To try to change outward attitudes and behaviors does very little good in the long run if we fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow. (p28)
Suppose you wanted to arrive at a specific location in central Chicago. A street map of the city would be a great help to you in reaching your destination. But suppose you were given the wrong map. Through a printing error, the map labeled “Chicago” was actually a map of Detroit. Can you imagine the frustration, the ineffectiveness of trying to reach your destination?
You might work on your behavior – you could try harder, be more diligent, double your speed. But your efforts would only succeed in getting you to the wrong place faster.
You might work on your attitude – you could think more positively. You still wouldn’t get to the right place, but perhaps you wouldn’t care. Your attitude would be so positive, you’d be happy where ever you were.
The point is, you’d still be lost. The fundamental problem has nothing to do with your behavior or your attitude. It has everything to do with having a wrong map.
If you have the right map of Chicago, then diligence becomes important, and when you encounter frustrating obstacles along the way, then attitude can make a real difference. But the first and most important requirement is the accuracy of a map.
Each of us has many, many maps in our head, which can be divided into two main categories: maps of the way things are, or realities, and maps of the way things should be, or values. We interpret everything we experience through these mental maps. We seldom question their accuracy; we’re usually even unaware that we have them. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be.
And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions. The way we see things in the source of the way we think and the way we act. (p 23, 24)
Excerpts from Steven R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People