Book Recommendation: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

4 minutes

IN BRIEF: This post is a review of the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ written by Stephen Covey. We gist out the important aspects of the book, and also a beautiful video review of the same book.

Motivation helps you get up; Habit keeps you going. Our life is the culmination of actions, decisions and choices we make. I cannot overstate the importance of good habits. We’ll discuss the power of habit in another article but today I like to summarise one of the most influential books of all time: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey. Though it’s considered as a business management book its principles can be applied to our daily life to be more productive and happy. Here it goes,

Habit 1: Be Proactive

It means taking responsibility for your life. Not blaming circumstances, conditions or genetics for your behaviour.  Reactive people are the ones who blame everything on external factors instead of taking responsibility. We should realise that we have freedom to choose our behaviour and response to external stimuli. Instead of worrying about conditions over which we have little or no control, like inflation, weather etc., we should concentrate on things we can influence.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind

This habit is based on imagination. You should envision your future to create a blueprint for your mind to follow. Without this you’re allowing other people and circumstances to shape you and your life. With the end in mind you can complete your projects with a clear vision. To incorporate this habit, you should develop a Personal mission statement.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

It means to learn saying no when necessary. You should prioritise your tasks based on your Personal Mission Statement. First things are the ones that matter to you most personally. If you put first things first, you are organising and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Generally, we base our self-worth on comparing with others. For example, if I get a bigger piece of cake you are getting less i.e. if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose. Win-win is a co-operative mindset seeking mutual benefit from our interactions. This means finding solutions that are mutually beneficial and satisfying. It is believing that there is plenty for everyone. This way both gets to eat the whole cake.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood

Communication is a two-way road i.e. you should listen and understand the person you are communicating in order to speak effectively. We listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. This masks our judgement because we are seeing the situation against our frame of reference. You should stop filtering everything you listen through your life experience.

Habit 6: Synergise

We know that 1+1=2, and we apply it to work also i.e. if two people work together they can produce double the results. But when two people creatively co-operate bringing their experience together they can produce far better results. Now there are no limits 1+1 can become 11, or 20 anything. This is called synergy. The capability of invention increases exponentially with the differences between the people working together.

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw

It means preserving and enhancing the assets you have. That can be physical, social, mental and spiritual. Renewing these assets increases your capacity and helps you to follow other habits. Just remember that every day provides a new opportunity for renewal–a new opportunity to recharge yourself instead of hitting the wall. All it takes is the desire, knowledge, and skill.

Checkout this animated review of the book by FightMediocrity

Vamshi Krishna

An engineer by qualification and voracious reader, Vamshi Krishna wants to make an impact on our education system by bringing positive change in the students. He is technology savvy and also interested in human psychology. Through Your DOST he wants to make his opinion count.