7 Habits of Highly Effective People
“If I want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control - myself.”
The above line from the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" talks about how we deal with our situations and how life treats us. Nothing comes easy in life, and we need to fight for what we wish for, be it a success or anything else. This book by Stephen R. Covey is a bestseller as it focuses on becoming a better self for oneself. The book talks about why change is essential, and to change the world, we need to start from within. It talks about seven habits that focus on the principles of honesty, growth, self-respect, integrity, and much more.
These habits are not only based on self-development but also promote influential personality. Here are the 7 habits of highly effective people and how one can teach them in life:
1. Be Proactive
'Being Proactive is being aware of your own thoughts, choices, and actions' - Dr. Paras. We often use the line "My life, My choice," but we always have something or someone to blame when we are in trouble—being Proactive talks about taking responsibility and accountability for our actions. We cannot keep blaming our past situation for everything wrong in our life. Taking responsibility for oneself is the first step to self-improvement. Being proactive means you cannot blame your parents, pasts, situations, trauma, genetics, or universe for the things wrong in your life. Instead, you take responsibility for that and work your way to correct everything you wish to change. Being proactive, you need to focus on the things that you have control over.
Question yourself to test the principle of proactivity by performing the following:
Start replacing reactive conversation with proactive voice.
- Reactive = "He makes me so mad."
- Proactive = "I can control my feelings and choose to respond."
Transform reactive tasks into proactive ones.
Most of us are reactive, which makes us focus more on things we have no control over. We often control our behavior and life choices, and this is where we lag. Proactive people always make sure to work on things that they can handle. They also maintain a positive atmosphere making it difficult for them to give up, and they make themselves functionally accountable for everything that takes place in their lives, good or bad. "I am not a product of my circumstances, and I am a product of my decisions."
2. Begin With The End In Mind
'It's good to drive towards your goal even if it is a long-distance over just driving long with no clarity' -Dr. Paras. Our originality is what makes us unique. We have the choice to decide who we are and who we want to be. Our dreams and values determine what we want to be in life. Sometimes we are so busy in the rat race that we forget to take a moment and think if this is how we want to live our lives. Life is a one-time opportunity, and all of us have dreams and goals of becoming someone. If we do not become that someone or live the life we have always dreamed of, we are not living; we are just running in the rat race.
The second habit of the book talks about clarity. It suggests, everything that we do, we should be clear about the end. We must know what our final destination is or looks like. It will give us a clear roadmap of the path we have chosen from the beginning to end. First, we need to understand ourselves and our values, and then only we can decide what we want from life. Living life by others' choices is not what we dream about, so it's better to shape our future ourselves. But while shaping your future, be smart and be clear about what you wish to do and why you wish to do it. You cannot start something without planning it mentally, and mental creation needs effort, research, time, and dedication. So for every little thing that you plan to do, begin with the end in mind. Also, when you are a grown-up, you need to have that clarity in your mind as to what is to be done and what it takes to reach there.
Not knowing it will completely confuse your brains, create different reactions and emotions, and might be a total nightmare and a huge gap between what we are doing and what we intend to achieve. That is how you train yourself, visualizing at the end output and working towards it in your daily life. "It's straightforward to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover that it's leaning against the wrong wall."
3. Think Win-Win
'The world is a big cake. We all have a pie to bite, don't grab, think for all we all have enough in that pie - win/win breeds success and sense of togetherness, remember we all need each other in this system to survive, grow and evolve' - Dr. Paras. For many of us, the success of others means our failure because there can be only one winner. Life seems like a race where if I eat the more significant meat, others get less, but it should not be like that. Think 'win-win' technique focuses on the same. It says that just because you are not a winner does not mean you are a loser. Win-win approaches talk about the benefits of all humans. It takes life as a collaborative arena where everyone is happy and not competitive.
Think win-win is an excellent attitude for the leaders. It's not about being nice or finding out a mid-way in the conflict. It's about caring for all, thinking systemically, sticking with your values and commitments, and acknowledging others' values and commitments. Instead of focusing on selfish patterns, it focuses on considering your ideas and feelings and listening to others with the same dedication. Think win-win allows you to believe that everyone is equal, and we must treat them with respect. This habit makes you sensitive, empathic, considerate, courageous, and mature.
There is a difference between competition and Inspiration. You compete, and you always look at winning and consistently winning. In this process, you might fall down and not account for your learnings and shortcomings; it's because you can't differentiate between competition and Inspiration.
Simultaneously, Inspiration is all about checking with ourselves. It comes from collaboration, thinking that we all have a different path and journey altogether, and that cannot be compared or competed with anyone else; we are unique human beings. "In the long run, if it isn't a win for both of us, we both lose. That's why win-win is the only real alternative in the interdependent realities."
4. Put First Things First
'Knowing the difference between what you like and what is important for you helps you to focus better' - Dr. Paras. Prioritize your work according to its importance. Time management is one of the most critical skills that we must learn. Sometimes we say yes to every opportunity that comes our way, but we need to understand that it's okay to say no, and focusing on one thing is better than doing multiple things and excelling at none. Therefore, finish the most important work first and prioritize your items accordingly.
When you start being responsible for your actions and work on your habit 2, that is, Begin with the end with your plans. The third step is to start practicing time management and finishing the work that matters the most. The first habit is not only about time management but also about life management. It teaches us about priorities, values, and decision-making. We need to prioritize certain things in life, and at times we need to keep certain things aside for a while. Then, we decide what is most important and what is least is your choice as you are in charge of your life. "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule but to schedule your priorities."
5. Seek First To Understand And Then To Be Understood
'Listening helps to respect each others' perspectives' - Dr. Paras. For years, we have been learning to communicate in different ways, writing, speaking, learning foreign languages, etc., but we often forget that listening is essential to communication skills. A listener is an observer, and an observer can be the best judge. All of us wish to be understood, and while keeping our point, we often forget to listen to others or only listen to specific parts of the conversation as per our interest. It is because we listen to reply to the person and not to understand.
We also have "Otto Scharmer's" four levels that can help you understand the concept of listening actively and deeply. Those are:
- Factual Listening
- Empathic Listening
- Generative Listening
One must continually develop a habit of listening as it makes us smarter and helps us understand the other person better. That not only makes us a reasonable observer but allows us to form a reply accordingly. If we start understanding the problem before talking about the solutions, our life would be easier as most of the time, the answers to our most complicated issues are within the issues. So learn to understand others before you expect them to understand you. "If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: seek first to understand and then to be understood."
'Team excels when every individual thinking is aligned to the team thinking and vice versa' - Dr. Paras. Synergizing means working with a team and bringing out the best outcomes. It allows team building and allows valuing others' opinions. A team is always better than a one-person army as there are multiple brains and more man force, only if they have excellent coordination.
Synergy is about doing things in a team rather than being alone. It says two and two are always more than two; hence there will be more ideas, inspirations, and motivations. Together it will be easier to tackle any situation than it would be alone. Synergy is all about working in a team and being a team player. Synergy allows us to work effectively and innovate more. As a group, it is easier to ditch failed practices and start new ones.
Synergy is also about valuing each other's flaws, differences, and principles and supporting one another physically and emotionally. "Synergy is not the same as compromise. In a compromise, one plus one equals one and a half at best."
7. Sharpen the saw
'Pause - Move - Pause unless we don't pause, we cannot move with greater clarity - Dr. Paras. The last habit of highly effective people is to sharpen the saw. It means giving yourself time to heal and relax, our body is our machine, and we need to take a break from life at times to provide our engine some time to relax it just physically but also mentally and socially. We need to keep sharpening our skills to make ourselves stronger and sharper. We have four dimensions of our nature that is:
- Physical dimension: To improve oneself physically, you need to exercise regularly and eat healthy meals.
- Spiritual dimension: This will help us find peace in life, and for that, one needs to practice meditation and communicate with nature.
- Mental dimension: To expand your mind, you need to read good books, write journals, and enrich your life with knowledge.
- Social dimension: It also includes the emotional size, and to renew ourselves emotionally, we need to understand others and ourselves, communicate with people, and help people.
When we look to renew ourselves in different dimensions, we need to help others and inspire them to be a better version of themselves. We must also encourage them and believe in them. Renewal is the process of growth and giving a positive outlook to your life. That not only improves our creativity and strength but also improves our personality and promotes growth.
"Renewal is the principle and the process that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement."
The book clarifies that many people who have accomplished a severe level of outward achievement end up battling an internal dilemma, shadows, congruency, etc for creating individual viability and developing sound associations with others. How we see the world is altogether founded on our insights. To change a given circumstance, we should change ourselves, and to change ourselves, we should have the option to change our senses.
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