of humanistic attitudes to dictate our life responses.
Everything from inaccurate life maps to fuzzy principles will make fools of us all, and will be the source of all our frustrations. Judgment and comprehension can add a level of success in life that is measured not by income alone, but also by friends and family relationships. Things that might bring temporary pleasure are fleeting and the wise seek pleasure that is true joy. Joy gives an ability to adjust to life and recognize any power that we might possess. Power is only a good thing if coupled with wisdom and can be described as the authority with which we act.
The best way to see if the power you exercise is truly helpful is to hear others’ opinions of you. While it is not recommended that you live your life or change any aspect of it by the things you hear, it can bring satisfaction or warning if rightly interpreted. People with power are demonstrative, yet not in an offensive manner. The true character of man is best told when he is alone. This is where the true power an individual possesses is recognized. These four principles; security, guidance, wisdom, and power, have given many people a large number of satisfying days at work and at home.
I like to think they have influenced my life to enable me to make logical, sensible and wise choices knowing that these choices will determine my lot in life. At this venture of my life, though, it is wisdom that dictates where I go intellectually and helps me choose those things that are wholesome and right for me. Even with all the mistakes I make in life, wisdom continues to grow in me and helps guide future actions. References Covey, Stephen R. (October 1, 1992). Principle Centered Leadership. 1st edition. New York, NY: Fireside, imprint of Simon Schuster.