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Principle - Centered People

Stephen R. Covey describes few characteristics of effective people in his book “Principle-Centred Leadership”. These principles can be applied to students also. Effective people keep learning. They read, speak, listen to others and expand their skill set. Continuous learning does not mean forgetting previous years’ syllabus. Remembering poems from vernacular language, recollecting mathematical theorems, scientific principles like Newton’s laws of motion, Einstein theory of relativity, basic difference between vertebrates and invertebrates, an animal and a plant etc… enables the student to face the examinations and interviews with confidence.

Most important precept of self-growth is your capacity to overcome your deficiencies. Make small promises to yourself and be strong enough to fulfil them. Suppose the thought of your close friend is often disturbing you when you are studying, leading to lack of concentration, let him/her understand the same and both of you part temporarily for a period of six months and see the change. Same way if you are often disturbed by cricket, keep distance from the game and its discussions for a few months. As you do this, you will be amazed to see the results. Your sense of personal worth, self confidence and sense of self-mastery will enhance.

When you are speaking you are a lawyer; and when you listen you are a judge. “Silence helps me to introspect” said Gandhi. If you have difficulty in remembering your lessons, be silent for an hour every day in the lunch time and just listen to your friends gossiping in the canteen. You will realise why you lack concentration, and the relationship between excess talk and memory.

Positive energy:

Second character of ‘principle-centred people’ is that they are cheerful, pleasant, optimistic and upbeat, radiating positive energy. The moods and mental states of highly motivated people are contagious. They can awaken in us the desire to be like them. In the middle of confusion or contention or negative energy, the effective people strive to be peacemakers, harmonisers to undo or reverse the destructive energy. “Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice, better than knowledge is belongingness to the job, but better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows ultimate peace” says Bhagavad-Gita. A student, who realises the effect of adrenaline releasing habits and time consuming vices and who can destroy those attachments, can taste the real beauty of success, and continue to be happy throughout his life.

Positive outlook means believing that the key to growth is in ourselves and not elsewhere outside. Realising that every person has his own strengths, weaknesses and limitations; positive people don’t dominate, control, use their authority or exercise undue influence. They also don’t overreact to the negative behavior of their adversaries or baseless comments of the detractors. They are able to laugh at themselves rather than at others.

Positive outlook also includes intellectually being active, maintaining a wide variety of interests, observing everything and learning from everyone, reading the good literature, keeping up on current events, and above all being physically active. Positive thinkers do not divide everything into two parts as good or bad. They have the power to discriminate, to sense the similarities and differences in each situation. They are not extremists, religious zealots, workaholics, political fanatics or pleasure addicts.

Gifting ourselves:

The fourth character is service orientation. Gifting is the best gift you can give to yourself. In fact, research shows that those who demonstrate more altruistic social interest tend to enjoy higher levels of mental health. A Swedish proverb says, “Eyes that do not have tears cannot see.”

The best way for a person who has a nagging feeling that something is missing in his life, is visiting the old people home or serving underprivileged cancer patients one day in a month.

“I noticed a woman and her two boys at a shopping center laden with bags. On a random impulse, I asked if they would like a ride till the bus stop. “Yes” was their excited reaction. They boys piled into the front seat and chattered away telling me about themselves. I decided to take them one further mile to their home, since I had time and they had bundles. I felt so good to know that I could make a big difference to a tired mother with such a small effort. Incidentally this was also special for me because, as a handicapped person I'm often on the receiving end of help and now know how good to be useful”, wrote Franklin Roosevelt, former President of United States, who was stricken with polio attack that left him severely crippled.

Treating life as an adventure is the next quality of successful people. A person’s security lies not in his comfort zone, but in his initiative, creativity and courage. Effective people don’t label others from their past success or failure, but rediscover each time they meet them. These people are not overawed by top celebrities, cine personalities and Sadhus. They may like the principles and follow their preaching, but resist becoming their blind disciples.


Synergy means, being united for more productivity. Winning people are excellent team players to take part in the process of creative problem-solving. They are skillful at balancing their strengths and weaknesses with others and let others discover their sincerity.

The final character of victorious people is exercising the four dimensions of life i.e., physical, mental, emotional and enthusiastic. Physical fitness comprises balanced exercises for being healthy, adjusting to necessary life styles to reduce physical stress.

Mental exercise includes reading, writing, creative problem solving, all with a sense of play rather than obligation.

Emotional exercise comprises of empathy, love, unconditional acceptance of responsibility and effort to be patient.

Being enthusiastic towards life is the most important quality that includes planning, fixing (goals) and entertaining. No other single hour of your day will return as much dividends as the hour you invest in sharpening your saw… that is, in exercising these four dimensions of your personality. They take some time in the beginning, but saves much time in the long run” concludes the author.

Some people complain that they don’t have time. “I plan a book while I do the dishes” said Agatha Christie, who has all time gunnies record of best-selling books along with Shakespeare and whose play “Mousetrap”, being opened in 1952 and still running in London, holds the record 0f 25,000 shows.