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Our Behavior Is A Function Of Our Decisions Not Our Conditions: How to Lead Yourself? (Book Report Sample)


Covey wrote in this 2008 article for SUCCESS:
"Being proactive means more than taking the initiative. It means that we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions."
Leaders face challenges and hard times but leaders look for ways to improve even in undesirable conditions. Leaders look for solutions and not excuses. As we undertake the journey towards personal leadership it is important to first cultivate an understanding of the concept that we are responsible for our own lives. To find satisfaction and success in all areas of life, we begin by understanding and applying the concept that we are responsible for our own life and every choice we make; our behaviour must be a function of our decisions and not simply a function of our conditions. As developing leaders, this assignment gives us the opportunity to reflect on what is important to us and consider how we can be proactive daily to ensure that our life is formed by our decisions and choices no matter what conditions we encounter.
Assignment Criteria: Please prepare a report (answering the questions in Exercise 1 and 2 below) + title page (and appendices if citations and supporting materials used). Hard copy due at the beginning of class 4 Ensure the report is stapled and the title page includes your name, student number and email address.
The assignment is worth 10% of your grade for HOSF2050.
Assignment: Read Steven Covey's Habit 1 (in highlighted box below) and complete the following 2 short exercises.
Covey says, your life doesn't just "happen." Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.
Habit One is about taking responsibility for your life. You can't keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are "response-able." They don't blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behaviour. They know they choose their behaviour. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behaviour. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn't, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather. All of these external forces act as stimuli that we respond to. Between the stimulus and the response is your greatest power--you have the freedom to choose your response. One of the most important things you choose is what you say. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself. A proactive person uses proactive language--I can, I will, I prefer, etc. A reactive person uses reactive language--I can't, I have to, if only. Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say and do--they have no choice.
Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. The problems, challenges, and opportunities we face fall into two areas--Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.
Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at school/work. Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern--things over which they have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies in is a giant step in becoming proactive.

Exercise 1.
“Our behavior is a function of our decisions not our conditions.”
After reading Habit One: Being Proactive, please complete the following:
• Summarize the meaning of Habit 1 in your own words.
• Explain how your own behaviour is a function of your decisions and not your conditions.
• What decisions have you made or not made recently that have kept you from being proactive and responsible for your success, happiness and relationships?
• To show your comprehension of the concept of being proactive rework a scenario where you were less successful because you were approaching it as a reactive and then show how a proactive, responsible You would handle the same situation. What would the outcome look like?
• How can you use this to guide you to design more success and satisfaction in your life?
Exercise 2.
“Due to the increased “busy-ness” of our lives, many people have turned to time management software and “to-do lists” to accomplish their day-to-day objectives. While there is certainly value in organization and time management skills, we can easily slip into the old cliché of “missing the forest for the trees” when we focus on tasks alone. Covey suggests that we need to take a step back and identify what we want our lives to mean, in a broad sense, before we can most effectively address the daily demands of life.”
In order to do this, sometimes it is easier to see oneself through the eyes of those we care about and want respect from. Imagine our own funeral at the end of our lives. Who's there? What are they saying about us? What kind of life did we lead? What did we stand for? Who were we as individuals?
Please complete this exercise and write about the person you would like to be based on the findings of the exercise.
• What impact do you want to make with your life? (For instance, if you say you want to be happy and make others happy, what does being happy actually mean to you? How will you know when you've achieved it?)
• What do you want to be remembered for? (Again, don't simply say you want to be remembered for being, “good”, “nice”, “successful”, etc., actually explain specifically what you will want to have achieved in order to be remembered as you would like.
• List at least 3 things you may have to change and how you will go about making the changes? How can you implement the changes daily in small ways?
• List at least 3 strengths you have that will help you achieve the impact you want. How will you use these strengths to also help you make the changes you want to make?
• How can you be proactive each day to ensure that you actually lead the life you truly want to lead and be the person you truly want to be in the world?


How to Lead Yourself
Exercise One
Our behavior is a function of our decisions not our conditions
In this quote “Our behavior is a function of our decisions not our conditions,” by Mr. Covey simply means that for one to be an effective person, it begins from inside out and not the other way. In other words, it simply means that individuals are responsible for their own actions and therefore they should not blame anyone for their failures. It is the decision that they make that dictates the direction their lives are going to take. For example, if an individual is looking for peace, it is exactly that he or she is going to get (Covey, 2008).
Personally, I know my reaction to issues normally depends on the decisions that I make in life. I want to be a successful person in life; it is I to decide on how I want my lifestyle to be. It is not the nature or gender that decides my behavior especially how I react to issues. It is from inside and I cannot blame the other people for anything that is taking place in my life (Covey, 2008).
Generally, I know I am a proactive person; however, there are instances when I have failed to be proactive person. For instance, when my friends and I were a...
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