Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stephen R. Covey and My Daily Private Victory

One year ago today, Stephen Covey passed away due to complications from injuries he suffered in an unfortunate biking accident. I am reminding you of him today because I have been reminded of him nearly every day since his death. The reason I have thought of him is because I have a file in my computer documents called “Daily Private Victory” which I see every day. “Daily Private Victory” is what Covey called his daily lifestyle practices of continually “sharpening the saw.” While Covey’s “daily private victory” included four dimensions: spiritual, physical, social/emotional, and mental, I chose to focus on the spiritual in my own personal daily private victory. During the past year, under each day’s date, I have logged the scriptures that I have read that day.

On 16 July 2012, when Covey died, I was about halfway through The Book of Mormon and I was also reading Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s talks.  Additionally, a footnote in one of Elder Maxwell’s talks had led me to the writings of Malcolm Muggeridge, including his Confessions of a 20th Century Pilgrim, A Third Testament, and “The Christ-Centered Life,” which I was also in the process of reading in July 2012. At that time, however, my reading of the scriptures was not always consistently done on a daily basis. My purpose in deciding to keep this log was so that I would become more consistent in my daily reading of the scriptures.

So, each day I see the words: “Daily. Private. Victory.” Daily reminds me that I made a commitment to read the scriptures every day. Private reminds me that keeping my commitment has everything to do with my spiritual health and strength. Victory reminds me that the very real struggle is between my “natural man” and my spiritual nature. “Daily. Private. Victory.” And then I log in the readings of that day. I am happy to report that although I have not been perfect at it, I have indeed improved! In mid-December 2012, I finished reading the second half of The Book of Mormon. The next day, I began again. A few days ago, I yet again completed the cycle and began again.

I expect that there are those who would wrinkle up their noses at so many re-readings of The Book of Mormon. I may even have been one of those in the past. But, the counsel from more than one Prophet of the Church has been to read daily from The Book of Mormon. Obedience brings blessings. (Incidentally, for those who might be concerned about such things, I am also reading from The Doctrine and Covenants, and from the writings and talks of the General Authorities, among other things.)

Many thanks to Stephen R. Covey for his inspirational example and teachings. He is gone, but not forgotten.