17/05/2020

Begin with the end in mind

Do all the things that give you anxiety every day really align with what you believe in, with your own values and principles?

At the end of your life, how would you like to be remembered? When it will finally be your time in life to throw in the towel, what kind of impressions would you like to have left on your family, your friends, your coworkers, your community?

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy—very busy—without being very effective.“ — Stephen R. Covey

As you may know by now, I’m re-reading one of the most influential books I’ve read to this point, the 7 habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. For the first habit of the list, Begin with the End in Mind, the author invites us to think about our deep values, what really matters to us, or rather what will have mattered when we will be looking back.


What are the things that really matter?

In our daily life, it's easy to get caught up in a false sense of priority. Yes, sure you need to have a good grade so that you can earn your diploma, sure you need to satisfy your boss and work well, by all means, these are your priorities today but... will they all really matter down the road? Do all the things that give you anxiety every day really align with what you believe in, with your own values and principles?

Someone thinking in front of a lake.Someone thinking in front of a lake.

For example in my own life, I love learning, whether from books, from movies, from people, or experiences, I breathe to discover the world, I really do. Yet, as it seems, I always seem to let my will to “satisfy and not disappoint people” get the better of me.

Instead of enjoying what I learn in maths, I let my fear of disappointing the professor, or my coworkers dictate my actions. So, because I see it as a chore, I become miserable at something that has the power to make me happy. But at the end of the day, at the end of my life, will their approval really have mattered? Shouldn’t I have just enjoyed and made the most out of every moment I had instead?


How to begin with the end in mind?

Beginning with the end in mind is the idea of putting our life in the service of our own values, not the values of others. It’s about recognizing that we even if we don’t have the power to change the world, we have the power to change ourselves, in the world. It’s about recognizing that we have a choice if we accept to take it.

So if you’re ready to begin with the end in mind, here are a few applications (taken from the book) that I would suggest you:

  • Think about what you value the most in the world, is it your family, your friends? Your work? Money? Fame?
  • Take a moment to think about and write down how you’d like to be perceived by your family, your friends, your coworkers, and your community when you’ll be gone? What do they say, what (and how) do they remember of you?
  • Start writing your Personal Mission Statement: Imagine you were given a pen and had the power to design your life, however you wanted to, with no limitations. What would it look like?

« And leadership is even more lacking in our personal lives. We’re into managing with efficiency, setting and achieving goals before we have even clarified our values. » — Stephen R. Covey

The adventure beginsThe adventure begins

That’s all for me this week, thank you again for reading. If you haven’t already, I would highly suggest you read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to learn more. I’ll be publishing more posts about my ideas from the book in a new future.


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What is one thing that brings you pure and genuine happiness?
And how do you think you could value it more?

Last updated: 4 weeks ago

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