Read week


Moving into the second step of our CAR organising framework – i.e. Action, we recall our second set of three questions and apply them to Your Current Circumstances. These questions correlate with the three progressive commands – Ready, Set, Go! as follows:

  • How do you feel about where you are right now? (Ready)
  • What do you think about where you are right now? (Set)
  • What are you going to do about where you are right now? (Go)

Additionally, these three questions and commands have a correlation with the first three of Stephen R. Covey’s very influential “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. They (the first three habits) are:

  1. Be Proactive (Ready)
  2. Begin with the End in Mind (Set)
  3. Put First Things First (Go)

Over the forthcoming articles we will systematically examine these three habits, commands and questions starting today with the first:

  • How do you feel about Your Current Circumstances?
  • Be Proactive!
  • Get Ready 

How do You Feel?

Imagine that you are in the lounge room looking at what is going on in the world on the TV, or you could be reflecting on Your Current Circumstances in your mind’s eye.

When I was doing this a few years ago, I felt moved to pen these words:

Can I just sit and stare
 at the world from my chair
when in my head I think I’m there
and in my heart I’m UP I CARE?

This poem recognises that we have three parts  – all of which are referenced – namely, physical (sit and stare), mental (in my head I think) and emotions (in my heart I CARE), and because these all work together I am moved to act (I’m UP).

Emotions are an automatic, spontaneous response to any situation. We talk of emotions coming from our heart, but our heart is really just another name for our subconscious and emotions are the manifestation of our subconscious’ communication to our conscious mind. When we perceive something and that perception registers in the subconscious mind, then the subconscious speaks to us with our heartfelt response, our emotions. (If only there was a way to translate our emotions into something intelligible to our conscious mind.)

Stephen Covey teaches whenever we are moved to act, it is very normal to react with an automatic or a reflex action to the stimulus that moves us – this is being Reactive. But he teaches that it is best to recognise that because we are self aware, have a conscience, have imagination and have independent will, we can put a gap between the stimulus and our response. And that in this gap we can carefully consider, choose and deliberately determine the best response – this is being Proactive. To Be Proactive means to Be Intentional. Sometimes the best Proactive response may be to be Inactive. The difference between being Reactive and Proactive is the difference between being a hot head and a cool head.

In thinking about being a cool head (or being Proactive), I am reminded of two more poems that talk about the things we can control and how to work with things that are beyond our control. Here they are:

Lord, Grant me the
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference.

In this life of trouble and strife
Where e’er the winds may blow
It’s not the gales, but the set of the sales
That determines where I go.

Points to Ponder

  • Have you ever considered emotions to be instantaneous evaluations?
  • Are emotions a good thing or a bad thing?
  • How can we understand emotions?

Copyright © 2021 John Harris