With all the responsibilities and demands of time, travel, work and families placed upon us
in today’s competitive world, Dr. Stephen Covey’s book provides an empowering philosophy for life that is also the best guarantee of becoming the complete, fulfilling person one wishes. People credit these seven habits with changing their lives, with getting on track personally and professionally.
Interpretation of key words
- Paradigm shift – a paradigm is the way you perceive , understand and interpret the surrounding world, a mental map. If you want significant changes first you must change your paradigm. A paradigm shift is when someone “sees” the composite picture in another way.
- Habit – effective habits are internalized principles and patterns of behaviour
- Effectiveness – Production / Production Capability Balance
Effectiveness is a balance of two things, Production (the desired results produced), Production capability (maintaining, preserving and enhancing the resources that produce the desired results).
- Circle of concern/ circle of influence
1. Be proactive
It means more than taking the initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. Proactive people use the margin of freedom to make choices that best apply to their values. Their freedom to choose expands as they wisely use the space between stimulus and response.
– ” Proactive people” never blame or credit their situations, environment or other people for their behaviour.
– They take responsibility for their own life and what happens to them
– They don’t let the “social weather” affect them
Identify a specific situation where you wish, you could have used your ability to respond differently.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Begin today with an image/picture of the end of your life as your frame of reference or the criteria that you measure everything else in your life. By keeping this in mind you ensure that each day of your life contributes in a meaningful way to the vision you have of your life as a whole.
– Means commencing each day, action or project with the strong image of end result in mind.
– Holding a clear idea as to where we want to go and understand the current position to keep moving in the right direction.
What would you like the following groups to say about you and your life at your funeral?
|Area of activity||Your character||Your contribution||Your achievement|
3. Put first things first
First things are those things that you find most worth doing. They move you in the right direction; they help you achieve your mission.
Prevention, PC activities
– Proper time management is important for personal “effectiveness”
– This requires discipline which comes from within
Write down an activity if done well, would have a significant impact on your life
Fit the activities to the time management grid
Did you notice that for most of the time, these activities fall in quadrant 2 (The one thing that if done well will have a significant impact on your life – important but not urgent)
4. Think win/win
Win win is a complete philosophy of human relations. It means a constant search for mutual benefits, learning and influence in every interaction it sees life as co-operation and not competition.
5. Seek first to understand and then to be understood
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When we Synergize we look at problems understand needs and work to create synergy to meet those needs.
– Harnessing and unifying the greatest power that people possess
– Can generate creative co-operation through synergy
– Attempt to pool all those different views into one united effort
Make a list of people who irritate you, do they represent different views that could lead to synergy if you had greater intrinsic security and valued the difference.
7. Sharpen the saw
By renewing the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental and social/ emotional, you can work more quickly and effortlessly. To do this, you must be proactive. This is quadrant 2 (important, not urgent) activity that must be acted on. Its at the center of our circle of influence, so we must do it for ourselves.
– Taking that crucial time out for a personal maintenance program
– Importance of expanding our mind with new ideas and information (read widely)
Commit to write down specific “sharpen the saw” activities in all four dimensions every week, to do them, and to evaluate your performance and results.
“It is an absolute guarantee that if you will understand these habits, teach them to other people well and then apply and live them until they become a part of your nature, it will change your life in a very fundamental way for good”
– Dr. Stephen Covey