Sunday, December 02, 2007
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The school where I teach has the foreign English teachers give a 2 hour lecture every Friday night. Since there are 4 of us, we can rotate and do one a month. This past Friday was my turn, so I prepared a lecture on the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I figured the Chinese would love it because they always want to know how to get ahead in life, plus it's easy on my part because all I had to do was summarize something that had already been done.
I read this book in college, but I forgot that the first part of the book focuses on the difference between character and personality, and how important it is to focus on having a foundation of good character rather than focusing on skills, personality, and techniques. After I began to prepare the Powerpoint presentation for this lecture, I began to get excited about what kinds of questions might surface after I was done. In general, the Chinese don't learn any kind of ethics associated with business, so they don't see a problem with cutting a few corners here and there, pocketing a bit of money that no one will miss. Of course, those kinds of practices can come back to bite you in the end so a lot of people with common sense stay away from that sort of thing. But to have good character values plainly laid out in a presentation was something that these students hadn't had before. After finishing my lecture, I didn't really get any questions about the 7 habits. Instead, all of the questions were along the lines of "How important do you think it is to have good character?" "What kinds of traits do you consider to be good character?" "Do you really think honesty is important in business and other relationships?" "Do you think having a faith of some sort is important for success and happiness?" "Everyone has their own idea of the world and you can't force someone to follow your faith, so why do you think having a strong faith is important?" "I don't think it's possible for someone to change their mind about what they believe. Have you ever know someone who doesn't believe in religion to change their mind?"
Needless to say, I felt like the questions started some good conversations. Even though the conversations didn't last very long because we all ended up leaving soon after, the smallest seed can bear up a giant tree.