Summary of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a phenomenal book written by Stephen R. Covey in which he presented character ethics and a framework of universal rules. He studied the successful literature of 200 years and accumulated the essence of his studies in this book which is a valuable treasure of knowledge. Though it was written for the business people who can improve their performance by following a set of rules and adopting new thought patterns it can virtually be used by all the people belonging from different fields of life. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom taking care of your children or father struggling to let both ends meet or a student worrying about your performance in class. The rules presented in the book are universal and adaptable enough to be followed by every person. Instead of sketching a strategy and fixing action steps, Stephen has provided a framework that is intuitive and easily understandable if you analyze it thoroughly. The framework can be incorporated into our lives and we can decide our action plan for understanding the principles that lie behind the philosophy of success.
Covey’s emphasis is on character ethics as compared to personal ethics. He stresses the importance of character in the pursuit of success. Personality helps impress people in earlier interactions but eventually, it is our character that determines our altitude.
Covey has laid down 7 principles of personal development techniques for success that can be used to increase our performance and shift our mindset to more productive and positive aspects.
1) Be proactive
2) Begin with the end in mind
3) Put first things first
4) Think win-win
5) Seek first to understand then to be understood
7) Sharpen the saw
He divided these habits into three categories independence, interdependence, and continual improvement.
Table of Contents
Being proactive is the habit of paying heed to fulfill the needs before the deadline looms around. The majority of people work auto-pilot in their lives reacting to emergencies when they arise. Instead of reacting one should be focusing on being proactive which entails that we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. To make it simpler, I would like to give a real example. The students do not study unless the exam date is near and it causes them stress along with incomplete preparation. If the student follows the proactive principle, he will take notes regularly and complete his assignments on time. This would save him a lot of hassle when the exam comes.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND:
It is one of the essential Stephen Covey’s 7 habits for envisioning the consequences of our actions. Often, we sleepwalk through life without consciously taking responsibility for our choices. However, when we realize time has been wasted, we awaken to a looming sense of worry. It is far better to proactively control our actions and design an action plan aligned with desired future outcomes. Our present habits shape our future, serving as the foundation for our success. Neglecting our health, finances, and work-life balance invites distress while nurturing these areas yields fruitful results. Just as growing fruits requires effort in plowing, nurturing trees, and patiently waiting, so does optimize our time and achieving desired outcomes.
PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST:
It is an essential habit that most of us miss. We tend to gravitate towards tackling emergencies and ignore the important things in our lives. We know the importance of exercise, meditation, and learning a new skill but still, we tend to just pay the least attention to these important habits. Our natural inclination is towards eating junk food, replying to unimportant emails, paying bills at zero hours, going to parties, and so on and on. When our tasks are not organized and we do not manage a to-do list, we tend to lose focus and waste much of our time doing the things that give us no return on our investment. It’s important to put things first and complete the most important tasks at the start of the day. This will increase your productivity and performance in less time.
It is an important rule if you are working in a team or running a group. The majority of people assume that there are fewer resources in the world so it is essential to hustle and snatch your part. It is called a scarcity mindset which is responsible for developing a competitive spirit among the people. Healthy competition is fine but competing to snatch your part so that other people don’t get his due share is not recommended. The world is full of resources and we can win even if the other person wins. We should make such deals in which both parties benefit. It needs selfless thinking and enough courage to think win-win.
SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD:
It is a common behavior that we listen only to react but not to respond. It is far more beneficial to first try to understand the point of view of others and then convey your point. As a parent, instead of issuing orders and expecting your children to follow them, it is far better to understand the issue of your child by communicating with him. Building trust is important as children won’t open up easily if you deal with them strictly. As an elder, you can provide a solution to their problems but for this, it is essential to first understand what the problem is, isn’t it? We tend to assume and jump to conclusions before knowing the whole truth.
Synchronizing the energies of the team members is the core belief of the synergizing rule. You cannot achieve phenomenal results working alone. But joining other people with you can increase the chances of achieving durable results. As a parent, you can involve your children in house chores which will create a win-win situation for both. It will develop a sense of responsibility in your children and your house chores will be done more quickly. Training children at their earlier ages holds much significance as compared to molding them later on. Habits strengthen with time and it becomes difficult later to replace them or give up on them. Embrace success habits for personal growth and unlock your full potential for a thriving and fulfilling life.
SHARPEN THE SAW:
Take the example of a wood-cutter using their axe to cut trees. What will happen if he continues cutting the trees without sharpening his axe? More energy will be consumed and he will need to put in double efforts to cut the trees. But if he takes time and sharpens his saw, he’ll be able to cut more trees in less time and energy. This metaphor can be related to our lives as well. We are so consumed with daily activities that we forget to take time for ourselves. You cannot over-exert yourself and expect positive results later. Taking time out for your mental and physical relaxation is important for your well-being. How can you serve your family and community when you are not perfectly healthy? Give it a thought and start taking time for yourself as well. This will increase your energy and productivity Unlock the universal principles of success and pave your way to greatness.
These 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People are so powerful and universal that you cannot deny their impact on your lives if you follow them properly. A more fulfilling life is waiting for you if you act upon the rules presented by the prolific author Stephen R. Covey. One thing that might intrigue you is that over 25 million copies of this book have been sold till its publication in 1989. Grab this book and change your life as a mother, father, employee, or student.
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