A Lesson From Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey taught his son how to take care of their lawn.

The story is recorded in his classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

(Of course you’ve read this, haven’t you? No? Then buy it or borrow it from a friend.)

He gave his son two goals to strive for:
Green and Clean.

The grass was to be green and the yard was to be clean.


What I like about it is that it would be easy to tell at a glance if the two goals were being met.

I was thinking that this could be a strategy worth implementing.


Look at some task you perform regularly or one of your life roles.

Can you express the main goals of that role in two short, simple sayings?

We see an example of this in the way Moshe and then God commanded Joshua.

In Deuteronomy 31:7 Moses tells Joshua, “Chazak v’ematz – be strong and be bold.”

Then in the Book of Joshua (from the haftarah we read on Simchat Torah), God also commands Joshua, “Chazak v’ematz – be strong and be bold.”

Joshua has a standard that he can use to judge himself as a leader. Is he demonstrating strength and boldness?

As a leader he will need both traits.

As the leader of the Jewish people bringing them into Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) he must be powerful in his dealings with the people and be fearless in fighting to conquer the land.

What about you? Which areas of your life can you summarize with two key words that can serve as standards for you judge yourself with?

G’mar Chatima Tova

A Note on the Translations
The translation of Bible verses is based on the Judaica Press Tanach.
The translation of Gemara is based on the Soncino Talmud.
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