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Summary of the book that introduces us to the lifestyle of highly effective people. The 7 habits of highly effective people is based on business and self-improvement. Written by Stephen Covey, published in 1989.
It is a self-help book and its main aim is to tell people about the main keys to success. What are the habits of highly effective people? It’s all explained in detail by Covey. The habits are divided into three groups. Habits 1, 2 and 3 focus on self-control and self-standing. Habits 4, 5 and 6 focus on teamwork and interdependence. Habit 7 focuses on growth and advancement.
1. The first habit: Be proactive
In simple words, being proactive refers to taking charge or taking control of something. To understand this concept better, we can talk about reactive people. Reactive people feel victimized and think things are happening on their own. Rather than finding a solution to a problem they just ‘let things be’.
However, to be effective, one needs to follow a proactive lifestyle. A proactive person will always look for a solution to a problem. If we can do something about it we should not ignore it and think there’s nothing to be done so fate will decide what happens next.
2. The second habit: Begin with the end in mind
In the second habit, Covey discusses about your destination. Where are you going? One should always have it pre-planned and know where they have to end up. Sitting in a bus not knowing where it’s taking you is useless, which is why you should be clear about your goal so they can focus on it.
Knowing where to end-up motivates and encourages people to remain focused on their goal rather than slipping into other directions and not having a set goal.
It’s very easy to be distracted by little things that hold you back from achieving your huge goals which are why thinking of some position to end-up in is very important. Just like businesses have organizational goals, individuals should know what they’re trying to achieve at the end (professionally or personally)
3. The third habit: Put first things first.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” This single statement says a lot about the third habit Covey has introduced to us.
This habit motivates us to go after the goals that we value so much. We need to know the difference between what is important and what is not. Whether we like it or not, we must chase the important tasks first to be effective.
We must learn to simply ignore even the smallest of the least important things if that’s what it takes to prioritize things that are important.
4. The fourth habit: Think win-win
This habit encourages you to create situations in which both parties are satisfied. One shouldn’t only find their own benefit and it should always be mutually beneficial. It’s either win-win or no win at all. We shouldn’t manipulate anyone into making a deal that only benefits us.
5. The fifth habit: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Listening is very important. If someone does not listen to a problem clearly and are misunderstood or unclear about a certain situation, how will they find a solution for it? Understanding is primary. Understanding is the key! We need to go in-depth of something to truly know what it means and we need to improve our listening skills in order to understand better.
6. The sixth habit: Synergize
Synergizing refers to taking another person’s opinion or looking at something from a different perspective. It allows us to gather more ideas and mutually decide on something that could possibly be better than what one could think of alone.
One individual’s views and thinking will obviously differ to some extent from another person’s thinking. Together they can combine some good factors from one person’s thinking and some from another’s and create one good solution or an idea out of it.
Covey says: “The key to valuing differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are.” It is very important to look at how other people think and see as it allows us to ignore the negative energy and see the good in others.
7. The seventh habit: Sharpen the saw
What exactly does sharpen the saw mean? Here Covey discusses that we should recommence ourselves and practice each habit, to become the best version of ourselves and continue improving each aspect of our personality.
Covey talks about the physical, spiritual, mental, and social dimensions. To improve physically we must train ourselves in such a way that allows us to work more, adapt more, and enjoy more.
To improve spiritually we must spend more time with nature, make meditation a part of our routine, and invest more time in great literature and music.
To improve mentally, we must limit our screen time to only those things which we learn from, record our thoughts, and be more positive to achieve mental peace. As far as the social dimension is concerned, it tells us to be deeply understanding towards other people.
We must participate in such activities that are not only beneficial for us but for those around us as well. We must learn to become a helping hand for others, the social dimension is similar to what is mentioned in the fourth habit. We must think Win-win to attain mutual benefits.
The seven habits are truly mind-boggling and to climb the ladder of success, these are very necessary steps that people might not have known of but Covey has explained each habit with respect to why they should adopt them.