7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a bestseller written by Stephen Covey. If you’re into reading self-help and motivational books, this one is a hard one to miss.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (we’ll be using that title a lot) is one book that will never be boring, monotonous, or put-down-able. (Yes, that’s a word we made up) The book highlights 7 solid, effective habits that immediately set people apart from the rest of the herd.
The author, Stephen R. Covey, strongly believes that our sense of the world relies only on our perception. Therefore, the simplest way to change a situation is by changing the way we look at it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Spoiler alert. It isn’t.
Therefore, before you run for the hills to sound the bells of impending doom, this book is the first step to focusing on changing our perception of the world around us. And this blog is your guide to the book!
We should mention that we’ll only be talking about 4 of our favorite habits, to make sure that you actually pick up the book to read the remaining three.
We should add here that Stephen Covey has written a few more smashing bestsellers, such as The 8th Habit, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens! Check it out here at thriftbooks.com.
Thus, here are the habits of highly effective people.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
According to the Oxford Dictionary, proactive is defined as “creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened”. For example, instead of simply accepting one’s possible rejection for a job profile, one should work towards enhancing their professional skills, interview skills, resume appeal, before the interview!
This is the first step towards choosing not to cry over one’s fate or challenges you might face, but actively working towards moving forward with an active mindset! Proactive people succeed in the workplace, college, social settings, and wherever they choose to contribute!
To start with being proactive, try stopping yourself before you say things like:
“That’s just how I am” or “There’s nothing I can do”.
Instead, ask yourself questions like:
“What can I do to prepare myself better?”
“How can I improve on this skill I’m not good at?”
It works, trust us!
Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? There’s more to it than you know. This step talks about one of the most important skills leaders and achievers have – goal setting.
Well, setting goals is just one part of it. When you embark on a set of tasks, take a moment to clearly define your goals, expectations, and how you expect the end results to look. With this clear plan in mind from the very start, you’ll never go off track!
But we’re all human, and going off track occurs more frequently than we’d like to think. But the clear goal you had set at the beginning will quickly nudge you on the right track once again! To aid understanding, here’s a quick example.
Let’s say you want to start with a course in Creative Writing. Before you start, simply making a mental note of the answer to “What do I aim to accomplish after I complete this course” is Habit 2 in action. If your answer is “Write clearer essays and articles at work”, you’ll nudge yourself on the right track till you achieve that goal!
Habit 3: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
This is by far the most insightful habit we’ve found in the book – and it wasn’t easy picking just one! In our everyday interactions with people, we often pick up a “give solutions and get it over with” approach.
For example, a man goes to a nutritionist and talks about switching to a low-fat diet. Without understanding what exactly the man wishes to work on or why he wants to do so, the nutritionist prescribes him a diet that ends up doing more harm than good.
This example aside, we often never hear what the other person is trying to convey, and simply give solutions that are based on a few experiences of our own. To truly connect with people, listen. Listen to what they wish to speak, listen to what they wish to do further, and listen to what it is they want from you!
So, the trick here is to replace the 4 listening styles below with sensitive, empathetic listening!
- Evaluate: Agree or disagree with what is said
- Probe: Ask questions from our own point of view and reference
- Advise: Give advice based on our own experiences
- Interpret: Try to figure out the person’s motives based on our own motives
Habit 4: Sharpen the Saw
To make sure that we are as productive and energized as can be, we must spend some time each day working on our physical, mental, social, intellectual, and spiritual health. Devoting an hour each day towards a renewal of all our strengths and health is what will keep us going in the long run. And only when you are healthy can you focus on other dimensions of yourself, your habits, and your personality!
Here are a few ways to work on your health, one step at a time.
- Practice daily meditation
- Communicate with nature
- Immerse yourself in great literature or music
- Read good, positive literature
- Keep a journal of your thoughts, experiences, and insights
- Limit television watching to only those programs that help enhance and enrich your life and mind!
- Devote to some form of physical exercise each day
- Eat food that nourishes you
- Pay attention to your body and the signs it gives
- Seek to deeply understand other people – Habit 2(!)
- Make contributions to meaningful projects that improve lives!
- Don’t hesitate to help others find success!
The book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one that should definitely be on your shelf! And the best part about it? It’s written in simple, clear, and easy-to-understand language that makes it even easier to let the good – or should we say effective – vibes flow in!
Writer: Kshitija Desai
Editor: Evelyn Tobing