The Three Habits of Highly Intelligent, Loving and Good People

Covey’s book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” has influenced many lives. I believe these habits could be simplified to three and believe that intelligence, love and goodness are higher values than effectiveness, so I would like to propose “The Three Habits of Highly Intelligent, Loving and Good People”. It could also be called the habits of people striving to become ever more truthful, loving and good. But using Covey’s proven formula for success, I will stick with the first title.

Stated simply, highly intelligent, loving and good people are committed to the principles of truth, love and goodness. I would suggest that these people are also highly happy, successful and fulfilled. Let me briefly explain each principle and why and how it leads to an overall better life for the individual and society.

The first habit is a commitment to truth. Another way of saying this is a disposition towards understanding reality as it really is rather than as how we imagine it to be. It is reasonable that the person who better understand reality, who has greater truth, would be able to live more effectively, honestly and successfully with that knowledge. We can call this intelligence. Sometimes what is called intelligence in our present world is sometimes just an artificial standard created by a particular society. Plato illustrated this very well in “The Allegory of the Cave”.

The second habit is a commitment to love. Love used here means an attraction to that which is good, beautiful and truthful. On the most basic level love is the attraction of material bodies to one another and on the higher-level attraction to the highest qualities of humanity. The cultivation of love is a life long endeavor and is always able to be more highly developed.

The third habit is a commitment to goodness. This is defined as actions that accord with justice, righteousness and service. Goodness derives from love and truth being put into action in our relations with reality, the highest reality being that of humanness.

We can understand truth, love and good through science and religion. Science is a method through which we can better determine the truth of reality, the value of love and the worth of goodness. Religion offers insights into these same areas along with the motive force to pursue them and the guidance that has been the foundation of the development of civilization. Both science and religion are powerful forces for construction, but if perverted can be equally destructive forces.



About rodclarken

Dr. Rodney H Clarken is professor emeritus, School of Education, Northern Michigan University.
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