Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

The #1 best seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”  by Steven Covey has sold over 15 million copies in 38 languages since 1989.  This means a lot of people worldwide have figured out that they are not effective and will probably fail at what they are doing.  
Like most self help books, living up to the recommendations of the author is all but impossible.  I think that it might be easier to change for the good by trying to pin point the things you are actually doing wrong, and then try to stop doing much.
A useful tool in this regard is “The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People”, which for me is easier to relate to.  It was compiled by Dan Ariely, a Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke.  I assume he located in the Triangle to have more direct access to the large numbers of ineffective people who live here, such as the members of the North Carolina Legislature and the Wake County School Board. 
According to Dan, “The thing about habits is that for good and bad they require no thinking".  (Sort of like watching “Wheel of Fortune” or “Fox & Friends”)  
“An established habit, whether getting ready for work in the morning or having a whiskey after, is a pattern of behavior we’ve adopted—we stick to it regardless of whether it made sense when we initially adopted it, and whether it makes sense to continue with it years later."  (Like letting your dog sleep on the bed).   
“From a human irrationality perspective this means that something we do “just once” can wind up becoming a habit and part of our activities for a longer time than we envisioned.” (Remember, NEVER let the dog on the bed...even once).

Dan did not say that short attention span was a bad's more of an affliction.  So for the sake of the afflicted, his abbreviated list with a brief comment from me is as follows:
1. Procrastination. Well it did take me a few days to get around to writing this.
2. The planning fallacy. It DID take longer to write this than I thought it would.
3. Texting while driving. OMG...WTF...ACDNT. Will NVR rite blog on 440 again  :-(
4. Checking email too much.  Dan says checking email is addictive in the same way gambling is. All I know is that there is a lot of money in Nigeria and they do have problems getting it out, so its a gamble not to check your email    often...because the offers from there come in fast and furious.
5. Relativity in salary. This one says that its a waste of time and energy to worry about how much you make in relation    to your friends and family...and evidently we do this a lot.  I agree, but it still pisses me off that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates   make more money than me.  We are the same age...and are in the same industry.  Talk about unfair!
6. Overoptimism. However, I still think I have a chance to make that kind of money next year...when the economy recovers.   

There is not a seventh habit...Dan says that “sadly we are often overoptimistic” and that his “most recent example of this was just a few hours ago when I sat down to write an essay entitled:  “The 7 Habits Of Highly Ineffective People.” 
I think there should be an eighth Habit of Highly Ineffective People.  It would be believing everything your read.

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