The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty and
living with dignity. He makes us realize how important an aspect of our lives ‘change’ is,
and how we can take the advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
The book is divided into four parts. The first part talks about the paradigms and principles. A paradigm is how we see the world, how we perceive, understand and interpret what we see. Covey states that if we want to make a significant, quantum change, we need to work on our basic paradigms. Then he talks about principles. He makes us aware of the fact that principles are like lighthouses. They are natural laws that cannot be broken. They have an enduring and permanent value. He blends our basic paradigms with these principles. The more closely our maps or paradigms are aligned with these principles, the more accurate and functional they will be.
The book is based on 7 habits, three of which pull us from the level of dependence, where the actions we take are a result of the situations we are in or behavior of people around us, to the level of independence, where we act rather than being acted upon. Independence is the paradigm of I—I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant; I can choose. These are included in the second part, PRIVATE VICTORY. These three habits are:
1. Be proactive:
Where proactivity signifies that we do not blame the circumstances for our actions. Rather we hold ourselves responsible to everything we do. Proactivity is the
freedom to choose our response to any stimulus in life.
2. Begin with the end in mind
: Where Covey lays stress on imagining what kind of thoughts would we like to hear from the people associated with us after our death, and act accordingly. He very effectively exemplifies the fact that whatever we do, we should keep in mind the long term results emerging from it.
3. Put first things first
: Where he explains the concept of personal management through the “Urgent Vs Important” quadrants. One realizes how to prioritize in order to succeed. The third part, PUBLIC VICTORY, where we reach the level of interdependence. Interdependence is the paradigm of we—we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something better together. Covey includes the next three habits in this part. These are:
4. Think Win/Win
: Where the author emphasizes on going for a deal in which both the parties win which will lead to active efforts from both sides and best results.
5. Seek first to understand and then to be understood
… A very very important
aspect of an interdependent living,
where Covey introduces the term
: Which means that in an organization, two plus two is not four, its much more than that. Synergy is the power where a team achieves much more than all the members would individually.
Part four of this book, RENEWAL, talks about the seventh habit, Sharpen the saw
. It’s the habit that surrounds all the other habits and makes all these habits possible. It’s renewing the four dimensions of nature- physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional. All in all with penetrating insights and powerful anecdotes, this book teaches us principles- Principles of personal vision, personal leadership, personal management, interpersonal leadership, empathic communication, creative cooperation and