EFFECTIVE - What does it mean and not mean?
Effectiveness does not mean how successful I am at getting my way, or accomplishing my goals. Rather, it has everything to do with relationships. Covey’s use of the word implies fruitful relationships with those around me, relationships that are mutually beneficial and cause me to grow.
As a Christian, the most important relationship is with my creator. As mentioned above, that is the purpose for which I was made, and the internal drive hard-wired into me. Blaise Pascal wrote that we are all created with a God-shaped void in our hearts …
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” [Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensees #425] (section VII: Morality and Doctrine ref 425)
Therefore, my effectiveness as a Christian begins with my relationship with God, that I have accepted His invitation into the relationship and I am intentionally building my life around that relationship. If that is the case, I will form more effective relationships with those in the world around me, because my worldview will be based upon the truth of Him who created the world.
As Christians we can equate effectiveness with abundant life.
John 10:10b (NASB) I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
So, if my goal is to become more effective as a human being, a Christian, and a leader, that begins with a right relationship to God, which educates my thoughts, which form the foundation of all I do. Habits of effectiveness begin within myself, growing from the inside and then manifest in the relationships in which I participate. As I become more effective, my relationships become more effective and fulfilling, including family, work, school, neighborhood, and within the church. So to improve those relationships, I first need to change my thoughts, actions and habits to those that promote effectiveness in me.
Because my thoughts matter, let’s spend some time talking about World-Views or Paradigms. My world-view, or paradigm is the framework through which I view the world and the basis upon which I make decisions. My worldview is shaped by the ideas I have come to accept as truth, the ideas that make the most sense given the experiences and knowledge I have accumulated in life.
The accuracy of my world-view depends upon the sources of knowledge I draw upon and the degree to which I actively think about the ideas presented to me. If I mindlessly accept ideas from whatever source is the most commanding, I will adopt a world-view that is shaped to conform to that source’s agenda. On the other hand, if I continually evaluate the ideas presented to me in light of what I already know to be true, and the consequences those ideas produce, I will build a world-view that becomes more accurate with time, one that more consistently produces favorable consequences