Change Your Habits and Change Your Life!
Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been read and shared by countless people for years. I found this book highly enjoyable and very valuable. I’ve heard some of this content before but initially didn’t bother to read the book because I thought I got the gist of his concepts. That was a mistake… read the book. The book offers much more than a synopsis and really illustrates the points with details and stories to ensure you fully get the concept. At the time of writing this article I’m still working to apply these techniques. I encourage you to do the same.
Most people are reactive and inefficient with what they want to accomplish in life. You can look around and see some truth to this most people unfortunately haven’t developed the skills needed to achieve what they want. They’ve picked up bad habits and perspectives that have them being reactive and taking the wrong reactions. By re-focusing your awareness and re-training your actions you can achieve greatness and leverage synergy. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People offers a structured way towards making this life change.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Be Proactive – Principles of Personal Vision
Develop awareness and conscious decisions based on your vision and values rather than being reactionary to a circumstance. Take the initiative and have purpose for the decisions and actions you take in your life. Your life choices can be either working towards your vision and serving you or responding to a stimulus.
- Begin with the End in Mind – Principles of Personal Leadership
Take ownership and accountability of your life and personal growth. Define your personal mission statement. Know you are in control of your life. Ensure your principles are the center of the other areas of your life. Put devotion to each of the areas of your life evenly to develop momentum.
- Put First Things First – Principles of Personal Management
Be proactive to define what you want, create a plan to achieve it and then commit to take the needed actions until the results are realized. Put your focus on taking action on items that are are highly important but not yet urgent. This proactive approach will help prevent some future urgent items from occurring. An example to illustrate this concept would be take time to ensure you proactively exercise to keep healthy before you develop a health problem that mandates more time and money repair the problem.
- Think Win/Win – Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
When we beat the other person, we may win but in the long run we may loose future opportunities. Think of a sales person that screws over her customer. Hooray, she made a sale, but if she did it at the expense of a customer, she’ll likely loose future sales because of this. Now if she took the time to make a sale that she was happy with and her customer was happy with she may gain her repeat business and potentially additional referrals.
- Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood – Principles of Empathic Communication
We waste a lot of time and energy when we insist we get our points across and don’t take the time to truly understand the other side of the argument. This blocks off the opportunity of coming up with a solution to meet the needs of both parties. Modern politics is a great example of what happens when two parties try to dominate the conversation rather than looking for a solution to achieve the common goal. Rather than being defensive or reactionary take the time to understand the others point of view, once you fully understand their point of view you can share your own and find the middle ground.
- Synergize – Principles of Creative Cooperation
When people own the first five principles of success they are now ready to develop synergy and extend their talents and effectiveness dramatically when combining their skills with others. Taking the page out of the history books, a lot of innovation has come in times of war when people worked together with strong intent and devotion towards their success without getting held back by their differences of opinion. When you communicate synergistically you are opening your mind, heart and expressions to new possibilities, alternatives and options.
- Sharpen the Saw – Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
Sharpen the Saw is focusing on continuing to develop and refine your skills with awareness and devotion. We all have the ability for improvement and even when we achieve efficiency in a skill we must continue to strengthen the skill or it may deteriorate through time. Take action to continue to develop and cultivate your personal growth and skills.