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Summary – Inside Out
Stephen Covey does not start teaching the 7 Habits until page 64 of the book. Instead he starts out with talking about the change coming from within. While working on his doctorate, Covey was reviewing over 200 years of literature. He noticed that since the 1920’s, success writings were based on solutions to specific problems, providing advice that was effective at the current moment, but never really solving the long term, underlying problems. This literature credited success to personality traits, skills, and techniques. This philosophy was known as the Personality Ethic.
Covey also studied literature during the 150 years that occurred before the 1920’s and noticed that it was more character based. The Character Ethic emphasized deeper principles and foundations of success such as integrity, courage, justice and patience.
The Character Ethic elements are considered primary traits while the Personality Ethic elements are secondary. Secondary traits may help one to succeed in some short term situations, but both ethics are needed for long term success. Character is what is most visible in long term relationships. The 7 Habits are basic, primary habits.
To understand the 7 Habits it is necessary to understand our paradigms, Character and Personality Ethic being social paradigms. To understand paradigms, Covey gives an example on page 23 regarding maps. He says that the easiest way to understand them is to view them as a map, a simple explanation of certain aspects of the territory. A paradigm can be described as a theory, an explanation, or model of something else.
Covey tells the reader to pretend that they wanted to arrive in a specific location in Chicago. A street map of the city would be of a great help, but you were given a map of Detroit, labeled Chicago instead. Imagine the frustration and ineffectiveness of trying to reach the destination. You could work on your behavior, try harder, double your speed, but your efforts...
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