This is one book I think is timeless and will be read many, many years from now. Stephen Covey writes brilliantly about the 7 habits of highly effective people, and I will break them down in this video.
Before breaking these habits down one by one, you should know that these habits can be divided into 3 categories.
The first three habits focuses on mastering one self. Self-mastery is absolute key when it comes to developing highly effective habits, and there is a reason for why those habits are the first three.
Habits 4 to 6 is more about mastering and developing successful teamwork. Being able collaborate, communicate and achieve results all parties will benefit from.
The last habit is one habit alone that will inevitable make you achieve success if you work hard to develop it. It focuses on constant and never ending improvement and effectively embodies all the other habits.
Habit number 1: Be proactive
To put it simply, one must be proactive in order to be effective. Always remember that you are in charge. You have complete control and have the ability to choose the scripts of how to live your life.
Refrain from being reactive, that’s what passive people do. They don’t believe that they are in charge of their own life, but things and events happens to them. You will hear them say things like: “there’s nothing I can do about it” or “That’s just how I am”. Reactive people have this tendency to put themselves as a victim of external events. The problem is not out there, but they don’t realize that. These are the kind of people you need to avoid if you want to stay proactive.
A proactive person knows that the problem is within, and you have the ability to adapt and overcome any problem. Proactive people recognize that they have a responsibility or response-ability. The ability to chose how to respond to any situation and turn it to your advantage.
For example when the recession hit in 09 and the economy collapsed, reactive people were blaming everything and everyone, they thought the problem was not in their reach and they were just victims of tragedy. However proactive people realized that the solution to the problem was not out there, but rather in their own actions. They took advantage of a seemingly bad situation, invested their money when the majority were selling, and became winners at the end of it.
Know that you are responsible to adapt to any external event, and you will develop a highly effective habit.
Habit number 2: Begin with the end in mind.
Imagine that you’re attending a funeral of a person who have had a great impact on your life. How you can see the coffin from a distance as you approach it slowly. The organ music is playing as you walk past family and friends. When you look down in the coffin you see yourself. It’s your funeral three years from now and people are there to honor you and express their appreciation for you. 4 people will talk about you. The first one is family member, the second one is friend, the third one is a college and the last one is from a organization that you’ve been active in. I want you think thoroughly about this. What do you want them to say about you? How do you want them do describe the impact you’ve had in life? What will you be remembered for?
Beginning with the end in mind means that you have a clear vision of how your life will plan out, and this will help you make decisions, consciously and unconsciously, that will take you closer to what you consider your purpose. You have a clear vision of where you want to be, and at the same time are aware of where you are now.
Habit number 3: Put first things first.
This habit is the practical implementation of habits 1 and 2. Habit one states that you are in control and have full responsibility for the outcomes in your life. Habit 2 is about visualization and the mental aspects. This habit, habit number 3 is the physical version. It’s about using your willpower to take action.
In order to effectively manage yourself, you must put first things first. Develop the discipline to prioritize the day-to-day actions based on what is most important, not what is most urgent. Develop the habit to consistently do what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it regardless if you feel like it or not. You need to act according to your values rather than desires and impulses at any given moment.
These were the first three habits, and if you can manage these effectively you will master yourself and your thoughts towards success and fulfilment.
Habit number 4: Think win-win
To think win-win is by far the best option in any kind of deal or commitment with more parties involved. Erase the idea that there is a zero-sum game and that for every winner there has to be a loser. In a win-lose situation, one person appears to get what he wants for the moment, but the results will negatively impact the relationship going forward.
I enjoyed Fight Mediocrity’s view on this habit. Imagine two authors that are both high level writers, writing about similar subjects. With a win-lose mentality, one of the authors would find ways to ruin the sales and popularity of the other author. He would write bad reviews only to push him down in an attempt to get more people to buy his own books.This would definitely create a negative impact in their relationship going forward. However imagine another scenario where one author promotes the other author’s book as well as his own. The other author would now gain some new fans from the promotion. He then decides to return the favor and promote the other authors book as well, and now they both gain new fans and increase sales at the same time. They will most certainly have a great relationship going forward. This is why you should commit to think win-win.
Habit number 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Before you can effectively offer advise, suggest solutions or interact with another person, take a little step back. Seek to deeply understand them try to see it from their perspective through empathic listening. This is unfortunately rarely the case. We tend to prescribe a solution before we diagnose the problem. We don’t seek to deeply understand the problem first, we seek first to be understood. Most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. They are ignoring what’s being said and focuses more on preparing to speak. If you seek first to understand, however, you will have a clear sense of what the real issue is and you will be able get your point through effectively. This will also significantly increase the credibility of your ideas.
Habit number 6: Synergize
Synergize is the last habit of effectively collaborating and communicating. Synergy is simply put, when one plus one equals more than just two. This can be established when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
For example if you plant two plants close to each other, their roots will eventually merge and co-mingle. This will improve the quality of the soil, so that both plants will grow better than they would on their own.
It allows you to really create new alternatives as well as new possibilities. You will more than often have more success when you combine skills and knowledge of many people for a single project, than just working on it yourself.
Habit number 7: Sharpen the saw
To be highly effective, you must devote time to renewing yourself mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. Continues renewal is is a major key and makes sure that your under constant and never ending improvement. To take time to sharpen the saw will ensure that you are preserving and improving the most valuable asset there is – yourself.
As you focus on renewing yourself along those four dimensions, you must also seek to have positive influence on the people around you. Look to inspire others to a higher path by showing them you believe in them. Seek to improve the lives of the people around you, and feel how your own life improves.
That’s a short summary of one of the best books of all times in my opinion, 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey. Click here get the book on amazon.