Stephen R. Covey, the famous management guru came out with a book that speaks to readers in common words, about human behavior and how to tackle problems on the personal and professional front, thereby making them efficient in all aspects of their lives.
The book ignores common pop psychology and dwells into the simple questions of the human condition: integrity, honesty, and fairness, to which everyone responds.
With the help of the SEVEN basic principles, the author tries to answer-how to best approach and handle any problem in life.
The first three habits concentrate on moving from external factors dictating your life to taking charge of your life and being in control.
Habit 1: Be proactive
This chapter focuses o the importance of choice and perceptions to deal with the environment around you. Choice leads to a perception which directs the kind of action you take. You may have varied perceptions about a situation due to the external environment which influences your decision-making; you need to create a shift to focus on how you see the situation objectively and respond instead of reacting.
Tip: Listen to your own language-how many times do you hear reactive phrases such as “if only” and “I cannot” or “I have to”
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
Once you know what the exact goal is, it is easier to steer yourself in that direction. You need to be the leader of your life and lead yourself. Create a personal mission statement for yourself and work towards it.
Tip: Identify quotes, phrases and ideas which you can include in your personal mission statement.
Habit 3: First things first
Prioritizing what is important and what is not will help the mind de-clutter, thereby giving a clear picture of what needs to be done. To create effective execution identify the difference between your final goal and the activities that will lead up to it.
Tip: Organize one week in advance by identifying the goals and the roles required to achieve them. Secondly, move on to the little activities that will help you in receiving your end result.
The next three habits talk about interdependence where one co-operates with environmental forces (people, resources, weather, body)
Habit 4: Think win-win
The chapter looks at the need for co-operation, as a lone soldier cannot accomplish much. Interpersonal relationships, based on the win-win approach, where everyone is a part of the success, are more effective than the win-lose approach, based on fear and punishment.
Tip: Select a particular relationship you want to work on; put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to come up with a solution. Then, sit down and come to a mutually beneficial solution.
Habit 5: Seek to understand first, and then to be understood
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” This quote shows how humans basically communicate with each other. This chapter shows how listening to to another with an open mind results in that person to be open to suggestions as well, thereby creating an environment of mutual respect and care.
Tip: Watch people communicating; cover your years for a few minutes and just watch. Notice the emotions expressed that may not come across with only words.
Habit 6: Synergize
The habit of playing to everyone’s strength is emphasised-the need to see the good and potential in everyone. Positive team-work will help to accomplish goals a person cannot do alone.
Tip: Think about a person who views things differently than you. Consider ways in which those differences might be used to arrive at a third alternative solution.
The final habit is that of continuous improvement.
Habit 7- Sharpen the saw
The blunt saw cannot be of much use; similarly one needs to improve and work on oneself continuously-personally and professionally. Spiritual health is important for the mind to be calm (one can do a social service) and physical health is required (exercise) for the mental health (reading good books), thus looking at the overall continuous growth and health of a person.
Tip: Make a list of activities that can renew your physical, spiritual and mental health. Evaluate weekly, the progress you make.