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Christopher B. Dreier Section 004 My Three Most Useful Habits Three of the most important traits that I believe to be essential in my becoming a highly effective person are responding proactively, beginning with the end in mind and most important, listening to understand. If I practice these three qualities I believe that I will be very successful in my personal and professional life as an engineer. Habit #1 – BE PROACTIVE To be proactive means to take in all of the outside stimuli that I encounter in my life, whether it is good or bad, and to be able to respond to it in a way that betters me and others’ attitudes toward me. I can be proactive by using a combination of freedoms to choose what my reaction will be to situations and intrapersonal feelings. One freedom, self-awareness, gives me the ability to objectively look at myself and decide whether what I am doing is best for me. Maintaining a firm, clear picture of my self-identity and personal goals stops me from succumbing to a social mirror effect or being persuaded by others that are less knowledgeable of my goals. My second freedom is imagination. I can allow my mind to wander past the realities of my life and dream of something better. Imagining all the possibilities opened by completing a task pushes me to be more diligent in pursuing its finalization. Thirdly, I have a conscience. I not only know the difference between right and wrong, I also have the ability to weigh the consequences associated with each potential path. Thus, I think before I react and save myself from encountering otherwise uncomfortable and damaging situations. Lastly, I have an independent will, which enables me to increase my self-awareness by blocking out all other stimuli in order to react consciously and imaginatively. 2 Christopher B. Dreier Section 004 By using all of my four freedoms, I will become proactive and be able to base my actions on values instead of feelings, moods, or personal thoughts. This will help me greatly in making effective, meaningful decisions in my personal and professional life. Habit #2 – BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND For me, to begin with the end in mind means to imagine my final destination and outcome before I ever start a project. By contemplating the finished product, I can decide whether what I am doing is worthwhile. Thinking about my target also invites me to build a plan of action instead of just jumping into a situation, illustrating that all things are created twice: once in my mind and once by my hands. By completely understanding my goal, plan, and final objective, I avoid repetition and regret in my actions. This ties in with self-awareness and uses one of its facets, imagination. In building my plans mentally, I explore all possible avenues of creation and execution without worrying about their feasibility in the physical world. This in- depth exploration will lead to a more effective and efficient final product. Using a second property of self-awareness, conscience, I evaluate my plan and see if the end is even possible given my current ability. Self-evaluation yields an accurate estimation of my skills and decreases the possibility of incomplete execution of my plan. Beginning with the end in mind by thinking about my objective and personal requirements will help me tremendously in the professional world by maximizing profit and minimizing failure due to lack of ability or ambition. Habit #5 – SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD Even though I list this habit last, I believe it to be the most important aspect of becoming a highly effective person. This is true mostly because it’s a trait that I have 3 Christopher B. Dreier Section 004 definitely not yet mastered. I believe that active listening must be one of the most difficult and therefore most rewarding of all the habits. When I attempt to listen to understand, I do more than just try to hear a person. I try to empathize with them by imagining how I would feel if what has happened to them happened to me. By doing so, I share their emotion and probably their reaction to the predicament. Unfortunately, the next step is where I fail. Rather than continuing to listen and understand, I attempt to solve the person’s problem by relating it to one of my past experiences and expecting them to accept my solution as ideal. Since my intent is to provide advice rather than just to understand, the person gets frustrated because I am not fulfilling my duty as an active listener. By exerting my form of control over the situation, I destroy whatever connection I had formed with the other person. This completely breaks down all means of communication and nullifies the conversation. I honestly believe that with good communication skills, I can accomplish anything, even if I do not yet have the specific skills required to complete a task. Selling myself is the first step; learning can follow. I am slowly adapting this paradigm because it would be highly effective for my professional experience. Even though these are three of very few traits that should be considered when building my self-portrait, implementing them into my daily life is essential. If I act proactively, begin with the end in mind and listen to understand, I believe that I will become a very highly effective individual in my personal and professional life.
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