December 30, 2010

The 7 Habits and Confucianism

Recently I have been rereading The Seven Habits by Stephen Covey which I first read in junior high. When reading, I find that the Seven Habits are sometimes closely related to the wisdom taught by Confucianism. For example, Habit 6 is Synergize: "Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems." Covey teaches that it is most important to find the difference in people's paradigms and respect this difference. This makes me think of the teaching by Confucius: "The superior man is affable, but not adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable (or I would rather, The gentlemen are in harmony but does not need to agree on the same things; the villains agree but are not in harmony; Junzi he er bu tong, xiaoren tong er bu he)."

At the same time, Covey says that Synergy is the essence of nature. Everything is in such harmony in nature; everything is so synergized. Laozi, the founder of Daoism, says, "Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Dao. The law of the Dao is its being what it is (or, The Dao takes its law from Nature)."

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