By Stephen R. Covey
This book is one of my favourite books as this is something that really tells you the real way of effectiveness. The concept of the paradigm shift was introduced by the author and this book also helps to understand that there can be a different perspective of looking at things by different people.
This book talks about the principle of characters on which happiness and success are based on. It will help you to have effective personal & professional interpersonal skills.
In today’s world, everyone wants a quick fix solution or method for quick success which you may get but will not stay for long with anyone. Success and happiness which is long term is dependent on personal ethics and strengthening the core and motives rather than behaviours, attitudes, personality.
This also talks about three stages of increasing maturity – dependence, independence, and interdependence called the maturity continuum. For attaining the level of interdependence one must cultivate the seven habits.
The seven habits are:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- First thing first
- Think win-win
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
- Sharpen the saw for growth
Let us discuss all habits one by one.
HABIT NO 1: BE PROACTIVE
The first habit which we all should have to be effective is being proactive. One must be responsible for his/her own life if he/she takes the decision because it is easy to make a decision but what is not easy is to take the responsibility for that decision. Many times we keep on blaming on others, a situation about what happens but actually what happens is because of your own choice of action which is based on your values.
Generally, we are reactive towards whatever happens but we need to be proactive. When we are reactive we are hurt due to all the external factors but when we are proactive we courageously stick to our goals and what we believe. We make decisions based on actions and we just do not react to what has happened.
HABIT NO 2: Begin with the end in mind
This is the most interesting and important thing to do. t is just like when you want to go on a journey what would be your destination and if you do not know then it is all uncertain. Samways, If you have to live a life by knowing exactly what you want then, it helps you to work on your life accordingly. For this one thing which you can do is what would you like to be remembered as when you are not alive?
This will help you to carve your mission or purpose for life.
The purpose should focus on
What you want to be?
What do you want to do?
What principles it will be based on?
These three questions answer should be framed in one sentence which is your mission and when you know the mission your actions, plans will all be based on this.
HABIT NO 3: First thing first
This habit is about organizing and executing your priorities. This is the action when performed you will not only organize and manage your time but you will manage and organize yourself.
When you are stuck to know what to prioritize. You can follow the below method because we are always busy in the things which are just eating up our time and yielding no result for our personal and professional life.
The steps to follow for prioritizing are as follows:
- When you are stuck just sit with pen and paper.
- Write all the things or tasks which you wish to do or you have to do in the coming month.
- Divide the paper in 2 by 2 matrix which is known as the CSIW MATRIX and put the tasks as shown in the picture.
4. The first part will consist of all the urgent and important tasks which need to be done immediately and are basically pressing problems or deadlines.
5. The second part will consist of all the important but not urgent tasks which need planning and should get maximum time. These are long term goals related tasks.
6. The third part will consist of the tasks which can be delegated or rescheduled. These tasks do not need your time or should be given time if you have extra time left.
7. The fourth part will consist of all the unwanted activities which need to be removed from your task list.
By doing this you will be in a better position to know what you should prioritize.
HABIT NO 4: Think win-win
This is the way of life according to the author which every effective person has. According to this philosophy if the agreement s and solutions are mutual and beneficial for all then all the parties are satisfied and happy with the solution. There are various ways of looking at things but this is the most effective and best way to have long term relationships. This kind of mindset cannot exist in a competitive environment rather we should have a cooperative environment and there should be space for everyone to put things forward.
This kind of mindset will either be beneficial for all the parties or there would be no deal. To have a win-win mindset what matters is the foundation of people engaged in the deal, their interest in nurturing the relationship, and willingness for results for both and systems for better functioning.
HABIT NO 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
This habit will help habit no 4 and habit no 5 to get developed. This is also something that we all miss because we are always in the mindset to be understood rather than understand. We do not listen with the intention to understand rather most of us listen to react and reply. This does not give a proper understanding of the situation and the person.
For understanding, we should practice empathic listening which means getting in the framework of the person speaking. It helps to get a better idea and a clear picture of reality. When we do so the people will be more open to speaking up to you and you will have good interpersonal relationships. When you speak once you have understood the things well the possibility is you will be able to put yourself in a better way and you would be understood well.
HABIT NO 6: Synergize
This habit helps to reach a win-win situation because when synergy is in full swing people have empathetic conversations and start working on unleashing the powers within other people around. Synergy means when tho things are combined or two people meet then the result which is derived is greater than the individual results of two situation or people.
For the synergic effect creativity in the process, openness and transparent communication are needed. When the people involved have the liberty to express themselves, operate with freedom, and put their point forward then the teamwork and unity come in place which ultimately results in greater results.
HABIT NO 7: Sharpen the saw for growth
The 7 habit is something which is needed to have all the above habits. You must have heard that when we learn, enhance our skills then growth is always coming in your way. The problem is people do not want to make efforts to learn and when this happens the growth also becomes stagnant.
There are 4 dimensions in which a person should keep on enhancing which are
Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social for overall growth.
We need to work in all aspects of better working and effectiveness.
I am a total believer of these all habits and I try to inculcate all this in me as much as possible. Whenever I feel like I just take the book and start reading the book.
You can check the book here.
Reading is one habit which we all should develop and for the same check the links to know which books are really great to read.