THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE: HABIT 2


Habit 2– Begin with The End in Mind 

The fundamental application of habit 2, is to begin today with the image, picture or paradigm of the end of your life as your frame of reference or the criterion by which everything else is examined. Dr. Stephen explains, “to begin with the end in mind means to start with the clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going so that you can better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”

This habit is based on the principle that ‘all things are created twice.’ The first creation is the ‘mental creation,’ then the second creation which is the ‘physical creation’ of all things. For instance, in the construction of homes, the details of everything to be constructed is first created before the physical construction ever begins, you create the blueprint for the home to be constructed first, which is the first creation, and second creation begins when you start laying the physical foundations. The carpenter’s rule is to ‘measure twice but cut once.” You have to make sure that what you have on the blueprint, being the mental or first creation is what you really want, then you can proceed to the physical creation. This minimizes mistakes that will cost greatly.

Dr. Stephen further explains that it is a principle that all things are created twice, but he also stated that “not all first creation are by conscious design. It is factual that in your personal life if you do not develop your own self-awareness and become responsible for first creation, you empower other people and circumstances outside your circle of influence to shape much of your life by default, your life will reactively be according to the script that is handed you by family, friends, associates, among others. You are either the second creation of your own proactive design or the second creation of other people’s agenda’s, or of circumstances, or of past habits.

In retrospect, Habit 1 says ‘you are the creator,’ and habit 2is the first creation’ (mental creation) which as earlier stated, precedes the second creation (physical creation). The unique human capacities of self-awareness, imagination, and conscience, enables us to examine first creation and makes it possible for us to take charge of our own first creation, to write our own script. Through imagination, we can visualize the uncreated worlds of potential that lie within us. Through conscience, we can come in contact with universal laws or principles with our own singular talents and avenue of contribution, and with the personal guidelines within which we can most effectively develop them.

Developing a ‘personal mission statement’ or philosophy, or creed is the most effective way to begin with the end in mind. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and what you want to do (contributions and achievements) and also on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based. Due to our individual uniqueness as humans, a personal mission statement will reflect that uniqueness, both in content and form. However, you could call a personal mission statement a constitution, it fundamentally never changes.

Stephen advices in writing your personal mission statement, you must begin at the very center of your circle of influence, which comprises of basic paradigms and the lens through which we see the world. It is here that we deal with our vision and values. It is here that we use our endowment of self-awareness to make certain that our paradigms are based on principles and reality. It is here that we use our endowment of conscience as a guiding compass to help us detect our own unique talents and contributions. It is also here that we use our endowment of imagination to mentally create the end that we desire, giving direction and purpose to our beginning and providing the substance of a written personal constitution.

As you look into your circle of influence, you expand it, significantly impacting every aspect of your life. Whatever is at the center of your life will be the source of your securityguidance,wisdom, and power.

Security, represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or the lack of it.


Guidance, means your source of direction in life. It is your internal frame of reference that interprets for you what is happening out there.

Wisdom, is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how various parts and principles apply and relate to each other.

Power, is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also reflects the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher and more effective ones.

These four factors are interdependent of each other. 

We individually have a center, although we don’t usually recognize it as such, neither do we recognize the all-encompassing effects of that center on every aspect of our lives. There are several centers people typically have, this includes the spouse centerednessfamily centeredness, money centeredness, possession centeredness, friend or enemy centeredness, church centeredness, self-centeredness.

So, where do you stand? What is at the center of your own life? The best way to identify your own center is to look closely at your life-support factors. Check the book for more descriptions. The center you are in, may be limiting your personal effectiveness. This is enough reason to identify the center so you can effectively begin with the end in mind. 

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