We are sure you have all heard of this well-known self improvement book written by Stephen R. Covey. The book was written with the belief that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. In order to change any given situation, we must change ourselves, and in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions. Today we wat to share what the 7 habits of highly effective people are and why we think you should adopt them.
In this book, Covey explains that we must allow ourselves to undergo paradigm shifts to change ourselves fundamentally and not just alter our attitudes and behaviors on the surface level — in order to achieve true change. This is where the seven habits of highly effective people come in:
- Be Proactive: the first habit that Covey discusses is being proactive. What distinguishes us as humans from all other animals is our inherent ability to examine our own character, to decide how to view ourselves and our situations, and to control our own effectiveness. Simply put, in order to be effective one must be proactive. Proactive people recognise that they have responsibility — or “response-ability,” which Covey defines as the ability to choose how you will respond to a given situation. In order to be proactive, we must work on the things we can do something about. A great example of this is to replace reactive language such as ‘she has made me so angry’ to proactive language ‘I am in control of my feelings’
- Begin with the end in mind: the second habit that Covey discusses is beginning with the end in mind. Start with a clear destination in mind and use your imagination to develop a vision of what you want to become and use our conscience to decide what values will guide you there. By beginning with the end in mind, we can make sure the steps we are taking are in the right direction.
- Put first things first: the third habit that is discussed is putting first things first. In order to manage ourselves effectively, we must have the discipline to prioritise our day-to-day actions based on what is most important and not what is most urgent. Habit 3 is about going after our goals and executing on our daily priorities. If we react on what is most urgent, we will spend our time doing things that are not important. Its vital to strike a balance between important and urgent tasks but bearing in mind what is most important as that should take precedent.
- Think win-win: the fourth habit is thinking ‘win-win’. To establish effective interdependent relationships, we must commit to creating Win-Win situations that are mutually beneficial and satisfying to each party. An important factor in solving for Win-Win situations is maintaining an Abundance Mentality, or the belief that there’s plenty out there for everyone. Most people operate with the Scarcity Mentality. This means they act as though everything is zero-sum (in other words, if you get it, I don’t). People with the Scarcity Mentality have a very hard time sharing recognition or credit and find it difficult to be genuinely happy about other people’s successes.
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: the fifth habit is to first seek to understand then to be understood. Before we can offer advice, suggest solutions, or effectively interact with another person in any way, we must seek to deeply understand them and their perspective through empathic listening. To listen empathically requires a fundamental paradigm shift. We typically seek first to be understood. Most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. At any given moment, they’re either speaking or preparing to speak. This needs to change and we need to practice empathetic listening.
- Synergize: The sixth habit is to synergize. By understanding and valuing the differences in another person’s perspective, we have the opportunity to create synergy, which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and creativity. Synergy allows us to create new alternatives and open new possibilities. The real essence of synergy is valuing the differences — the mental, emotional, and psychological differences between people.
- Sharpen the saw: The seventh habit is to sharpen the saw. To be effective, we must devote the time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Continuous renewal allows us to synergistically increase our ability to practice each habit.
With the 7 Habits, improvement in one habit synergistically increases our ability to improve the rest.