09/23/2010 02:19 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Live With Your Eyes Wide Open

The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.

-Ludwig Wittgenstein

2010-09-23-boywithmicroscope.pngI have begun to apply my research-oriented analytical eye to my daily life. While this can be somewhat annoying, it is opening my eyes to the details--the little things--that I never noticed or took time to consider. I want to share this experience here and would love to read your personal reactions to the exercise. It will be interesting to see how something so simple can be assessed from so many different perspectives.

Be Perceptive

Stephen Covey ends his foreword for The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with a powerful personal note to readers. Covey writes:

I have personally found living the 7 Habits a constant struggle - primarily because the better you get, the very nature of the challenge changes, just like skiing, playing golf, tennis, or any sport does. Because I sincerely work and struggle every day at living these principle-embodied habits, I warmly join you in this adventure.

The blurb on the cover of Covey's book contains a similarly powerful message. Of note is that there is only one blurb on the book's cover. Covey's work contains six pages of the most beautifully crafted praises--the kinds of reviews most authors only dream of receiving. Read below the blurb chosen for the cover.

"A wonderful book that could change your life." That one was written by Tom Peters, bestselling author of In Search of Excellence.

Now, focus on the quote above by Tom Peters. Why is it powerful? Why is it different than most cover blurbs that adorn self-improvement books? The answer can be seen in just one word. This one word, coupled with the note at the end of the foreword, highlight the most important element associated with personal change. Personal change can never be guaranteed by anyone or anything; only you hold that guarantee.


We typically move at an incredibly fast pace, one that limits what we can actually digest. We lose a great deal of what the "little things" have to offer us. In essence, we are skimming life the same way we skim words in a book. Because of this, we lose a great deal of the meaning.

Take Home Message

Be perceptive before you encounter that climatic cliffhanger. Start noticing more than just what appears on the surface of life.

It's Your Turn

It is now your chance to set your own example. Here, the message is simply too important for you to skim. Prove to yourself that you will change your life. It's certainly a struggle to accomplish this, but that struggle--to live with your eyes wide open--is worth everything.

You decide: what is the one word answer?

You could change your life.

Remember, you are the only person who can guarantee that change. You must become your own best example.