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7 Habits of Highly Reflective People

Guest post by Dennis Hinkamp
Dennis & Luba.jpg
I think Steven R. Covey has milked the magical “seven habits” about as far as he can go. He’s even added an 8th habit book. It’s time for seven habits that aren’t so centered on self. For the holidays, I give you 7 Habits of Highly Reflective People.

1) Fix something. Fix anything even if it is not the most economical way to solve the problem. Fixing something helps you recycle, reduces the load on the landfills and gives you an incredible feeling of accomplishment. In an increasingly complex world where changing a light bulb labels you "handy," fixing something puts you back in touch with hands that were designed to do more than push buttons. For the mechanically challenged, let me introduce you to Mr. Duct Tape.

2) Actually cook something. Opening cans and boxes and stirring them together is not cooking. Defrosting is not baking. A microwave oven is just a Department of Defense project gone bad. Even if it is only once a week, actually peel a carrot, an onion and a potato and take it from there. If you make a mistake, Pizza Hut is only a phone call away.

3) Walk somewhere. Whatever the question, walking is the answer...exercise, reduced pollution, calmed nerves, parking problems. Think how future archaeologists will judge a civilization that carried bikes on top of its cars and sold stair stepper machines in malls full of escalators.

4) Don't forget the poor. Yeah, we all know somebody who knows somebody who cheats on welfare or who buys beer and cigarettes with their food stamps. But I'll bet dollars to donuts you know just as many middle class, outwardly religious folks who cheat on their taxes "just a little" too. Give at least as much to food banks and shelters as you do to environmental and political causes. Well fed people with meaningful work and hope for the future are more likely to care about the environment.

5) Pray. There I said it. Yeah sure, it is passé' and illegal in schools but it is still great personal time out amidst the howling rhetoric and personal affronts we face each day. Whatever your personal beliefs it will at least make you slow down.

6) Do something for someone older than you. You are becoming your parents faster than you think. Sure our generation will have Nike walkers and Trek Mountain wheel chairs when we reach geezerhood, but we are still going to get old. This is one donation of your time and money that can be completely self-serving. Whatever you do to support the elderly now, will also help you in the future.

7) Do something for someone younger than you. The world will never be in sync until the best teachers are paid and respected more than the worst major league relief pitcher. There are few social ills that can't be solved by education and there are few that can be solved by a mediocre curve ball.

Dennis Hinkamp works in Extension Communications at Utah State University, but worked briefly at Iowa State University Extension Communications March - August 2007 on developmental leave. In addition to his university work, he has been writing the humor/commentary column "Slightly Off Center" for 14 years.


Thanks, Dennis! I am passing on your new 7 habits to a long list of family and friends - wish I'd had it before I sent out my Christmas letter!


Great post, Dennis. Each "habit" is worth every minute you spend doing it. Just so you know, I am doing #5 right now, and sending them your way for a New Year full of love and laughter!!!
Miss You,
Dee Ann

Amazing how common sense makes sense! I can just hear my Grandma saying, "well, duh!" Actually Grandma wouldn't have used those words but it is a lifestyle she followed. Now that I'm a seasoned Grandma it sure makes good sense to me. Do you think we have to get a few years (or more than a few) on us before we start figuring some of this life stuff out?