Book Summary: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
We are the servants of humankind with we all having our talent, knowledge, or skills to contribute to this world. Same way, Stephan R covey wrote this book as an act of service to help people focus on building character, not just personality.
Building a character demands a deeper understanding of the core values that we need to follow and a relentless approach in the quest for improvement and self-renewal.
We all have built our beliefs and perceptions throughout our life, based on our knowledge or circumstances. If we seek to change our situation, we first have to change ourselves, and to change ourselves; we first have to change our perception.
Habit 1: Be proactive.
Proactivity means more than taking the initiative. It means as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives — not our parents, not our boss, not our relatives and friends. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.
Proactive people’s behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their condition based on feeling. Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment.
If the weather is good, they feel good. Proactive people carry their own weather with them.
Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values — carefully thought about, selected, and internalized values.
Only proactive people take responsibility. Reactive people prefer to say I am not responsible.
Integrity is the main form of proactivity. The commitment we make to ourselves. Making promises, setting goals, and being true to them — we build the strength of character, that makes possible every other positive thing in our lives.
We can make a promise and keep it or set a goal and work to achieve it. These small commitment helps us to establish inner integrity.
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.
It means to have a clear understanding of your destination, where are you going, and where are you now. So you take the right decision.
How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind. We’d manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters the most.
If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall every step, we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.
Real success is a success with self. It’s not in having things, but in having mastery, having victory over ourselves. We all follow our self-created scripts. But, instead, we should have the self-awareness to realize which script is useful for us.
Think about how you want to be recognized; what legacy you want to leave; what kind of character you want to become. Figure it out and visualize yourself doing everything you want to have in your character. Involve as many emotions and senses as possible in your visualization.
Habit 3: Put first thing first
Things that matter the most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least. A successful person has the habit of doing things failure doesn’t like to do. They do not like doing them either necessarily, but their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.
You have to decide what your highest priorities are and the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically — to say no to other things. The enemy of the best is often good.
You must be an effective manager of yourself when it comes to putting first thing first. It demands careful management based on your values.
You also have to have the will, the integrity, to subordinate your feelings, your impulses, your moods to those values. Get your highest priorities are clear.
Habit 4: Think win-win
Win-win is a mindset that constantly seeks mutual benefits in all human interactions. It means we get mutually get benefits and satisfaction. It’s thinking of leaders, which says, for you to win, others do not have to lose.
If you are not able to find any solution that benefits both parties, you should agree to no deal. No deal is better than win-lose, lose-win, or lose-lose.
Win/win is the habit of interpersonal leadership. It involves the exercise of each of the unique human endowments — self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independent will — in our relationship with others. It involves mutual learning, mutual influence, mutual benefits.
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Have you ever tried to listen carefully? Or, just waiting for the other person complete so you start talking or giving suggestions to their problems.
We had been taught speaking and writing, but no one taught us how to listen. And, this habit is all about understanding other people first before we want us to be understood.
Most of the people do not listen to understand, but just to reply. They are constructing reply within the mind while another person is speaking.
Without understanding as per others’ perspectives, most people understand as per their perceptions and beliefs. We all have our perception of life, and it should not be matched with every other person.
Have you ever been told, “You do not understand me.” This is just because you tried to understand them with your perceptions but not their perception.
Do not just wait to speak. Listen to people attentively. Try empathic listening, which means listening with the intent to understand. It means seeking first to understand, to really understand.
Do not assume their problems as per your knowledge; instead, just hear them out with utmost attention, and try to get into other’s frames of mind.
Habit 6: Synergy
The definition of synergy is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is everywhere in nature. If you put two pieces of wood together, they will hold much more than the total weight held by each separately.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. One plus one equals three or more.
Stephen Covey’s basic idea of synergy is that when we work together successfully, we can achieve MORE than we could individually.
Habit 7: Sharpen the saw
Sharpening the saw is all about improving the greatest asset of yours — you.
It is renewing four dimensions of your nature.
- Physical Sharpness — exercise, nutrition, rest, relaxation.
- Mental Sharpness — reading, visualizing, planning, writing.
- Spiritual Sharpness — value clarification and commitment, study and meditation.
- Social/Emotional Sharpness — service, empathy, synergy, intrinsic security
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