Well-remembered for his book

By Herbert Vego

I had hoped to write positively about the birth of a new government of the Philippines today. But how could I when I honestly doubt whether Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had really won 58.77%” of the total votes cast for 10 presidential candidates?

It is hard to swallow his number — 31.63 million votes – hook, line and sinker. How could Leni Robredo have settled for second spot with 15 million votes when she had defeated him in the 2016 vice-presidential race?

Therefore, I am writing instead about an American preacher and author who died 10 years ago at age 79 but remains “alive” and useful through his best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He was Stephen Covey of Salt Lake City, Utah, who became a huge success at age 57 when that book sold more than 25 million copies worldwide.

No wonder Time magazine chose him as one of its “25 Most Influential Americans” in 1996

He inspired readers with his belief in progression from dependence toward independence and finally to interdependence.

“We are the creative force of life,” he wrote, “and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, we can accomplish our goals.”

For the lazy readers who would rather settle for a summary of his book, he did so in six words: “Dream it. Plan it. Do it.”

His book mirrors the talk that he walked while devoting his life to helping others realize their dreams. He taught that a rich, rewarding life is the result of striving toward worthwhile goals.

He was a Mormon missionary who divided his time between preaching the Word and teaching principle-centered leadership.

To “infect” readers with his seven habits, Covey proposed:

“Be proactive. Make things happen rather than wait for them to happen.

“Begin with the end in mind. Motivate yourself — and direct your energy and activities more effectively — by defining and visualizing your goals.

“Put first things first. Eliminate time wasters (like mindless talk, channel surfing and social networking) and focus on things that will improve the quality of your personal and professional life.

“Think win-win. You achieve things more easily in a cooperative effort than in a competitive struggle. Instead of thinking ‘their way’ or ‘my way,’ look for how others can achieve their objectives as you realize yours.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Persuasive communication is essential. But it begins with being an empathetic listener. Most people do not listen to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

“Synergize. Ally yourself with capable individuals. Their strengths will compensate for your weaknesses and move you closer to your goal.

“Sharpen the saw. Balance all four aspects of your life – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual – to become more effective. Sharpening the saw means renewing yourself through family, friends, exercise, and devotion or meditation.”

Covey’s real contribution in his prime was in urging us to focus on the important and the urgent; to allocate generous time for what we value most.

As to what he meant by “First Things First,” the book explains:

“It actually takes more discipline, sacrifice and wisdom to develop an educated conscience than it does to become a great sculptor, golfer, surgeon, Braille reader, or concert pianist. But the rewards are far greater. An educated conscience impacts every aspect of our lives.”

He practiced religion by example. He preached self-reliance because it “makes you work on the one thing over which you truly have control – yourself.”

Old age would not have stopped him. Covey passed away in July 2012, three months short of age 80, due to injuries sustained in a bicycle accident.

Before that accident, he had preached about a Bible verse found in Psalm 39:4, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered; how fleeting my life is.”



THE quotation attributed to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas is not without basis when juxtaposed against the activities being done by the city distribution utility, MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power).

As reported in this paper a few days ago, MORE Power had invested in the retraining of linemen and engineers for whatever challenges lie ahead. The training covered orientation on safety, importance and proper wearing of personal protective equipment, pole Inspection, pole climbing, proper cable termination and protection of area of troubleshooting, among others.

Because of too many investors coming to Iloilo, according to MORE Power spokesman Jonathan Cabrera, they are now busy upgrading their facilities and services, which has minimized “trouble calls”. While there used to be hundreds of such telephone calls daily, they have been reduced to single digits.

That they have to shut off power whenever complaints arise is understandable because repair and rehab works necessitate shutdown to avoid fatal accidents.

But even that emergency procedure has been minimized with the acquisition of a mobile substation that is capable of substituting for a disabled regular substation.

There is one substation in the City Proper that has already been replaced with a new one.

MORE Power is investing another P1.3 million in additional capital expenditure for its modernization program, which includes expansion into 15 towns and Passi City in the 2nd and 4th districts of Iloilo province.