If you’ve kept a copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done book, I’m quite sure sitting next to it would be Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Ask any knowledge worker you know about their top books, and they tell you easily 7 Habits is one of them.
The 7 Habits mean different things to different people, depending on their perspective in life. A businessman would look at it as principles to live by in running his business. A farmer would look at it probably in the same fashion, principles to live by, but through a different lens.
1. Be Proactive
Like what Stephen said in the book, you cannot control circumstances around your life but you can always control how you react to them. Bad things happen to good people, as they always say.
An event could easily turn your world upside down. A devastating calamity could befall you. You don’t have the power to control things outside of yourself. But you have the total control over your volition.
2. Begin With The End In Mind
What’s your mission in life? What do you think is the reason why you are called into this world. You can approach this question in a metaphysical way, but your answer doesn’t need to be too deep to fathom.
If you are a CEO of a company, you just know what things to accomplish to fulfill your purpose. If you are a parent to a child, you just know what your mission is – to help that child grow to become a good person.
3. Put First Things First
Knowing the mission is just a small step. In fact, the steps you’d take to accomplish that mission are not as important as the mission itself. How often do you find yourself dwelling in success of achieving a very important step in your life, only to realize you’re drifting away from your original goals?
Things change. Our goals change throughout our life. Our mission should not.
4. Think Win/Win
There is one truth in life that you must accept, you cannot always win. But you can always make any circumstance favorable, if not to you, to the other person.
Win your relationship with your wife, with your colleagues, with your subordinates. You might have to disagree with another person, but you have the chance to turn that disagreement into a favorable situation.
5. Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
In every situation regardless of circumstances, we look at everything through our own lens. We are born, or sculpted to have, our own sets of belief by which we gauge our world.
We look at every interactions through our own perspective. We always seek to be understood, then we understand. Learn to look at things from the eyes of the other person. See things with the sight other than your own. Then you’ll understand.
No man is an island, so the adage tells us. And this is true. Building relationships is an imperative in this life.
You can only become a better person only if you become a better partner first, or a better worker first, or a better brother or sister first.
7. Sharpen The Saw
Becoming a good person is not an end in itself. It’s a continuous process. It’s one thing that requires us to continually strive to reach out to other people, to our partner, to our co-worker.
Becoming a good person is an endeavour that calls for incessant practice.
Earlier this week, the author of 7 Habits died. This post is my little tribute to the man. You owe it to yourself to read the 7 Habits book.