The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is rated as one of the twenty-five most influential books of the twentieth century. Stephen Covey’s masterpiece is invincibly leading the top-selling charts to date.
If you aspire to succeed and are struggling to commit to your goals, this book is a must-read for you. According to Stephen Covey’s philosophy, success does not generally come from what we do, but it depends on who we are. Character matters the most, and that is why it should be cultivated in a way that turns a being into a ‘highly effective one’
Covey worked with several successful individuals and argued on the prevalence of ‘personality ethic’ in his era. He stressed the promotion of ‘character ethic’. He viewed that success can be achieved by getting the desired results and caring for mediums that produce those desired results, referring to the fable ‘goose that laid the golden eggs’
Stephen Covey’s seven habits comprise the principles on which the character should be devised to achieve what you aspire. These seven habits lead the person from the state of dependence to independence and then interdependence. The first three habits lead you to independence and the rest four to the latter. The book has inspired a lot of individuals and changed their outlook on life helping them to grow.
Following are the 7 habits listed in order.
Being Proactive means to be the owner of your will and to know what is under your control and what is not. This quality separates a master from a slave. The German philosopher from the nineteenth century, Neitzche had very similar views to what Stephen Covey portrayed in the first habit. A reactive person is the one who spreads negative energy thinking about things that are not in his control. He never initiates, instead, he just reacts to his surroundings. He gives a reaction to whatever comes to him and blames his fate for it. Whereas, a proactive person takes responsibility for all that happens to him, and knows what he can control. Covey suggests his readers remain positive, be in a circle of influence, make productive initiatives and increase his/her integrity.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
Stephen Covey exhibits the importance to know what you want to achieve, and where do you stand at the moment. The author makes you think about these three questions; what do you want to be? What have you achieved? How do you want to be remembered? Plan accordingly and make it happen. Planning and creating a foolproof mission statement to be in the right direction is very important. You will not get the desired results until you know where you are heading to. The whole journey from beginning to end should be planned.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
According to Covey, to be an effective individual, you need to set your priorities right. Habit three is the implementation of the first two habits. You initiate, you plan and you prioritize to exercise. ‘first things first’ refers to all those things that are most important at the moment and should be done urgently. Less important things could be planned for later, and things that are not at all important could be dropped. In this way, you focus on the most important things and your mindset is envisioned towards the right goals. According to the author, you should schedule your priorities in advance, and don’t wait until the urgencies come to you.
This habit deals with human collaboration and cooperation. This habit in Stephen Covey’s book is the philosophy of human interaction, which is collaboration and not competition. Human relationships should be ordained and sustained in such a way that there is plenty to offer for everyone, which gives a win-win situation. If there is a winner and a loser, it results in a win-lose situation, which can prove to be a source of distrust in the future. To create long-term agreements, you need to think and be a source of benefit for everyone, thus thinking in a win-win direction.
Covey speaks of the importance of good communication to build interpersonal relations. An effective person devotes his time to learn the skill of listening, apart from speaking, writing, and reading. If you listen to understand what the other person is trying to communicate, you create your integrity. This promotes care and improves your relationships. Covey illustrates the significance of empathic listening. Due to empathic listening, people open up to you rather easily, and you can match their feelings. It promotes trust and stability in society. After listening to understand, you have to make yourself understood through what you feel and think. Empathic listening increases the credibility of your ideas amongst your audience that makes your communication strong. To understand, to be understood – in that order!
“Synergize is better than my way or your way, it’s our way”. To synergize is an important part of interdependency, where you bring interpersonal and interactive relationships in a teamwork scenario. You work together to achieve what you couldn’t have done alone. When a team works towards a designated goal, they bring together their ideas and creativity, the communication is strong and the thinking of the group is win-win. In this case, they accomplish more than the sum of what they could have achieved if each one of them would have worked individually.
You are the greatest asset you have, and you have to preserve yourself. This is the concept behind sharpening the saw. You can enhance yourself through four dimensions of renewal.
- Physical: beneficial reading, exercising, nutrition, self-care.
- Social: empathy, synergize, communicate
- Mental: Learning, reading, writing
- Spiritual: Study and motivation.
Following this habit creates a balance in your life. These four dimensions are interrelated, which means working on one of them would motivate you to work on others, thus the saw keeps on sharpening.