Dec 7, 2015
The following post is part of a series highlighting Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and how it can apply to students in medical school. The series will stretch out over seven weeks, giving each habit the spotlight for one individual post.
“Moving along the upward spiral requires us to learn, commit, and do on increasingly higher planes. We deceive ourselves if we think that any one of these is sufficient. To keep progressing, we must learn, commit, and do – learn commit, and do – and learn commit, and do again.”
The seventh and final habit of effective medical students is all about preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – yourself. While the first six habits call for a specific action or attitude, the last habit calls for you to keep yourself fresh so you can continue to focus on those first six habits.
Covey breaks our nature down into four dimensions, each of which must be exercised differently. The four dimensions, along with several corresponding exercises are as follows:
- Physical: good eating, physical exercise, proper rest
- Social/Emotional: making meaningful social connections with others, seeking to deeply understand others, maintaining an abundance mentality
- Mental: enhancing your mind through reading, writing, and learning
- Spiritual: meditation, prayer, being in nature, listening to music,
While sharpening the saw to increase your medical aptitude is important, finding the time to recharge your batteries is absolutely vital for a med student. Medical school is incredibly draining in itself; it’s nearly impossible if you are not taking care of your mind and body. As we all know, however, feeling good is not something that just happens; it takes a conscious effort to renew yourself and live a balanced lifestyle.
Exercising each of these dimensions will stimulate growth and maturity in your life, which in turn will increase your ability to effectively communicate and handle the challenges that come with medical school. The more you sharpen the saw, the more synergistically capable you are of employing the other six habits into your life.