Offering an easy-to-implement framework for personal and professional success, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a personal development classic. Named as the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century, readers describe Stephen Covey’s book as ‘life-changing’, along with ‘influential and thought-provoking.’ If you’re looking to find a simple way to improve your life personally and professionally, read the summary of Covey’s seven habits.
Habit #1 – Be Proactive
In keeping with the slogan, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ Covey describes proactive people as those who are a product of their decisions, rather than a product of their circumstances. Moving their attention away from things out of their control (like a tough market, frustrating clients, or lack of product), proactive people focus on what they can control (like marketing, lead generation, and networking).
Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind
Covey’s Habit #2 suggests that by keeping the literal end of life in mind (what we hope to be remembered for), we’re more likely to ensure our daily actions align with who we ultimately hope to become. Those with a clear end in mind, like wanting to be a dedicated spouse or a successful business person, will be more likely to align their daily actions with their ultimate destination.
Habit #3 – Put First Things First
Putting first things first includes prioritizing what matters most to you. If your priorities include spending time with your family, building an incredible business, or maintaining good health and fitness, ensure you prioritize your time and actions accordingly. Remember, it’s ok to say no, and that overextending yourself may detract from your highest priorities. Putting first things first means taking external steps that match up with your internal convictions.
Habit #4 – Think Win-Win
Thinking win-win is a lesson in abundance. Abundance suggests that there’s enough (love, food, listings, business) for everyone. In other words, if someone succeeds, it doesn’t mean someone else must fail. For you to win, another person does not have to lose. Covey suggests operating with a win-win mindset help in developing humility and recognizing the full humanity in others.
Habit #5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
To make Habit #5 resonate, Covey reminds us that, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Crafting a reply while another person is still talking leaves us making premature (and often incorrect) conclusions about the point another person is trying to make. Habit #5 provides numerous benefits, including more simplistic solutions to interpersonal problems while increasing your circle of influence.
Habit #6 – Synergy
Put simply, Habit #6 means, “two heads are better than one.” With creative cooperation, finding synergy while working with others moves away from my way or your way, instead, finding a new way forward. With the power to produce much more significant results, Habit #6 reveals that one plus one has the potential to be much greater than two.
Habit #7 – Sharpen the Saw
Highlighting the importance of continuous improvement, Covey’s seventh habit encourages a balanced renewal program. With a focus on one’s physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual growth, Covey suggests an increased capacity to handle life’s challenges.