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Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Updated on March 26, 2012

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. It has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication. I am sharing the summary of this book, so that we all can implement these effective habits in our daily lives.

BE PROACTIVE-PERSONAL VISION

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” - Brian Tracy

In life, experience is something that happens to us and then how we react to something is our attitude. What matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life.

The unique ability that sets human apart from animals is self-awareness and the ability to choose how we respond to difficult situations. The best thing about proactive people is their initiative to find solutions and their ability to actively use their resourcefulness.

BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND – PERSONAL LEADERSHIP

As they say it; “Failing to plan is actually planning to fail”. This has very impactful and practical implications, be it an individual, a team or an organization.

Beginning with the end in mind is part of the process of personal leadership, taking control of our own lives. It helps us formulate a plan, set personal goals; places key performance indicators (KPIs), evaluate our performances and help us re-assess our achieved targets against the planned ones.

PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST – PRINCIPLES OF PERSONAL MANAGEMENT

“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” ― Dallin H. Oaks

There is a lot of difference between important and urgent. Most of us usually don’t think about setting priorities for important tasks and go for urgent tasks that come our way. This eventually results in possibility of lay-off an important task in order to accomplish an urgent one.

Plan, prioritize, and execute your tasks based on importance rather than urgency.

THINK WIN­-WIN

Always go for such agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. This ensures the consistency and positive attitude from both the parties involved. Make sure to keep a win-win mentality, positive reinforcements must be there to keep everyone motivated.

SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND ­ THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”— Ralph Nichols

Your ability to em pathetically listen and understand a person or an opinion gives you enough opportunity to be equally understood and have impact-ful influence as well. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving which eventually results in harmony in decisions.

PRINCIPLES OF CREATIVE COOPERATION

The habit of creative cooperation is called synergy; the collective effort for finding solutions by combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork.

PRINCIPLES OF BALANCED SELF­-RENEWAL

“Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. “-Sasha Cohen

Take example of a woodcutter’s saw blade; if he keeps sawing for several days straight, the saw becomes less productive and that’s when a periodical sharpening is required, same is the case with humans. If one keeps on working for long time without having periodic breaks then his productivity levels become low.

Therefore the solution is to have effective work-life balance by renewing your resources, energy, and health. Have a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual and you will personally feel an increase in your efficiency, performance and your personal life as well.

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    • cabmgmnt profile image

      Corey 

      6 years ago from Northfield, MA

      This is one of my favorite books, I have read it many times, own it, live by it and recommend it to all. I also highly recommend Tony Robbins. Both Covey's insights and Robbin's are inspirational.

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