The book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey is a classic book that pointed out some key points of habits that can help us achieve success.
I used to read a lot of books before the technology arrived. Now-a-days, I focus on getting summaries of the books or try to listen to a audiobook to save some time.
After going through other’s review, I found that Covey’s book is not just about personal development, but also about how to be an effective leader, a good team player, and a valuable member of society.
In this post, I will explore and review the seven habits that Covey outlines in his book and how they can be applied to our personal and professional life.
The 7 Habits
Being proactive means taking responsibility for our own life and actions. Instead of blaming others or external circumstances, proactive people take charge of their lives and make things happen.
A proactive person focuses on the things he can control and influence, rather than worrying about the things he can’t. Being proactive is not that difficult, however, requires a will power and motivation to be so.
To me, the motto of being proactive is “Just Do It”. It is true, we can literally benifit from actions rather than overthinking about it. I started making myself proactive using “the 2-minutes rule”.
This rule says if anything can be done within two minutes, we should do it immediately. For example, sending an email, making the bed, etc. You can read a detailed article on the 2-minute rule here.
I also started growing a habit of taking more actions rather than thinking much about the load of the tasks or the outcome. Sometimes it helps to take actions immediately.
For example, I can think of writing a blog post or making a video or actually start doing it. It’s actually better to do something than doing nothing and only thinking about it.
Begin with the end in mind
This habit is all about setting goals and having a clear vision of what you want to achieve in life. Covey encourages readers to visualize their goals and work towards them with purpose and intention.
Well, I already grew this habit before even I realized it is a habit. In my opinion, it is good to have a vision of everything. For example, in terms of career, I always have a vision of what position I want to see myself in 5 or 10 or 15 years.
In research sometimes we fix the goal or end result first and then proceed with further investigation, research problems, and possible solutions!
Put first things first
This habit is about prioritizing your time and energy. Covey encourages readers to focus on the things that matter most, and to use their time wisely.
He encourages readers to create a “time management matrix” that helps them prioritize their tasks based on urgency and importance.
Personally, I prefer prioritizing tasks as well. Like what I need to get done today and what I can be flexible at accomplishing or not.
Thinking win-win is about looking for solutions that benefit everyone involved. Instead of trying to “win” at someone else’s expense, this habit encourages us to seek mutually beneficial outcomes.
Thinking win-win is good for everyone because it encourages collaboration and cooperation, rather than competition or conflict.
When individuals approach a situation with a win-win mindset, they are more likely to seek mutually beneficial outcomes and to work towards achieving shared goals. This type of thinking can lead to more effective and efficient problem-solving, as well as improved relationships and a more positive overall outcome.
Additionally, by focusing on mutual benefit, individuals are able to build trust and establish long-term relationships, which can lead to further success and positive outcomes in the future.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood
This habit is about effective communication. Covey encourages readers to listen to others with empathy and seek to understand their perspective before trying to make themselves understood.
It is a habit that involves actively listening and understanding another person’s perspective before expressing our own. This habit is beneficial for us in various ways, including improving communication and relationships, building trust and empathy, and finding common ground.
Synergy is about working together to achieve more than you could on your own. The habit encourages us to build relationships based on mutual respect and trust, and to work together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
This habit is beneficial for us in a number of ways, such as promoting creativity, encouraging innovation, and improving problem-solving.
An example of synergy in action is a group of musicians working together to create a song. Each musician brings their unique talents and skills to the project, and by collaborating and building off of each other’s ideas, they are able to create a piece of music that is greater than what any one of them could have achieved alone.
In research, we do collaborate to identify a problem and make the way towards the solution. The end result is a methodology or product that is more polished, refined, and successful than what could have been accomplished by working in isolation.
By applying synergy, we can tap into the power of collective creativity and achieve more than we ever thought possible.
Sharpen the saw
This habit is about self-care and continuous improvement. Covey encourages readers to take care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and to continually learn and grow.
Physically: We can sharpen ourselves physically by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough rest or sleep. For example, going for a run, lifting weights, or doing yoga /meditation can improve our physical strength, endurance, and overall health.
Mentally: We can sharpen ourselves mentally by engaging in activities that challenge our cognitive abilities, such as reading, learning a new language, or solving puzzles. For example, reading books, news, or reports and watching documentaries/movies on a variety of topics can expand our knowledge and improve our critical thinking skills.
Emotionally: We can sharpen ourselves emotionally by practicing self-awareness, empathy, and effective communication. For example, taking time for self-reflection, actively listening to others, and expressing our emotions in a healthy way can improve our emotional intelligence and strengthen our relationships with others.
Spiritually: We can sharpen ourselves spiritually by practicing meditation, mindfulness, or engaging in activities that connect us with a higher power or purpose. For example, practicing meditation or yoga can help us cultivate inner peace, while volunteering or participating in community service can help us feel a sense of connection and purpose beyond ourselves.
The “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey is a timeless book that provides valuable insights into personal and professional development.
The seven habits outlined in the book can help readers become more effective in all aspects of their lives. By practicing these habits, we can become a more proactive, goal-oriented, and empathetic individuals.