The book released in 1987 since then its been one of the best sellers in Personal Development. The book helped transform people around the world in terms of their life and work.
All of us want to reach our destination and achieve our goals. As the title suggests why wouldn’t one want to learn the habits of effective people. Since we all want to achieve the goals one way to success would be to take note of habits that would help you through the journey.So putting more in terms of productivity and efficiency will help us reach there.
But hands down the book does end up teaching you a lot more than the seven habits. Called the treasure trove of productivity and the wisdom that helps you reach achievement if you still haven’t found the treasure box, its just right there waiting for you to open the chest.
There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.
– Stephen Covey
Covey’s belief is that the way we see the entire world is through our perception. SO if we want to bring about a change in any situation we would first need to bring in the change in us. And when we say the change in us it would also mean the change in the way we perceive things.
Long long ago the success foundation was laid on character ethic which would be courage , justice, patience, integrity, modesty. But as time passed around in 1920s success moved to personality ethic which included public image, behavior and attitude.
Now all people want is faster solutions and way up the ladder. The moment they see someone or team or an organization succeed they jump with questions on how to and gaining knowledge on the techniques. But these short term solutions will not address the underlying solution but will manage to help you achieve success in short time.
Covey writes,”The way we see the problem is the problem,” We as humans must undergo what is called the paradigm shifts to go deep and change the fundamentals rather than just go about on changing the behavior and attitude on the outside just to achieve.
Now that is where Covey comes up with the seven habits that can help you out.
Habits 1,2,3 help to move from dependence to independent.Self-mastery
Habits 4,5,6 help move from independence to interdependence that’s where you focus on teamwork, collaborating and communicating.
Habit 7 helps on continuous growth and improvement and embodies the other habits.
Habit 1 Be proactive
Our ability to examine the character and decide how to view the self in situations and control our effectiveness is what makes us stand apart from the other beings. So to be effective one needs to be proactive.
Reactive people believe world is happening to them. They feel victimized and lose control. They think the problem is out which rightly points out that their thought is the actual problem.
However on the other hand the proactive people understand they responsibility which drills down to how you would respond to the situation.
Challenge yourself to test the principle of proactivity by doing the following:
1. Start replacing reactive language with proactive language.
Reactive = “He makes me so mad.”
Proactive = “I control my own feelings.”
2. Convert reactive tasks into proactive ones.
Begin with the end in mind
Picture your destination in mind.Use your imaginative power to visualize what you want to see yourself become and use the conscience to plan what values will guide you.
We find it easy to make ourselves busy. Let it be working hard to achieve promotion, high pay. We don’t pause to evaluate if this is what we really want that keeps us busy.
So habit 2 will make sure we start with the end in mind so that we know the steps we take are in the right path leading to the clear destination.
Habit 3 Put First Things First
Effective management means we put first things first. The discipline that helps you prioritize what is more important than what is more urgent is what matters. Habit three helps you to go after the goals set by habit two and execute them on order of priority and moment basis.
So in a disciplined manner to stay focused on the journey we need to have the willpower do something when you actually don’t want to. We need to act according to the values rather than giving in to desires.
“Think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.” -Stephen Covey
Habit 4 Think Win win
For effective interdependent relationship we must be sure to create win-win relationship which mutually benefit and satisfy the participants.
Covey explains that there are six paradigms of human interaction:
1. Win-Win: A situation where both people win wherein the solution and argument is beneficial and satisfactory.
2. Win-Lose: This is prone to use position,power and personality to get things done. Rather its “If I win, you lose.”
3. Lose-Win:These people are quick to please and gain strength from popularity or acceptance something like “I lose, you win.”
4. Lose-Lose: This would be a combination of two people who are win -lose where they’re both ego invested, stubborn and end up losing.
5. Win: These people get what they wish for and do not necessarily want the other to lose which would mean irrelevant to them.
6. Win-Win or No Deal: If you can’t reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial, there is no deal.
The safe and best option is to create a win-win situation. In win-lose and lose-win one person gets what they want, but thats only for the moment and will definitely make an impact in the relationship moving forward.
As a backup it is important we use win-win or no deal. The no deal leaves your mind free cause you needn’t manipulate people or make changes in your agenda.
“To go for Win-Win, you not only have to be nice, you have to be courageous.” -Stephen Covey
Habit 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Much before offering advice or suggestions or to interact with the other person we must understand them in a deep manner and their perceptions through the way of empathic listening.
Seeking to understand and to be understood first requires learning to listen.
We all know the below split up suggested by communication experts.
10% of our communication is represented by our words
30% is represented by our sounds
60% is represented by our body language
The second part of Habit 5 is ” … then to be understood.” This is equally critical in achieving Win-Win solutions.
Habit 6. Synergize
We have an opportunity to create a synergy by not only understanding but also valuing the differences in the other perspective.Through being open and creative we would be able to uncover new possibilities by the synergy created.
The combination of the rest of the habits actually prepares you for habit 6.
There are 4 dimensions of nature that needs to be exercised and balanced on a regular basis.
PHYSICAL: Exercising the body to increase capacity to work and adapt. Eat well, exercise ,rest and relax. Focusing on this dimension helps develop muscles of being proactive.
SPIRITUAL: Reinforcing commitment to our value and to provide leadership to the life is the goal of spiritual dimension renewal. Meditation on a daily basis, immersing in music or literature, communicating with nature are ways to practice this renewal. This helps to practice habit 2 where we revise and commit ourselves to values on a continued basis so we begin with the end in mind.
Mental Dimension: Expanding mind is goal of renewing mental dimension.Reading a good book, recording the experiences in journal and watch programs which enrich mind and life.
This helps in practicing habit 3 to maximize the use of resource and time by effectively managing ourselves.
Social/Emotional Dimension: Social or emotional dimension renewal is to have the goal of developing meaningful relationships. Deeply understanding people, making contributions which help in improving other lives, practice and maintain abundance mentality and help others find success helps renew this dimension.
Social and emotional dimension renewal helps to make us practice 4,5,6 and by recognizing existence of win-win solutions, understanding others and finding new alternatives through synergy.
Opening new possibilities and alternatives is possible through synergy.As a group you can collectively shunt the old scripts and write new ones.
For example, if you plant two plants close together, their roots will co-mingle and improve the quality of the soil, so that both plants will grow better than they would on their own.
Valuing the differences in terms of mental, psychological and emotional differences is the real essence of synergy.
Habit 7. Sharpen the Saw
Devoting time to renew ourselves physically, spiritually,mentally and socially will make us effective. Continuous renewal will increase the ability to practice habits on increase that is synergistic.
Taking the time for renewal and sharpening the saw is what habit 7 is focused on. It surrounds the other habits by making sure each of the one is possible by enhancing ourselves which is the greatest asset.
The real beauty of the 7 Habits is that improvement in one habit synergistically increases our ability to improve the rest.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s half marathon.
One Reply to “Lessons from the seven habits of highly effective people”
All the points are so precise and to the point, esp the one which talks about having the end goal in mind. At times we tend to start because it seems like the right thing to do but without a goal in mind.