A tribute to Stephen Covey (1932-2012)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The seven habits move us progressively on a continuum from dependence to independence to interdependence.
Independence or Self-Mastery
The first three habits are about moving from dependence to independence.
Habit 1. Be Proactive: Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow.
Habit 2. Begin with the End in Mind: Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.
Habit 3. Put First Things First: Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.
The next three habits are about interdependence (working with others).
Habit 4. Think Win-Win: Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.
Habit 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.
Habit 6. Synergize: Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.
The last habit relates to self-rejuvenation.
Habit 7. Sharpen the Saw: Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. This habit primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.