Without a plan or a direction I would feel lost in life. In my line of work, I need to plan at different levels and follow up and adjust and align as I proceed. A good land use plan needs a comprehensive vision of where we wish to see the community 20 or 30 or 50 or more years from now. Stephen Covey calls the habit of creating a vision ‘Begin with the End in Mind’. If I am planning a trip I first need to know what is my final destination knowing that, in order to reach it, I will have to take a direction and do a few things on the way, like filling gas occasionally or take a stretch stop once in a while. However, before we even think of an end in mind we need to realize that we are in charge. Dr. Covey describes the first habit of a highly effective individual as ‘Being Proactive’. Let’s see what he has to say about this.
“Think of the different situations you find yourself in daily as you strive to achieve your goals. Do you act reactively or proactively? Proactive basically means that you have the power of choice. You can take initiative. You literally can set and achieve a goal. You are not a product of your past, or of your past habits, or of your genetic makeup, or of the social agenda that is pressing upon you. You are not a product of those things. See most people think they are, literally they do. They think, “But what can I do? They make me do this.” Or, “I have to do this”, or “I’ve always done this”, or “this is the way it’s been done.” This is the language they use, this is reactive language, it isn’t proactive language. Proactive language is “I choose a goal.” I am proactively making a choice to go for a new goal, to make a change in my life that I think is important and will impact the totality of my life. Because the private victory basically says that your security comes from within, not from without. It doesn’t come other people’s opinions. That’s where most people tend to get their security, what other people think of them. Consequently they grow up with a comparison-based identity. They don’t know who they are, they know how they are seen. But they are seen differently by different people.
Have you ever been in a crazy room mirror, and looked at the weird caricature images that come back to you from all of the different mirrors? That’s what it’s like for many, many people. Literally. They are literally torn apart and seen in different ways by different people and they don’t know themselves and the only person they know is the person they’re supposed to be to this person or to this person. So they end up playing roles and pretending, and then they often times get very jealous when they see someone succeeding better than they. Because what? Their security comes from without. From people’s opinions. And they don’t stack up as well with other people as they otherwise might, as they want to. Same thing with school. School does it to us because of the distribution curve. Athletics does it to us. Friends. The whole economic world is often based on status and position. All of these forces combine together to give you an image of yourself, who you are. So this is highly connected to the whole concept of your spirit and your mind. And your peace of mind, and even greater than that, peace of conscience, meaning your integrity. Meaning living true to your value system, to those things that you know are right.”