When it comes to self-help and personal development content, one book that has stood out for the past two decades and will continue to stand out for the next centuries to come is a book by author Stephen R. Covey. It is called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is based on age-old and well-researched principles that leaders and think tanks use in their everyday lives. It is a best-selling book that has helped numerous people achieve their personal development goals.
Here’s a quick summary of all the habits mentioned in the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
#1: Be Proactive
When you get a chance to either be reactive or proactive, always choose the latter. A proactive person thinks based on facts and data while a reactive person always thinks emotionally. Being proactive means taking control and responsibility for your actions and decisions in life.
Reactive people are driven by sentiments and feelings while you being proactive will be driven by conscience and values. You will not blame external factors for your misery but will look inside to get the answers.
#2: Begin With The End In Mind
This habit of effective people is life-changing. Always know what you want from life. What do you want to do? What are your missions and goals in life? What is it that you want others to remember about you when you leave this world behind?
The author suggests answering three questions that will help you guide in establishing this habit.
- What you want to be (character)
- What you want to do (contributions and achievements)
- The values upon which both of these things are based
#3: Put First Things First
This habit of effective people revolves around being productive and organizing their tasks. Always prioritize things that are essential. And how do you decide what’s essential and what’s not? Stephen Covey has an answer.
Ask yourself “what one thing could you do regularly, that you aren’t currently doing, that would improve your personal life?”Once you have the answer to this question, you should move to another question, ie, What one thing could you do to improve your business or professional life?
Answering these questions will help you find out what truly matters and what’s secondary.
#4: Think Win/Win
This habit is pretty self-explanatory. Be it anywhere, be it a business meeting or a family gathering, always think in terms of win/win for yourself and the other person. If you manage to come to solutions that both parties are happy with, you are an effective leader and individual.
In the words of the author, thinking Win/Win makes life a cooperative arena rather than a competitive battle. Therefore, to adopt a win/win mindset, you must cultivate the habit of interpersonal leadership.
#5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
A little subtle but a really simple habit that can work wonders in your life. In any given situation of your life, you must give complete attention to what the other person says. Listen to them with the intent to ‘understand’.
Be an empathetic listener. Empathic listening enables you to get a clearer picture of the situation and the other person’s opinions. If you have done your job well, then proceed to put forth your views and the other person will happily listen to them.
Stephen R. Covey says “Once people experience real synergy, they are never the same again”. That’s something really powerful to say!
This habit is an extension of habit number 3. When you synergize with others, thinking win/win becomes a natural instinct and you lead a more fulfilling and happy life. You realize that independence is crucial but interdependence is the key to a fulfilling life.
#7: Sharpen The Saw
There’s a famous maxim of Abraham Lincoln where he says if he is given 8 hours to cut a tree, he’ll spend 6 hours sharpening the ax. This habit means the same, but in the context of your life.
Sharpen The Saw advocates holistic and overall development of your being. It includes your body, mind, and soul. This is the most valuable investment you can make in your life, as you are the byproduct of your investments in yourself.