Motivational Book – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Motivational Book – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


Motivational Book – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a business and self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. It has sold more than 25 million copies in 38 languages worldwide, and the audio version has sold 15 million copies, and remains one of the best selling nonfiction business books.[1][2] Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north" principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.[3] In August 2011, Time listedSeven Habits as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books".[4]

U.S. President Bill Clinton read the book and invited Covey to Camp David to counsel him on how to integrate the book into his presidency.[5]

The 7 Habits[edit source | editbeta]

The book first introduces the concept of Paradigm Shift and prepares the reader for a change in mindset. It helps the reader understand that there exists a different perspective, a viewpoint that may be different from his or her own and asserts that two people can see the same thing and yet differ with each other. Once the reader is prepared for this, it introduces the seven habits, in a proper order.

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits,[6] which are represented by the following imperatives:

Independence[edit source | editbeta]

The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive

Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

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  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation; rule three is the physical creation.

Interdependence[edit source | editbeta]

The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others):

  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had got his way.

  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.

  • Habit 6: Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.

Continuous Improvement[edit source | editbeta]

The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.
Covey explains the “Upward Spiral" model in the sharpening the saw section. Through our conscience, along with meaningful and consistent progress, the spiral will result in growth, change, and constant improvement. In essence, one is always attempting to integrate and master the principles outlined in The 7 Habits at progressively higher levels at each iteration. Subsequent development on any habit will render a different experience and you will learn the principles with a deeper understanding. The Upward Spiral model consists of three parts: learn, commit, do. According to Covey, one must be increasingly educating the conscience in order to grow and develop on the upward spiral. The idea of renewal by education will propel one along the path of personal freedom, security, wisdom, and power.[7]

Sean Covey (Stephen’s son) has written a version of the book for teens, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. This version simplifies the 7 Habits for younger readers so they can better understand them. In September 2006, Sean Covey also published The 6 Most Important Decisions You Will Ever Make: A Guide for Teens. This guide highlights key times in the life of a teen and gives advice on how to deal with them.

Stephen Covey’s eldest son, Stephen M. R. Covey, has written a book titled The Speed of Trust.

Abundance mentality[edit source | editbeta]

Covey coined the idea of abundance mentality or abundance mindset, a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. He contrasts it with the scarcity mindset (i.e., destructive and unnecessary competition), which is founded on the idea that, if someone else wins or is successful in a situation, that means you lose; not considering the possibility of all parties winning (in some way or another) in a given situation (see zero-sum game). Individuals with an abundance mentality reject the notion of zero-sum games and are able to celebrate the success of others rather than feel threatened by it.[8]

Since this book’s publishing, a number of books appearing in the business press have discussed the idea.[9] Covey contends that the abundance mentality arises from having a highself-worth and security (see Habits 1, 2, and 3), and leads to the sharing of profits, recognition and responsibility.[10] Organizations may also apply an abundance mentality when doing business.[11]