Briefly, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Dr. Stephen Covey, are a framework to help plan your life. The Seven Habits, in conjunction with other concepts help provide a holistic way of looking at your life, values, roles, goals and relationships.
The Seven Habits are:
- Be Proactive
- Begin With the End in Mind.
- First Things First
- Think Win/Win
- Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
These habits provide us a process to move ourselves along the Maturity Continuum, starting with Dependence, moving to Independence, and finally, Interdependence.
Let’s take a short look at this. Starting with Habit 1, we have proactivity. Proactive is the state of mind that says, “I am responsible for my situation, or my response to it
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. Where do you want to go? Not just today, but in the long haul.
Habit 3: First Things First. These are planning and execution. We want to expand, grow, and generally have fun.
Habit 4: Think Win/Win. I will not win at your expense. BUT … I will also not lose to satisfy you. I will not be hard-nosed, nor will I be a martyr!
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, THEN to be Understood. This order is not accidental. By taking the proactive stance of listening first, we allow the other party to express themselves, without them feeling they are competing with us for expression. Once they feel they are understood, then we have all the time in the world to express ourselves. They are ready to truly listen, as we truly listened to them. Now we have a real foundation for problem solving.
Habit 6: Synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, or 1+1 is greater than 2. We utilize habits 4 and 5 to find a better answer to our situation, thus allowing both of us to get all we wanted and then some!
And finally, Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. The habit of renewal and balance. Here is where we keep ourselves “sharp”. No just technically, but mentally, physically, and spiritually.