Aristotle once said, “You are what you do repeatedly. So your excellence isn’t an act, it’s a habit.” Since habit is so crucial for success Stephen R. Covey who was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker came up with the book titled “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” which has gone popular while translated into 38 languages and sold more than 25 million copies.
The book was the first or second book that I read apart from my college books years ago. Thanks to my elder brother who insisted me to read the book. Then, I did not realise the wisdom of the seven habits Stephen explained in this book. But, while roaming inside a bookstore in Delhi my gaze fell on this book and my heart whispered me to read it again. Believe me reading this book again gave me so many insights of the habits of highly effective people that I regret why I did not read it earlier.
I would like to brief all the seven habits of highly effective people that Stephen explained in his book with some personal and professional experiences.
“It is our willing permission, our consent to what happens to us, that hurts us far more than what happened to us in the first place.” -Stephen Covey
Successful people are proactive. They are not affected by the circumstances. For instance, if you are stuck in a traffic for 10 minutes while going to a client meeting. What will be your reaction to the situation? You will be frustrated and curse everyone from traffic police, government to bad roads. Which seems obvious but it is a habit of ineffective people. They are reactive to the situations. They criticise circumstance and others for their failure.
On the other hand, effective people look into the matter and find out whether they have any control over the situation or not. If they are stuck in traffic and getting late they figure out solutions. Such as finding out trains or some other means for reaching the desired destination. If there are no other posiblities to reach on time they look for possibilities for rescheduling the meeting.
Proactive people find out solutions to every problem. On other hands, reactive people are problems themselves. They create more problems in problems.
Begin with the end in mind
“it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.” -Stephen Covey
One of the biggest reason that the majority of us are not effective people because we do not start with the end in mind. We plan for a business and we leave it in between. We plan to control our anger but fail after one or two incidents. We plan to hit the gym every day but we quit after one or two months. This is the sign of ineffective people.
On the other hand, effective people begin something with the end in mind. They plan to go to the gym and start with the end in mind. For this, they visualise the destiny they want to reach at. They visualise why they want to go to the gym, their purpose and the result. When they visualise the result they actually find the motivation to end what they start.
Put the first thing first
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey
One of the most important habits of effective people is they put most important thing first. They list down all the tasks and activities they want to do and then filter them with some techniques.
They bifurcate the most important tasks and the least important tasks from their list. They filter the list more by delegating some tasks that can be done by others. They jump onto the most important tasks and gradually reach to least important tasks. This way they manage to produce more and better results in less time.
“To go for Win-Win, you not only have to be nice, but you also have to be courageous.” -Stephen Covey
Effective people focus on the win-win situation. For instance, I have noticed that many YouTubers are making YouTube videos in collaboration with each other. This way both the teams are attracting more viewers and subscribers. This is called a win-win situation.
There are other situations as well such as win-lose, lose-win and lose-lose. However, effective people think that there are a plethora of opportunities available for everyone that is why they do not think of any other situation but the only a win-win situation.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood
“Seeking to understand requires consideration; seeking to be understood takes courage.” -Stephen Covey
Effective people always understand the situation and others first and then try to be understood. For instance, you visit a doctor for a cold and cough. You explain to him/her how you are feeling. The doctor will never prescribe you medicines without asking some relevant questions to understand your problem better.
That is what it called to seek first to understand and then to be understood. If the doctor does not understand clearly and prescribe you any medicines then it is obvious that you will not visit the same doctor again. The same applies to better communication for better relationships.
The key to valuing differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are.” -Stephen Covey
Combine or coordinate the activity of two or more people to produce a joint effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. As the writer writes in his book that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This habit actually helps to find out new alternatives for better and bigger result.
Synergy allows us to create new alternatives and open new possibilities. The writer writes that The combination of all the other habits prepares us for Habit six which is Synergise.
Sharpen the saw
“The more we see people in terms of their unseen potential, the more we can use our imagination rather than our memory.” -Stephen Covey
To be effective, we must devote the time to improve ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Continuous improvement allows us to synergistically increase our ability to practice each habit.
This habit makes all other habits possible by enhancing your greatest asset: yourself.
The writer Stephen collected the seven habits that can help a person do better and be effective in personal and professional life. Do not read it only once if you do not want to regret afterwards. Read it at least twice or thrice.