A brief synopsis
An productive individual has learned to make the paradigm change from outside-in to inside-out to sum up the seven habits at a high level. From dependency to freedom to interdependence, they have grown along the growth spectrum. An successful individual has discovered the output balance while still increasing their ability to produce.
The first three habits are self-mastery habits or personal victories. Such practises must come first after which come the second three practises of government victories. The last habit is one that is vital to the first six’s proper functioning and regeneration.
Stephen Covey, the well-known author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was a leading authority, family expert, trainer, organisational strategist, and author who was widely regarded. He is also acknowledged as one of the 25 most prominent Americans in Time Magazine.
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” – Stephen Covey
Habit 1: Be Proactive
“That individual can not say, “I choose otherwise,” until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the decisions I made yesterday.
Covey is redefining some words that we are used to using. You have to neglect, for instance, the dictionary definition of constructive. Plus, how you were taught to attribute this word to your employees cannot be forgotten.
The best way to interpret a paradigm is to first understand the paradigms of human behaviour that are commonly accepted.
1) Ingenetic determinism (you are who you are because of your genes)
2) Mental determinism (your childhood and upbringing shaped your personality)
3) Determinism in the climate (the things around you make you who you are)
The prevalent opinion is that we’re animals at our heart. Therefore a given stimulus forces us to give a particular response. Although this is certainly valid, Covey quotes Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist and Holocaust victim: “Man has the freedom to choose between stimulus and response.” (See Frankl’s book Man’s Quest for Meaning for his storey.) Thus we are affected by stimuli, however we have free will.
The author defines proactivity as exercising your right to choose self-awareness, imagination, conscience, or independent will and the paradigm shift that comes with it. Between stimulus and response, this option normally occurs. This view suggests that when you want to let something make you that way, your unhappiness and lack of success are due. Therefore, our answer, which is constructive, must be chosen. The principle of proactivity by Covey does not reduce the influence of biology, upbringing, and environments. We must however, accept our obligation to form our responses to these variables.
Proactivity is not a posture of hope. Proactivity, instead, means comprehending the reality of a situation.
We all have a “circle of concern,” reflecting all the things we care for, Covey explains. In our circle of interest, we can only affect a small portion of items. Many people waste their time and energy thinking about things they can’t influence, or moaning about them. The more you concentrate on things beyond your power i.e., the less things you can control outside your “circle of influence.” It’ll shrink your circle of power. In addition, you will find that your circle of influence will expand by concentrating only on those items under your power.
Stop talking about “have” (if I only had a better job and start saying “be in order to shift the attention to your circle of influence (I can be more efficient).
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Twice, everything is made. As a mental development, you first create something. Then it becomes a tangible creation as a result. Suppose you do not want to monitor your mental inventions consciously. In that case, by implication, your life is being developed. Your life is in essence, influenced by random factors and the desires and agendas of other people.
Starting with the end in mind means, with your beliefs and directions evident, approaching every role you have in life. We will know when we behave in a role that is not in line with our beliefs or is not a product of our constructive nature, since we are self-aware.
The root of your protection (your sense of worth), guidance (your source of direction in life), wisdom (your outlook on life), and strength will be the things at the centre of your life (your capacity to act and accomplish).
Many individuals do not take the time to match their beliefs with their core. They have several alternative centres as a result. People can be spouse-centered, family-centered, centred on wealth, centred on work, centred on pleasure, or self-centered. You probably know someone who is an example of any one of these topics being based around.
All of these centres have enough positive stuff to concentrate on. Covey, however, explains that depending on either of these centres for stability, direction, wisdom, or power is not safe. Instead, we need to have a “principle” core to be a successful individual. Timeless, unchanging ideals should be the cornerstone of our concept core. All these other centres can be put into context by the theory centre.
The personal power of a self-aware, informed, constructive individual, unrestricted by the attitudes, activities, and acts of others or by many of the circumstances and environmental forces that limit other people, is the personal power that comes from principle-centered living.
Writing a personal mission statement is the best way to make sure your life is consistent with your values (and the best way to monitor when you go off-center). From the viewpoint of responsibilities and priorities, Covey recommends approaching your personal mission statement. Who would you like to be, and what would you like to achieve?
For families or organisations, this tenet is the same. The first step in the process of being productive is an authentic mission statement. Importantly, to achieve the correct perspective and to set yourself up for the next habit, you need to put in time and effort.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
The second development, the physical realisation of Habits 1 and 2, is Habit 3. Habits 1 and 2 are better described as “leadership.” You can then start contemplating management after developing these two habits. The heart of habit 3 is management.
Strong leadership means putting first things first and doing what others don’t want to do. You must have a burning “yes” inside of you from Habits 1 and 2. This “yes” should allow you to say “no” to other items that do not agree with your values and objectives.
Four levels of time management are defined by Covey:
1) Checklists and Notes (reducing your cognitive burden in the present)
2) Schedules and books for appointments (looking ahead to arrange your future time better)
3) Regular training using objective-setting and prioritisation. Many people never go beyond this point,
4) Categorization of activities and deliberate emphasis and exclusion of such activities
This fourth level is where we are asked by the author to work. He borrowed Dwight Eisenhower’s instrument for this categorization.
In quadrant II, an efficient time manager invests as much time as possible. Before they become urgent, they do things that are important. They emphasise, for instance, relationship building, long-term planning, and preventive maintenance. The more time you spend on this quadrant, the less time you’re going to have to spend on Quadrant I. In quadrants III and IV, assign or otherwise leave something out.
Most individuals, in fact, spend most of their time in quadrants I and III. They always concentrate on urgent items that may or might not be important. Rarely does this approach help you to be successful. By striving to be more disciplined, most of us strive to get out of this vicious circle. The author suggests, however that the problem probably isn’t that you lack discipline. More likely, it is simply that you have not rooted your goals in your beliefs.
Covey recommends a sequence of four measures to become a Quadrant II self-manager:
1) Functions are identified. Write down a list of positions you wish to perform with time and resources. This could be your place as a person (for which you would devote time for self-improvement). Alternatively, your role as a member of the family could be (spouse, son, mother, etc.). Ultimately, it could be your job at work (roles that relate to your job title)
2) Choosing preferences. For each task that you want to achieve over the next week, write down one or two objectives. Since you have already been through the Habits 1 and 2 phase, these goals should be related to your broader objective and long-term goals.
3) Planning. Take this a step past where most people use scheduling to get things. Therefore, a week at a time, sit down and map out your schedule. Scheduling allows you to match your objectives with the best time to achieve them. For instance, for most individuals, peak productivity is about 2 and 5 hours after waking. One application of this idea may be to schedule 2-5 hours after waking on Saturday to do the most important quadrant II operations that your work would not allow you to do during the week.
4) Adapt regular. At the beginning of each day, take a few minutes to study the schedule you put together and revisit the principles that prompted you to set your objectives for the day. Things do change in real life. Therefore, allowing your schedule to be flexible and adaptable while focusing on your beliefs and goals is important.
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Some unrealistically positive and welcoming attitude is not outlined by Covey. Instead the author describes win/win thought as a mentality that often finds a third alternative to the option of me or you.” Most individuals live in one of the four alternative paradigms that follow:
1) Win/losing (authoritarian or egotistical)
2) Lose/winning (being a pushover)
3) Lose/lose (when two people communicate with each other)
4) Win the Win (focused solely on the results you get for yourself)
We must establish the three character traits central to the win/win paradigm to avoid these unproductive mindsets:
1) Honesty (Integrity) (the value we place on ourselves)
2) Maturity Maturity (the balance between courage and consideration)
3) Abundance Abundance (which comes from a sense of personal worth and security)
As an emotional bank account, try thinking about your relationships. Through making deposits proactively, you ensure that when the time comes to make a withdrawal, the emotional funds will be there.
Win/win is always difficult, but the existence of a hefty emotional bank account makes it much simpler.
Covey offers the following characteristics in order to better explain what a win/win decision is and how it is structured:
1) Strong recognition of desired outcomes
2) Specified parameters within which those results can be achieved
3) Tools to be used to achieve the findings
4) Transparency by clear performance criteria and times for assessment
5) Implications of the evaluation results
The secret to this chapter is that the system, not the people, is the issue in the most difficult circumstances. Many challenging problems can be overcome by approaching certain issues with the issue of how we can improve the framework and make it work for those concerned.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”– Stephen Covey
If you want to interact with people effectively and influence them, you must understand them first. It may be common sense, but it contrasts directly with the modus operandi of most people, which should be primarily concerned with being understood.
Again, Covey breaks it down into a step-by-step structure that makes it easier to understand your actions. Here are his four listening levels:
2) Pretending to be listening
3) Listening attentively
4) Listening empathically
The first three are self-explanatory, but you may not have previously used the word “empathic listening.” By “listening” to their body language, sound, speech, and emotions, empathic listening means knowing the frame of reference of someone else. This is a massive deposit in an emotional bank account.
We prefer to listen from our frame of reference (even though we listen carefully) in addition to empathic listening and have these “autobiographical responses”:
1) Assess (agree or disagree)
2) The sample (ask questions from our frame of reference)
3) Tips (give counsel based on our own experience)
4) Interpreting (explaining the behaviour of people based on our motivations)
Instead of pushing our natural autobiographical responses to each scenario, we should listen empathically. If we do this we can get beyond a transactional, surface-level exchange and have a real impact. Once those needs are met, the needs stop inspiring people. Met the need to be heard, and you can move on to being good. Afterwards the other half of this habit is known.
The Greek ideas of ethos, pathos, and logos are alluded to by Covey. You should concentrate on your character and then your relationships first. Both, however, rely on the reasoning, which, after the first two philosophies, should be followed. In any trade, most individuals want to skip straight to logos. However before understanding how your logic suits the general image of your viewpoint, someone must first understand you emotionally. Via this structure, approach your communication, and you’ll be shocked at how effectively you get your point across.
This habit is powerful because initially knowing, then being understood, is still in the circle of influence. The door for third alternatives, win/win options, is opened when individuals understand each other.
Habit 6: Synergize
Covey does not apply to the type of “synergy” that happens by lowering administration costs when two businesses combine and become stronger together. In addition, he does not apply to joint attempts to do more than you might do alone.
If you have encountered it, Covey explains synergy as something that might be difficult to comprehend. When a group of people enters a simultaneous and cooperative state of flow, one way to explain it is. This is described by Covey as the “peak experience” of group interaction.
You may have sports experience where the squad has just gelled. When this happens, the plays of your team begin to click as though you were travelling as one body. Alternatively, as a musical group, you may have experience in performing. Just imagine the moments when every note was perfect, and the hooks were strong. Finally, you can remember an emergency in which strangers came together with extraordinary coordination to act.
These examples are what the author means-a mutual peak experience-by synergy. As a culmination of the first five habits, this experience can be created. The key here is that this kind of teamwork doesn’t need to be an uncommon experience. In our daily lives, we can build them. Begin to live at a higher level by putting into practise the first five behaviours and incorporating honesty and transparency. You can become more successful than most people can think of becoming in order to work at this level consistently.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Mind, both of these are built to be habits. A habit is something which is repeatedly done. Subsequently, before practise, you must take the time to refresh yourself.
Covey advises that you take the time to do something to refresh what he categorises as human nature’s four dimensions:
- Intellectual (reading, visualizing, planning, writing)
- The Physical (exercise, nutrition, stress management)
- Psychological (service, empathy, synergy, intrinsic security)
- Spiritual(value clarification, commitment, study, and meditation)
You harm the rest when you neglect any one place. So, stick to these activities for at least one hour every day.
For the benefit of the other six behaviours, an overall balance of these dimensions is important. This practise, if done correctly, can lead to a virtuous cycle of continual personal development.
In order to be effective, the crux of the book is that you must come from a position of authenticity. With each successive habit, you can start with your values and construct. Unfortunately, imitating without producing authenticity is human nature.
You will have grasped the greater meaning and the nuances of his points once you’ve read the book, but it’s still useful to refresh your memory in this way:
- Only be proactive. Adopt a responsibility mindset for your actions, responses, and outcomes.
- Start in mind with the end. Make sure that your efforts begin with the setting up of your values.
- Place the first stuff first. Spend your time on things important, not things that are urgent.
- Only think Win-Win. With the view of trying to fix the system, not the person, approach any interaction to find the best solution for everyone concerned.
- First to discover, then to be learned. It is important to consider people’s needs, create trust, and communicate your emotions; last, communicate your reasoning.
- Synergizing. For an exponentially higher degree of successful and co-operative everyday contact, combine the first five behaviours.
- Make the saw sharp. Take the time to preserve your mind, body, feelings, and spirit and to refresh them.
Comment below, if you have questions about this review or would like to share what you have learned.