7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey

1.       Be Proactive

There are things happening around us every day, and there are 2 ways to deal with any kind of situation; it is either being reactive or proactive. Most of the time, people choose to be reactive toward something. Like for example, when we stuck in a traffic jam after work, if we are reactive people we would be pissed off. Feeling so angry at the situation, start blaming the government for not managing the traffic well, blaming work for making you come home at that hour, or blaming other cars for blocking your way. You will feel stressed out by the traffic jam that happens almost every day.

Meanwhile, as a proactive people, we could have more control over our own reaction towards the traffic jam. Rather than wasting our energy on hating the traffic that would continue to happen anyway, we could choose different approach like maybe we can choose to take the train home instead of driving home, listening to a podcast while waiting or take the bus so you could sleep in a traffic jam.

Reactive people often complain about that is out of their control. Outside factors affect their performance and their mood. On the contrary, Proactive people realize that their decision affecting their life and they don’t complain about the things they cannot control. Furthermore, they take action on the things that they can control, such as their responses to a situation, other people’s opinion about them, or their failures. They take responsibility for their own action, and when they face failure instead of complaining they will learn something from their mistakes.

2.       Begin With The End In Mind

Where do you want to go in life? What is your purpose? If you don’t know where you wanted to go in life, then you will live your life aimlessly. Just trying to get by. You need to create a map of your life, a vision of what you wanted your life would be in 5, 10, 20 years from now. The writer advises creating a personal mission statement where you write down your life purpose, how to get there, and where you want to end up in life.

If you have no idea what you should write in your personal mission statement, the writer suggests readers to imagine attending a funeral which is the funeral of yourself. Imagine what would you said to yourself, what kind of person you want people to remember you as, how would your spouse and children think of you. Find your purpose in life that has to do with your mission. Not necessarily things like, having a lot of money, be rich and famous. More like how can you contribute to the world or make a difference in your life. When you have a purpose in life, you don’t just live aimlessly. Decide your vision and value, write down a list of things you can do that is aligned with your life purpose. Create an action plan based on your personal mission statement that will lead you to the result you desire.

3.       Put First Thing First, Principal Of Personal Management

What are the most important things in our life? Most of us always get distracted by trivial things like constantly checking social media, waking up late, or eating unhealthy food. Evaluate your habit, the way you do things daily. The number one problem in personal management is the inability to prioritize. The ability to really focus on what really matters in life.

The writer talks about 4 quadrants in time management;

1.       Quadrant I

The writer called quadrant I “Crises” or “problems”. It is filled with both urgent and important that require immediate attention. An urgent matter like a phone call you have to take or endless work email you check all the time.

2.       Quadrant II

This where things are “Urgent, but not important”. Quadrant II include exercise, creating a statement mission, eating healthy, building friendship and relationship with family and friends.

3.       Quadrant III

Quadrant III is about “urgent and not important” things. These are things we can delegate to other people so we can work more effectively. Delegation such as home cores to each family member, instead of doing all by yourself.  

4.       Quadrant IV

Lastly, quadrant IV are things that are “not urgent and not important”. You will probably guess, checking social media for endless scrolling, watching TV shows, playing games and other unimportant things that have no value and waste your precious time.  

Habit 3 also talks about how people usually try to manage their activities through a detailed daily schedule. The writer suggests that rather than making a daily to-do list, it is better for you to create a weekly goals list. Because when you follow a daily schedule and something comes up, it is easily ruining the entire schedule and you will find yourself not as eager on following your list of goals anymore. Whereas, with a weekly schedule, it can be more flexible. When an unexpected thing comes up, you can just move the assignment to another day, as long as your weekly goals are met.

In terms of delegation task, the writer has a great insight called stewards delegation. It is focusing on results instead of a method. stewards delegation involves a clear, up-front mutual understanding and commitment regarding expectation in these 5 area:

·       Desired result: create a clear visualization of what kind of result you desired. Focus on the result, not the method. Spend time patiently with the person you delegate it to. Describe what kind of result you are expecting from the person.

·       Guidelines: identifying the parameters within which the individual should operate. Let them take the necessary initiative.

·       Resources: identify necessary resources the person can count on to accomplished the desired result.

·       Accountability: set a standard of performance to evaluate their performance and set the time to report the result. 

·       Consequences: specify what will happen, whether it is good or bad as a result of the evaluation. For example, rewards in a form of promotion or salary raise.

4.       Think Win-Win

In order to get something, you want nobody has to lose. Think win-win is essentially catering to everyone’s needs without backstabbing anyone. In a work environment where employees constantly compete with each other to win. Instead of working together in harmony, employees are trying to sabotage each other to seek promotion. Think win-win is essentially seek solutions that accommodate mutual benefit from all parties involved.  

There are 6 paradigms of human interaction: Win-win, Win -lose, Lose-win, Lose-lose, and No deal. The best option according to the writer is a win-win or no deal. The best option is either win-win or no deal. When you cannot reach a mutual agreement where both parties are equally happy with the result, then it is better to have no deal at all.

5.       Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

We are all wanted to be heard, to be understood by other people. However, before doing so we should try to understand other people first. Everyone has a different way of thinking, different background, and different paradigm. The main skill everyone should master is listening. Although it seems easy, the truth is how far we are willing to listen carefully to deeply understand some else’s perspective? Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

“I know what you feel, I myself went through the same”, when a person talks to us, instead of listening intently, we think to ourselves how to argue with them when it comes to our turn to talk. Empathic listening is applicable to both personal lives and at work. When you truly seek to understand others, you increasing emotional growth in your relationship with them.

6.       Synergy

The writer defines synergy as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the most empowering, the most unifying, and the most exciting part”.

I think synergy is work together with other people in harmony despite the different paradigm each of the individuals have to create something magical. Being open to new possibilities of new things or new opportunities. In business ventures, synergy can initiate creative ideas from employees. Related to habit number 2, synergy can be in a form of a company’s personal mission where every employee participates in giving ideas and values that should be applied in the company’s working environment.  Synergy requires freedom to express genuine ideas, communication, openness, cooperation, and creativity.

7.       Sharpen The Saw

The greatest investment you will ever make is to invest in yourself. Sharpen the saw is about preserving and improving your greatest asset consist of 4 dimensions; physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional. Sharpen the saw is basically is taking time regularly to take care of yourself so that you are able to perform habit 1 to habit 6 effectively. Maintaining physical by spending time to exercise your body and eating right, so that you are able to think clearly. Balancing spirituality through doing daily meditation.  Sharpening mental by reading and writing. Writing a journal of your thought, insight, and emotion help keeping you on the right track of your life purpose. Strengthen your social and emotional through bonding and building relationship with friends and family will make your life meaningful.  7 Habits Of highly effective people provide so many useful insights for leadership, not only leading other people but also leading ourselves in the right direction. A habit that supporting us to find the purpose our This book share so many amazing insights into leadership. Not only be a leader to other people but also leading ourselves to a successful life by creating effective habits. Habit 1 to habit 3 encourages us to be an independent individual who can create value and strong character. While habit 4 to habit 7 teaches us to have an interdependent relationship with other people. Personal worth should come from within ourselves then we use it to help to build other people and work in harmonious synergy to have an even greater life.  

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