The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was written by Stephen Covey which became a well-designed plan for personal development. The seven habits are an amazing group of inspiring standards for all those who seek to live a happy, complete, and meaningful life and are very much relevant in the humanist world of today. The values espoused by Covey are filled with humanity and integrity and have been strongly contrasted with the theoretical and methodical ideologies that formed the basis of management thought in the earlier days.
The first habit pertains to being proactive which is described as the ability in controlling one’s circumstances instead of the circumstances controlling a person. This entails the development of traits such as choice and self-determination as also the strength to respond positively to circumstances and stimuli. The second habit requires us to begin with the end in mind. According to Covey, this is the quality of personal leadership, which implies leading oneself towards his or her goals. One should develop the habit of focusing on actions that build a strong basis to avoid distraction, which further increases productivity and leads to success. The third habit pertains to putting first things first so that one gets into the habit of personal management. In effect, the third habit relates to a physical creation which is a consequence of mental creation as related to the second habit.
Covey’s fourth habit is about thinking win-win, which is essentially about maintaining interpersonal relationships that aim at managing and influencing people since all achievements in life depend on how one can influence other people. Covey believes that a win-win situation exists for all since there is plenty of everything in the world for everyone. Success then becomes a mutually supportive approach instead of leading to confrontation amongst people. The fifth habit is about first seeking to understand and then to be understood which in effect become a very important maxim of the modern world. This habit is very powerful since it entails the process of first diagnosing and then prescribing. It is very easy and effective and is imperative in maintaining and developing an affirmative relationship in all fields of life.
The sixth habit is to synergize, which requires us to adopt the habit of creative cooperation. It pertains to the principle that the whole is always larger than the aggregate of its different elements. This further creates the challenge for a person to locate and identify the positive traits and value in the contribution of other people. The seventh habit is about sharpening the saw which is about self-renewal and improving one’s abilities through learning and experience. This habit in effect surrounds all the other habits in making them occur and grow. Covey has interpreted the self by dividing it into four parts; physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional/social, all of which require developing and feeding.
The seven habits of Steven Covey are in essence a simple group of regulations to be followed in life which is all related to each other and need to be synergized. Each of the seven habits is very powerful and worth following and adopting for everybody. Covey’s work is indeed powerful and there are several people who have been able to change their lives for the better after having heard him (Stephen R. Covey, 2004).
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 2004, Free Press.