Although it is generally categorized as a business book, Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is useful for nearly any area of life. In one of the early chapters, there is an exercise where Stephen Covey says to imagine your own funeral, and what you’d like people to say about you after you’re gone. This exercise, although quite morbid at first, really made me think about the things I value, what kind of person I truly want to be viewed as, and how I would define success.
The truth is, at least to me, success has nothing to do with money or fame. It has nothing to do with the number of followers or likes that I gain on this blog.
I will consider myself successful on the day that I feel I’ve learned to actively love with all my heart the people that are dear to me. In all that I say or do, honesty, genuineness, and sincerity must be at the core. I want to nurture compassion, care, and thoughtfulness in my relationships. I desire to be dependable, not just for others, but for myself as well. I hope to learn how I can respect and support others to realize their potential. I want to positively affect the people around me, and to cherish the everyday, and to be aware of the bits of beauty hidden in the world around.
It all sounds cheesy and cliche, but these are the things that I value. These are the things that I want to be remembered by. I don’t think I’m destined to change the world or end up in history books, but if I can make the lives of those who I come across a little bit brighter, I’d consider my life a success. We are all humans looking to find our form of happiness, and I don’t want to be the one who turns anybody’s day sour.
But it is easy in my day-to-day, as I run between school and work and fit homework somewhere in between, to lose sight of my values. Which is why I’m starting to try and form a new habit of getting up a little early each day to spend some time in a state of mindfulness. My Mindful Morning practice is an idea taken directly from this blog post which is a review of Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning. It involves a nifty acronym, “SAVERS”–Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Read, Scribe. The objective of the Mindful Morning is to start my day with the right mindset, rather than crawl out of bed after half an hour wasted scrolling through social media on my phone, and end up spending my day in a state of dread of what I’m totally unprepared to face. Rather, I want to:
- Meditate on my core values during the time of silence
- Affirm my own value through reflection on those things that I am grateful for
- Visualize any potential challenges in my day and how I can respond to them
- Move my body to wake it up
- Read something to get my brain charged
- Jot down my thoughts and feelings
The place that acts as the greatest challenge to practice my core values is work. The service industry is already infamous as a positivity-killer, and after my first service job, I became considerably more cynical and negative. I’m not saying that I’m looking to turn a blind eye to the darker elements of society, but I don’t want to be brought down by it. I want to be one of the sources of light. So I must constantly be mindful of my values, ingrain them into my mind and heart, so that they naturally show through in my actions and reactions. The practice of Mindful Mornings should help me establish the right attitude to project these values throughout the day.
How do you tend to start your mornings? Do you have a method that works for you to start your day well? If you aren’t satisfied with your routine, what is one action you think would help change this?