The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by
Stephen Covey must be one of my favorite books on habits, next to the Power of Habit by Charles
Duhigg. We need strong habits in our lives in order to achieve greatness. Aristotle once
said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
The first three habits are all about going from being dependant to being self-reliant,
just like I talked about in the 50th Law and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay. One of the greatest
virtues a Master must develop is Independence – Working With Yourself
1st – Be Proactive You focus on positive results. You focus on
solutions, instead of problems. Where unsuccessful people fingerpoint, take no responsibility
for their actions and try to always shift the blame on others. You understand things
don’t always go as planned, but it’s how we react to them that defines our character.
You hold yourself accountable, even if the problem at hand might not be your fault. This
way you can take a stoic objective look at what happened, figure it out and keep it from
happening again. If you’re stressed by something that is out
of your control like bad wheather, you save your energy by not complaining and keeping
a calm, peaceful mind about it. If you can actively do something about it,
like take control of your nutrition and fitness, focusing on staying healthy through workouts,
sleep and meditation, then be proactive and go for it.
2nd – Begin with the End in Mind If you have no goals, you can’t strive for
them. So, if we decide to lose some weight at the
gym for example, we know we want to burn a lot of calories until we’re about 10 pounds
lighter and we keep track of it with a workout plan leading all the way up to achieving that
goal. You ever notice how the people with the least
ambition seem to have no goals in life? That’s not a coincidence, as you need to plan all
the way to the end, as Robert Greene would state.
3 – Put First Things First You prioritize what’s important and urgent
and you don’t work for work’s sake or waste time and energy on unimportant tasks as a
form of procrastination. The next step is always the most important one. The unsuccessful
avoid the work that they should’ve gotten done weeks ago out of fear of rejection or
confrontation, but no matter how unpleasant the task is, if it’s essential to getting
ahead, you push through it. Also, by not forgetting what’s important to us, like family, friends
and health, we don’t get too caught up in work. You put yourself first, because it improves
everything you focus on after. Interdependence is just as important as independence
– Working With Others 4 – Think Win-Win
You understand that the best deals in business and in overall life benefit all parties involved.
Not only do you get value out of the equation, but you’re giving value back. Gary Vaynerchuk,
a living legend, says “Whoever gives value first, wins.” You’re not focusing on what
you can get or take. You focus on what you can give and how you can be helpful to others.
The rich are generous, not because they have a lot of money, but they have a lot of money,
because they are generous. I think that’s a pretty good line right there.
5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood You emphasize with other people and you understand
that you might not always be right, so you keep an open mind and try to see the other
person’s perspective. By understanding where they’re coming from and what concerns they
might have you can communicate with that person more effectively and thus both grow through
a constructive argument. When you see something out of the ordinary,
you’re not quick to judge and put it in a box. Instead you embrace new ideas and learn
throughout the process. 6 – Synergize
You seek to share resources and work together, because you know you will be stronger, faster
and smarter, when you help eachother out through collaborative teamwork. If we take a look
at soccer, we see that every player has a function and their goal is to get the ball
into the net and they only way they can achieve that is by synergizing. By teamwork.
So far we’ve seen that these 3 habits establish your self-reliance and these 3 habits develop
your social dynamics. The 7th Law is more general and influences every part of your
life. Sharpen the Saw is about Continuous Improvements.
Continuous Improvements 7- Sharpen the Saw
Here, the sharpness of the saw symbolizes how effective, how good you really are and
the fact of the matter is that we need to work on ourselves until the day we die. The
saw is never sharp enough. I remember one of my teachers asking me “Isn’t that sad?
That you never reach a stop sign?” and after thinking about her question many times now
for years, I can say, I stand by the response I gave her. “No,” I said “there’s something
beautiful about that. We don’t get to see the stop sign, because it is not until our
last breath, that we stop pursuing a better self.”
In other words, what happens to a flower when it stops growing? It dies. I think we are
very similar in that regard. The meaning of life for me, and I’m not alone
in this, is fulfilling my true potential. I want to be the greatest man I can be and
I want to encourage others on their path to becoming their best self. This is what Stephen
Covey calls the 8th Habit. Finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs.
As always thanks for watching & subscribe for my upcoming review on the 8th Habit of
Highly Successful People by Steven Covey. Talk to you soon.