The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People | Teen Ink

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People MAG

August 14, 2018
By Emilyi SILVER, Shenzhen, Other
Emilyi SILVER, Shenzhen, Other
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Stephen R. Covey – a preacher, professional educator, and parent of nine children – shares his personal experiences and holistic approach to becoming an effective individual in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Indeed, the path to success is often paved with thorns and rocks. The author himself mentions that he “struggle(d) with much of what I have shared in this book.” However, the struggle is certainly worthwhile when you claim the rewards and the benefits afterward.

The 7 Habits explains universal principles that can be applied to everybody‘s lives, but also contains real-life anecdotes that make the material personal and compelling. The text opens with an introduction to the concept of paradigm and principles. Formulated over 25 years of working with people, Covey’s concept asserts that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. We behave according to our paradigms like puppets on a string without even realizing it. He uses maps as an analogy. If we are holding the right map and at the right place, then the destination is attainable. Yet, if the map is wrong – even if you are walking at your fastest pace – you will never get to your destination. Covey insists that the difference between principles and values – although both are closely related to human interactions and relationships – is people’s attitudes. Integrity, humility, and fidelity are fundamental principles that we should always keep in mind. However, values can be anything that one individual or a group of individuals believe in.

In order to reach certain goals, people often look for short-cuts or formulas that can help them reach the goal faster. However, there are no such methods for success. “The way we see the problem is the problem,” Covey writes. Even when there is a formula, it has to be performed consistently for it to create long-term effects, instead of instantaneous benefits. Instead, we should allow the paradigm shift to happen gradually. To help promote these beneficial changes, Covey introduces the seven habits which he summarizes as the pathway to success and effectiveness. They are: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand Then to Be Understood, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw. The first habit Covey talks about tells people to be proactive. We, as individuals, have the ability to decide our effectiveness. However, sometimes we lose control of it because we cannot view our situations correctly. This leads to the second habit which encourages people to start having a clear destination or goal of what they want to achieve. By having a precise target, the effectiveness of performing the task is much increased. Then, Covey introduces the idea of prioritizing. When you are facing piles of assignments, how do you decide which one to start with? Being able to prioritize ensures that you can manage your time wisely and thus increases your effectiveness. The next habit is about human interactions and relationships, and how to effectively communicate with people. Covey explains that there are six paradigms of human interaction: Win-Win, Win-Lose, Lose-Win, Lose-Lose, Win, or No Deal. Of course, the best resolution is to create a Win-Win situation when both sides benefit from the interaction. However, this does not happen all the time, and it is important to recognize which situation corresponds to which paradigm. Habit five says that we must seek first to understand, then to be understood. In order to do this, we must learn to listen. The combination of the five previous habits then prepares us for habit six: Synergize. By understanding and valuing the differences in another person’s perspective, we have the opportunity to create synergy, which allows us to discover new possibilities through ingenuity and creativity. Synergy allows us to create new alternatives and open new possibilities. It encourages us as a group to collectively agree to ditch the old scripts and write new ones. The last habit teaches that in order to be effective, we must devote the time to renew, and we must review ourselves in different dimensions physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. And as we are renewing ourselves, we will discover and inspire other people as well.

In summary, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People not only teaches people how to be effective, but also explores how to become successful and amiable to other people. These habits allow the readers to actually change by providing feasible actions and real-life examples. This book is a pleasure to read.

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