The book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey was first published in 1989. It is the epitome of self-improvement meets business. The book outlines how you can achieve your goals in life or business by being highly effective. Simple but powerful advice is given in this book.
Covey notes that a paradigm shift is needed to get actual change and not just change ourselves at the surface level. This is true especially today when people are looking for quick fixes in life. The book is a best- seller mainly because of the realizations many people get after reading it on how they are not performing to the best, and there is so much more they can do.
Are you ready to change your life? Are you wondering whether this book will help you? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People summary given here will give you a quick overview of the book to guide you in the right direction.
Be Proactive – This chapter aims at teaching you how to stop being reactive. It is all about how you can take charge of your life and assume your responsibilities. In the chapter Covey teaches you how to see yourself beyond what the social mirror portrays of you.
If you are proactive, you should not blame circumstances, conditions or conditioning for your behaviour. Instead, you set your own agenda, take charge and control all the situations so you can achieve what you have set out to achieve.
Begin With the End in Mind – if you have an end in mind, it means that you already know what you want. You have a vision of what you want to become, and therefore you will set the necessary values to guide you through to your vision. You should always start with a destination in mind so that the steps you take will be leading you in the right direction. This is what Corey teaches in this chapter.
Covey also notes that you should find your center so that you have something to guide your actions. In finding your center, you must find the fundamental center which is the principle center. You must be guided by principles in everything that you do. With principles will come morals and success will be imminent.
Put First Things First – putting first things first simply means that you must prioritize. If you do not have priorities, then it is easy for time to go to waste. After you have set out your destination in chapter 2, this chapter is all about prioritizing so that you can reach that destination. With all your goals and vision in mind, have strategies to get you there and carry them out one after the other.
Covey notes that for you to be able to achieve this, you must be able to put values first before your own desires. You should have focus and discipline always to do what is required even when you do not feel like it.
Think Win-Win – this chapter is about building interdependent relationships that are mutually beneficial and satisfying to both parties. With a win-win scenario in mind then both parties involved are satisfied. Interdependence is essential in the journey to reach your goals.
You will need other people to get you to your destination. When negotiating with others, therefore, do not just think of yourself. Think of something that will be agreeable to all parties so you are happy and they are happy. That is the only way to get progress.
Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood – to be able to relate with other people truly then it is imperative to listen emphatically to them so you can understand them first. This habit means that you have to learn to really listen to others. This is a habit many people do not have including leaders.
Only after you have understood others will you be able to offer recommendations, advice and solutions that can help them.
Synergize – with synergy you are able to open new opportunities and create new alternatives. Synergy means that value differences in other people. When you synergize, you put yourself on the same side with others, and together you look at the problems on the other side and get solutions.
However, to achieve synergy, you must first think win-win and seek first to understand others before you are understood. Synergy with others is what creates new opportunities.
Sharpen the Saw – life and the nuances of daily living can wear you out. You might burn out from your job or your relationship. It is imperative that you take time to renew yourself. In this chapter, Cover covers how you can renew yourself so that you are able to perform in all the habits and all the aspects of your life.
Sharpening the saw meaning taking care of your physical body (eating well, exercising, sufficient rest), spiritual dimension (meditation, communication with nature), mental dimension (reading good literature, keeping a journal of thoughts and experiences) and social dimension (improve lives of others, make contributions to help others find success).
What I Like about the Book
I like the fact that the habits given in the book are simple yet touch almost all aspects of life. After reading the book, you can improve almost all aspects of your life from financial, relationship and all others. The book is also very practical and actionable. These are habits, and therefore you have to put in the work to achieve them.
However, the book makes it simple for you to understand how to do that. At the end of every habit is a test and suggestions on how you can apply what you have learnt. The book teaches you how to be a better version of yourself. With this, you can be a better spouse, parent, boss, employee and just about anything else that you want to be better at.
Why You Should Read the Book
This book will help you realize areas in which you are not performing well and help you do better. If you are ready to institute change in your life and become a better version of yourself, then you should read the book. The book will change you both personally and professionally.