PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS – How to Survive The Stages and Phases of Life

So many devices need to be upgraded, it’s natural that we want to use the newest version of phones, laptops, cars etc. It is normal that we crave for a higher desire after one has been met. Eg. upgrade from BB bold to a BB Z10 or an upgrade from a mac book to a mac pro for Apple lovers. Same is with cars..when the Toyota 2011 model is outgrown, there’s a craving to drive the latest 2013 model. Yeah that’s life for you.. how can I forget the upgrade from Darling Yakis to Brazillian hair, and then Indian, next Peruvian, Cambodian, Mongolian (loll…I’m guilty of this one*covers face*). Don’t get me wrong…upgrade is very necessary; the issue is that we have upgraded a lot of things we possess but always forget to upgrade our lives. Have you ever sat to reflect on your life, how things have happened over the years? Have you ever said things like, “if I knew then what I know now, maybe I would have done things differently”? That’s because at that time, you did not have the  updated software your brain operated on until now that a new application has been installed for you to think the way you do now.You don’t expect to continue thinking the same way you were thinking 5 years ago and expect something new to happen in your life. You do the same things you’ve been doing 10 years ago and expect a different result…NAH BRUV, that aint gonna happen. Even God said “I’m doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19) so what are you waiting for???  

An upgraded software/programme/app usually comes with better features than the previous. I upgraded my iOS (the Apple operating software) sometime last month and I’m enjoying some new things I see. An upgrade does not only come with better features but also helps the company to boost sales and attract new customers…(sorry, I’m reasoning like a business analyst, I’ll break it down) In simple terms, when your life is upgraded, you are a better person with a better character and this naturally attracts people to you because you’ll always have solutions to problems, people will seek your advice and confide in you. 

Life is in stages and phases; you have to go from nursery school into primary school, then Secondary, University, then (MA, M.Sc &Ph.D). Life hands us lemons in each phase of life and our ability to step up and make it into lemonades is what pushes us to the next phase in life. The same way you have to write an exam to move from JSS 1 to JSS 2, same thing happens when you need to move to the next phase of your life. There will always be obstacles to stop you, so many things will happen to try to keep you at that level; whenever you face some kinda challenges…it’s usually a sign that there is a promotion for you. To survive these challenges life will throw at you, you need to upgrade your life at each stage…if not, you will feel the whole world is on your shoulder. The question is “How do you upgrade your life”? 

While at Zenith bank, I gave a presentation on Personal Effectiveness and Professionalism in my branch. I used Steven Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. I’ll share with you some of the major things I spoke about. To be effective means to accomplish a purpose or produce an expected result. When God made you, He made you for a purpose and in Jeremiah 29:11, he tells you that His thoughts towards you are to give you an expected end. To achieve your purpose in life & to reach that desired success, you’ll need PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS a.k.a PERSONAL UPGRADE. You’ll need to be effective at every stage of your life. Personal Effectiveness therefore means making the most of all personal resources at your disposal – your personal talents, energy and time. Steven Covey gave 7 habits we should adopt but I’ll focus on 6 of them; these habits will give your life a constant upgrade and reprogramming to always keep up ahead in the journey of life. 

1) Pro-Activity: Being PROACTIVE simply means assessing the situation and developing a positive response for it. Proactive people are driven by values , they use their resourcefulness and initiative to find solutions rather than just reporting problems and waiting for other people to solve them. Our response to what happens to us affects us more than what actually happened so we can choose to use difficult situations to build our character & develop the ability to handle such situations in the future.

2) Begin With The End In Mind (the habit of personal leadership): The end represents the purpose of your life. Until you can say what that purpose is with assurance, then you just cannot direct your focus in the manner that would bring you the greatest satisfaction. To engage in this habit, you need to have a dream, define your own vision and get into the practice of setting goals which will allow you to make measurable progress towards the dream.

3) First Things First (the habit of personal management): I’ll also call this setting our priorities right. It has 4 categories:
Important & Urgent: these are things which must be done because they contribute to your purpose and have a deadline. Give more attention to these things.
Important but not urgent:these activities are key to getting your results. Concentrating on them is absolutely fundamental to achieving results and spending  appropriate time on them will help you gain control over circumstances of life. Eg relationship-building, improving your professional knowledge.
Not important but urgent:these are activities that consume your time but do not contribute to your goals, they are called interruptions. 
Not important & not urgent:these activities take your time and add no value. Much time shouldn’t be spent on them. Eg gossiping

4) Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood: This habit is an important key to inter-personal relationships. It is about understanding that our natural habit of mind is to misunderstand people & simply make our own meaning based on our own experiences and understanding of life; and frequently we make the wrong meaning. First, make efforts to understand what is being said because if both parties are trying to be understood, neither of them is really listening. People become more open, more teachable & more interested in what you may have to say with the mutual understanding that flows from this habit.

5) Synergize (the habit of creative co-operation):  This habit involves putting your head together with another person in order to find a solution which contains a win-win benefit. I have this notion that no man is an island; two heads are always better than one- so collaboration is necessary. Harness the power of creative co-operation. See the good, and the potential, in the contributions of others. It includes appreciating people, inspiring and encouraging them for contributions made.

6) Sharpen The Saw (the habit of self renewal): This is the backdrop of all other habits, enabling and encouraging them to happen and grow. Here, you are the saw; and to sharpen the saw is to become better, keener and more effective.  It is in four parts:

 Spiritual: Notice this is first in the steps to sharpen yourself. YOU NEED GOD in this journey…I tell people that life is more spiritual than physical and to survive the obstacles you’ll face, you need spiritual back-up. In that realm, I advise you stick with the Big-G cos he has the greatest power to take through every stumbling block that stands in your way. Grow spiritually, grow your relationship with God, don’t forsake the assembly of the brethren and lastly – PRAY (a lot).

Mental: Learn to read, don’t get too comfortable with being in a particular position. Improve your knowledge, harness your skills. Invest in your building yourself, upgrade your qualifications depending on  how high you want to climb in your profession – depending on whichever career path you have chosen. Just don’t stay in one spot, keep moving.

Physical: You cannot keep the inside and upstairs running without building the outside as well. Take care of your body,  exercise, rest when you should. Don’t over-work yourself (something I should learn -blogging at 4:55am when I should be sleeping), eat healthy…in one word, JUST LOOK GOOD.

Social/emotional: Build your relationship with people, guard your emotions. Don’t allow anything spoil your mood; don’t allow negative things affect you. Don’t allow somebody’s bad attitude affect the good in you, don’t venge your frustrations on other people. Don’t hurt people…learn to uplift instead of casting down. Speak good of people, see the good in others, speak positive words. In a nutshell…Live a life of LOVE. Love is all that matters, give it without expecting anything in return. 
By applying these habits  to the way we operate in our day-to-day lives, there is great potential to harness personal effectiveness and upgrade our way of life. So press that UPGRADE button and take control of your life…Nothing moves until you move and Things don’t change until you change.  READY FOR AN UPGRADE???

PS: Excerpt from Steven Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people; but the explanations are from my medula oblongata through constant re-programming and continuous upgrade :). I hope this article inspired you, pls share your thoughts below in the comment box.


About the Author

There's more to Lynn than meets the eye; visit "ABOUT ME" page for more details. I hope you enjoyed the article.

Leave a Reply