Practicing the 8th Habit

In a classroom filled with students, a tiny mouse ran across the room and scared the class teacher and students. It quickly disappeared and hid itself so it couldn’t be found.

The class teacher called on one of her students to find the mouse. The entire class was shocked on her choice of student.


Well the fact was he was blind. Completely blind.

But she knew he had a special gift. To make up for his loss of sight, he had special auditory abilities and could hear and pick up on sounds that ordinary folks simply couldn’t.

So the class fell completely silent (which on its own is a miracle). The little kid named Steve Morris went down of his knees and hands and listened for the indistinct sounds of a mouse. He soon pointed behind the dustbin in the class, lo and behold the mouse was found crouching there.

The teacher’s confidence in this kid led him to start believing in his own abilities and rather than spend time feeling sorry for himself for being born blind, his sense of self confidence and self efficacy increased so much that he began figuring out new ways to build on his unique skill set. It so happened that he fell in love with the sound of music.

Years later, he went on to rebrand himself as Stevie Wonder and during his lifetime won 25 Grammy Awards! He is mentioned alongside music’s greatest names like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley.

Such is the power of belief. Who knows what would have been the outcome of a poor black kid from a poor background if that teacher never showed any personal interest or belief in young Stevie ability?

Sometimes we may not have personal convictions in our own innate ability but when someone else shows confidence in us for long enough, it can kick start our own belief in ourselves.

A few years ago I had my own self-doubts in my ability to speak in public and train others on what knowledge I possessed. Of course such fears are not unique to me alone. Research shows that the fear of public speaking is rated more highly than the fear of death! What this means is that during a funeral, most people would rather be the ones lying in the casket than being on the podium saying a eulogy for the deceased.

Well, my wife would hear nothing of such and kept prodding and pushing me to start conducting open training sessions. She believed in me first and then I started to slowly believe too.

Fast-forward 3 years later and I’ve been able to conduct seminars with hundreds of people, carry out empowerment programs on both radio and television to reach hundreds of thousands more people and it has rewarded me emotionally, intellectually, socially and of course financially. It further built my own sense of purpose and significance of what I ought to be doing to leave a mark on the world.

Sometimes we need someone who believes in us before our own belief in ourselves kick in. So who deserves your attention today? How can you affirm and motivate someone to greater heights? That’s the 8th Habit of Highly Effective People as outlined by the late sage, Steven Covey, helping others in finding their own voice.

Have you practiced this lately?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 thoughts on “Practicing the 8th Habit

  1. Wonderful job prof. U too should rebrand to Ebuka Wonders! I always make out time to read your piece.
    I celebrate such great gift in you.