Few people have the luxury of choosing how to die. Fortunately, most of us have the luxury of choosing something more important: how to live.
This past Monday, author, educator and businessman Steve Covey died from injuries he sustained in a bicycle accident in April this year. He was 79.
Steve Covey, one of the most influential thinkers of our time is best known for his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He also authored 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families and the Leader in Me - How schools and Parents Around The World are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time.
Newspaper reports indicate that his family was by his bedside at his transition.
Fortunately, Covey left the world with much to celebrate and his influence will continue to be felt through individuals and businesses that subscribe to his philosophy. However, it was interesting to note that Steve Covey’s passing came as a result of an accident while riding his bicycle down an incline.
I don’t know any 79 year-old who still rides a bicycle, and downhill at that. Also, most 79 year-olds I know are retired. Not Covey, who was a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University at the time of his death.
Although his books will continue to do that for posterity, here was a man who was still passing on wisdom and knowledge, when by all indications (he was quite wealthy), he didn’t need to. What an unusual and it appears to me, interesting life.
That’s how I want to go too. Not in a bicycle accident as I couldn’t ride one if my life depended on it. No, I want to go surrounded by love, still physically engaged in things I enjoy, giving back to my community and leaving a legacy for the world. But again, few people choose how they die. We all get to choose how to live.
And here’s Steve Covey’s gift to the world. It boils down to this simple truth – we all can live better lives if we acquire the habits that support it. He offered no pat answers, no secrets to invoking our desires except the timeless principle that states, you get what you want by regularly practicing for it until it becomes a habit.
Whatever you desire, health, wealth, happiness, love, learn and practice the habits that will create it for you. This is not always a palatable truth because habits require time, consistency, patience and determination to acquire and refine. In the same vein, as you acquire new habits, you get rid of the old ones that do not serve you.
How we live our life
Consider this: In a few days, we will all be glued to our screens as the Olympics take centre stage. I know I will be coveting the toned and flexible bodies of the athletes while sitting comfortably on my sofa munching pop corn. And that’s how most of us live our lives.
Wanting things that we can’t have because we are not prepared to do what it takes to get them. In my case, that would be adopting the habits of the athletes I see, not as one time fads but daily routines. Early morning runs, daily exercise, and strict diets. But then again, watching from the sofa is less sweaty and so much easier.
The same thing applies to wealth. Most people are looking for short cuts and get rich quick schemes rather than painstakingly applying the habits of generating wealth. It’s more exciting to talk about the next big thing in investment rather than living below our means.
Which is probably why we are drawn to the genie in the Aladdin story. If only we could rub a magical jar and get our three wishes, life would be perfect. Problem is, there are no short-cuts in life. If we want to change where we end up, we must as Covey advised, begin with the end in mind and get with the habit.