7 Habits of Highly Effective Bicyclists

Stephen Covey died last week from complications following a bicycle accident.

Yes, he was wearing a helmet. But the dude was almost 80, and he held on for months.

If you don't know who Stephen Covey, its most likely that you are aware of the work for which he is most famous. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published in 1989 and sold tens of millions of copies and ushered in an entire era of self-help practices for the upwardly mobile. It proposes to deliver powerful lessons in personal change.  It gave us the indelible buzz words like Synergy and Paradigm Shift, and got a lot of people thinking outside the box.

The reason it took off with the kind of force it did was because it filled a vacuum. The vacuum lies within each of us. It lives in that hole that was previously filled with luck and magic, with intuition and acceptance. The hole now tells us it's our fault for not being rich, healthy, beautiful, successful, rich, effective.

Stephen told us that if we just synergized our little paradigms out of the box, we could align ourselves to the "True North" character ethic.

Sounds so totally rad.

Which is how I would have said that in 1989.

I totally want to align myself with a timeless and universal character ethic.

And then I had kids.

And I've narrowed my expectation of effectiveness.

Let's say I've got a son. At first I want that son to eat nothing but organically grown food, home cooked and with no preservatives and hormone free. That will clearly make me an effective parent. But he won't eat any of that shit, so I settle for home cooked. Sure, sometimes, but fuck you if the peas touch the mash potatoes. Then its "I don't like steak," "I don't like broccoli" "Chicken again". I won't subject my own meals to his whim so I start making something different. And eventually he doesn't even eat that. He won't eat at the table, he won't eat when its dinner time. He won't eat when he's been complaining about how hungry he is.

Now the only measure of my effectiveness as a parent is if he goes to bed early enough for me to have sex with my wife.

That would be Habit 4: Win-Win.

Actually that would be the culmination of all the habits. Be Proactive, Begin with the end in mind, Put First Things First, Win-Win, Seek first to understand, Then to be understood, Synergize, and finally Sharpen the Saw.

Well, maybe that last part would be more like torture porn, but you get the idea.

So in essence, Stephen Covey wasn't talking about the corporate ladder, he was really giving us a manual to get laid.

But all joking aside, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People never made the world a better place. It just made us sad about all the things we never achieved and blamed us for our lack of fortitude.

And here's why I find this type of self help as disposable as a daily horoscope. It never mentions the best part of the human experience.

It never mentions failure.

It never mentions falling flat on your face, or having your heart ripped from your chest, or getting too drunk at a party, or getting lost three blocks from you own house. It never mentions discovery when you hit the wrong chord or the inspiration that comes from a waiter's off hand remark. It doesn't teach you how to bandage that wound, clean out the blood, or even how to walk it off.

The first thing every motorcyclist learns, is how to crash. But Stephen Covey could never teach you how to crash.

All he could tell you, was that there are people in this world who are better than you, and why.

But I piss on that. So here's a counter argument if you want to be an effective person:

There's is no one better than you.

Show up on time.

Show up with a reasonable amount of enthusiasm.

Learn how to crash.

Set his bed time nice and early.

Stick to that bed time.


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