Essay Example on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Unlocking Your True Potential

Paper Type:  Book review
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1490 Words
Date:  2022-12-27


Books are food for brains; every day we intend to learn new things that will shape our perception of life and improve our thought and the way we do things. Through books, we learn people's experiences, ideologies, testimonies, and facts. Selection of the book will vary based on the reason one's expectations. One of the compelling books that I have come across is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. The book is bestselling since it has empowered and inspired readers for more than 25 years now and assumed a significant role in transforming millions of lives across all professional and age groups. The book is composed of the author's belief that the way we view the world is firmly based on our perceptions. Covey shows that people see the world based on their perception. For us to change a particular situation, we first have to change ourselves and to bring change to ourselves. The following study will look at the newest and core issues that Covey tries to convey through his book.

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There are three constants in life: change, choice, and principles. The book opens with a description of how different people have attained varying success outwards, and yet they get themselves grappling with an essential need for evolving personal success and developing a good relationship with others. Covey studied different pieces of literature on 'success' that stretch for the last 200 years. Through his research, he noted some of the paramount changes in the manner that humans have defined success for some times now. In the earlier days, the basis of success rest on the character ethics, which include, temperance, humility, fidelity, integrity, courage, patience, justice, simplicity, industry, modesty and the Golden Rule. However, in the 1920s, people inclined to what has been referred to as "personality ethic" (where success is the function of the public image, personality, behaviors, and attitudes).

Nowadays, individuals seek for quick fixes. The only thing that they ask once they come across a successful person is "How do you do it? Teach me your techniques!" It is necessary to note that these "Shortcuts" that we seek, expecting to save time and efforts and still attain the same result, are nothing but Band-Aids, it only delivers short-term results, rather than addressing the fundamental condition. Covey writes, "The way we see the problem is the problem" (Covey 12) Instead we must permit ourselves to go through the paradigm shift, so that we can transform ourselves fundamentally instead of just the behaviors and attitudes on the surface levels, and that way we will be able to gain the true change. That is why it is important to study and consider the seven habits of highly effective people:

  • Habits I, II, and II are based on the self-mastery involving shifting from dependence to independence.
  • Habits IV, V and VI, are based on nurturing teamwork, communication skills, and collaboration and shifting from independence to interdependence.
  • A habit VII focuses on perpetual improvement and growth and includes the rest of the habits.

Habit I: Be Proactive

We are in charge, so we have the power to choose to live our lives through self-awareness to be proactive and be accountable for the responsibility for our choices (Covey 32). What differentiates us humans from animals is our ability to examine our character, and choose how to view ourselves and our situation and be liable for our actions. Reactive people take a passive stance; they believe that the world is against them.

They perceive that the problems are out there, though the truth of the matter is that their thoughts are the problem. Reactive turns to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, then reactive individuals tend to fee out of control and increasingly victimized. Although proactive people are aware that they are responsible for every action they take, that means that they have 'response-ability,' which Convey refers as the capability to select how you will respond to a particular situation or stimulus. To be proactive, you must focus on the Circle of influence that first lies without the Circle of Concern. While for the reactive individual, concentrate on the matters that in their Circle of Concern but not in their Circle of Influence.

Habit III Begin with the end in mind

Visualize on the goal you want to archive in the future for effective development of work plan towards the desired goal. Comprehend how people come up with the decision in life. The desired goals can be achieved based on the principle that defines your objective and how constant you review your mission statement (Covey 40). If habit 1 makes you get transformed into a proactive, habit 2 will show you that you are the programmer! Before acting, we need to first act in our minds. The principle is not about an action only, but it also involves thinking and deciding on which path you want to take, and what are the possible consequences of the action.

Habit IV: Put first things first

Covey states, "The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves (Covey 71)" It is important to have the discipline to prioritize things in our daily activities based on what is most urgent to those that are less important. This habit is all about pursuing after the goals set in Habit 1 and executing them base on our priorities. We need to work based on our values instead of our impulse or desires at any given time. We need to prioritize daily matters in the following order:

  • Quadrant I. Urgent and important (Do) - emergencies and important deadlines
  • Quadrant II. Important but less urgent (Plan) - long-standing development
  • Quadrant III. Urgent but not vital (Delegate) - disruptions with deadlines
  • Quadrant IV. Not important and not urgent (Eliminate) - less serious issues

Habit IV: Think win-win

For the sake of interdependent relationships, we need to commit to creating a win-win situation that satisfies and benefits both parties (Covey104). Win-win is all about character-based code for collaboration and human interaction. Covey gives six models of human interaction

  • 1. Win-Win- Both people, win
  • 2. Win-Lose- If I win, you lose
  • 3. Lose-Win- 'I lose; you win.'
  • 4. Lose-Lose- Two parties lose
  • 5. Win: Either of the party gets what they wanted
  • 6. Win-Win or No Deal: If there is no agreement for mutual benefit, then there is no deal.

Habit V: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Apply empathetic listening to openly to familiarize with one's topic, which obliges them to interchange the listening and consider an open mind to become subjective by you, this lead to an atmosphere of compassionate as well as the positive problem-solving. We tend to prescribe to the solution to a problem that we have not diagnosed; we ignore to dig deeper into the problem. This makes use to make the problem even worst (Covey 114). Covey states "Seeking to understand consideration; seeking to be understood takes courage" (Covey 125) First we need to first understand before being understood, and that way, we first have to listen to people so that we can comprehend with them. Effective listening involves

  • Evaluate: Agree or disagree with what is said
  • Probe: Inquire more details based on self-perception
  • Advice: Counsel as per your own experience.
  • Interpret: Figure our individual's behaviors and motives.

Habit VI: Synergize

"Without doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness" (Covey 129). We need to uncover new options through creativity and openness. Through Synergy, we develop other options and create rousing possibilities. The significance of synergy appreciates the difference, the emotional, psychological and mental difference among people (Covey 130).

Habit VII Sharp the Saw

Renew and balance your resources, health, and energy to develop a long-term, sustainable and effective lifestyle. Covey relates the "Upward Spiral" model with sharpening the saw section. In our integrity, together with the essence and meaningful progress, the spiral will lead to the change, growth and continuous development (Covey142). Habit 7 characterized all the habits and made each one of them possible by preserving and promoting your greatest asset. The four dimensions that explain our nature include Spiritual, Physical, Mental, and Social Dimensions.

To wind up, learning is a perpetual activity that goes around humans' life, and we cannot stop learning as long as we are living. I have gained a lot of wisdom from the work of Covey, the principal that I have grasped in his book are applicable in every day's activity. I am looking forward to incorporating the principles into my goals and ensure that they are realistic and achievable. I admit that there are some challenges that I have faced when matching towards my goals, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has brought hopes to me and understood what I need to change and how I can plan my schedule to ensure that I do not overlook some essential elements.

Work Cited

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. Simon and Schuster, 2004.

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