11.07.2019 in Book Review

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Essay

Every person, whether a student, parent, leader, or businessman, wishes to lead a life of success and happiness in the near future. Furthermore, to achieve such a dream, one needs to be more effective in whatever they do in life. Nevertheless, by the end of the day, one will reap the better fruits of life through perseverance. It is because of these reasons that people like Stephen Covey decided to educate others by writing a book known as “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” meant to motivate and inspire individuals on how to develop their personal lives and achieve the best in the future. To prove these claims of effectiveness, one needs to observe individuals who have succeeded in life, whether through academics, leadership, or business, and the principles they have put in place for their success. If these people are asked about their success, the answer will be obvious.

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Some of these habits, such as the Proactive principle, focus on individuals considering their personal lives to be very important. By this, what is meant is that every person who wants to succeed now and in the future must take responsibility for their own lives rather than blaming circumstances, conditions, or conditioning, especially when it comes to their behaviors. Nevertheless, that is why the kind of behavior one has in life determines the decisions they are likely to make when faced with situations and circumstances. As Covey puts it in his book, “Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feelings” (Covey, 2004), of which I tend to agree with his writings.


If you allow consequences and conditions to take control of your life, it means that you have allowed yourself to become reactive to nature. For instance, if in a given day, the weather seems to be better of, then that means those people who are reactive will feel better of during that day because of the good climate conditions. Nevertheless, such kinds of people are whom we refer to as reactive people. This kind of people’s lives is normally surrounded by nature and its happenings. This can be proved whereby, for example, if they develop the mentality of not succeeding in whatever plan they have that will make them benefit in life, then it means that they will not take any effort to accomplish that dream .

When we compare these reactive people with proactive people, we note that proactive people are very different from them. Proactive people are normally controlled by values that are carefully selected with a lot of keenness, thought, and internalization. There influence revolves around the external factors. The way that person react to nature, will be based on those values that go hand in hand with the choice or response they make. They never care about what life holds for them because, in whatever circumstance they face, they will always have an alternative: either make a choice or respond.

With such a mentality, proactive people create a positive impact in life, especially when faced with challenges in life’s experience. These people cannot be compared with those who are not ready to cope with such kinds of challenges. However, accepting responsibilities for tackling issues concerning nature, especially the challenges that tend to follow us, means we have adhered to this proactive habit since it is the pillar of the other habits of highly effective people.

The second habit that should be looked upon is beginning with the end in mind. By this, what is meant is that a person should visualize their life afterward or at the end, having a clear knowledge of their destination. Having a clear knowledge where life is taking you is a clear path of having a clear mind of where your life is at present and what guidance to take afterwards. With this kind of image in mind, as Covey puts it, “Each part of your life- today’s behavior, tomorrow’s behavior, next week’s behavior, next months behavior- can be examined in the context of the whole…”By saying the “whole”, it means a life in the coming days and the present . With such focus and a dream of the future rather than today, defining the vision of the future motivates you to work towards it in order to accomplish the set goals or achievements.

With such a clear knowledge about habit two and taking it seriously, there is a need to realign your efforts to successfully achieve what lies ahead. This can be done by putting “first things first,” which is the third habit. This kind of habit involves personal management. As Goethe puts it, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” This is true because each person has the responsibility for their life. One makes decisions on the important things that matter to them and that have benefits as compared to those things that don’t make any kind of meaning to life. Asking yourself questions and internalizing them before making decisions is a very important aspect of life. With the resolution in mind already, one is able to manage oneself effectively, and this depends on the way one makes decisions. And that is why Covey puts in his writings, “Manage from the left; lead from the right.

With personal management in place, having interpersonal leadership is also a very important aspect of life. This normally happens if “Think Win-Win” habit is adhered to. This is because in every life, there has to be two sides to negotiating. These two sides have to come up with a solution in case there is a crisis, and that solution has to benefit both sides for them to feel better, thus committing themselves to the action plan. This is what we call a win-win agreement whereby as Covey puts it, “Win-win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and mutually satisfying”. This is a show of leadership in relation to others whereby, through negotiations, before one admits to have been won, it means factors such as self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independence might have taken place, thus leading to a win-win situation.

For one to come up with those mutual benefits in life, one has to have enough courage within themselves, especially when relating to others who are considered to be in a win-lose situation. It is because of such situations that this habit falls in the brackets of interpersonal leadership because effective interpersonal leadership comprises of factors such as vision, the proactive initiative, security, guidance, wisdom and power which comes from within and it has to be applicable with your own centered principles as a leader.

Having a win-win situation shows a sign of success when interacting with others, thus embracing the character, and then relationships, which lead to the agreement. This kind of habit then goes hand in hand with the fifth habit, which is “Seek first to understand, then be understood,” dealing with the act of communication. This normally applies in an interpersonal relationship whereby before you come to a conclusion about something, one needs to seek first to understand the information then after which they will also need to be understood after understanding that information. With this principle in mind, then it means that this is the key to the effective interpersonal communication because this is a very important skill in life.

When we say, “Seek first to understand,” we mean this is necessary and very important. Stephen Covey writes by saying, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak,” which has been proven and can be witnessed in most conversations in our daily lives. These are the people who pretend that they have already understood whatever message you were intending to pass, and it is a waste of time for you to explain further to them. Such kinds of people never seek to understand the message, and that is why there are always disagreements everywhere when it comes to opinions. That is why empathic listening is encouraged. By saying empathic listening, what Stephen Covey meant is the ability to listen with the intention of understanding carefully. It should not be mistaken for an agreement with someone; rather, it should be considered as fully, deeply understanding the person in the picture both emotionally and intellectually. This is the act of listening to the deep communication of another human soul.

With more emphasis on empathic listening, one is able to get accurate information to work with instead of coming up with one’s own imaginations to impose on another person, pretending to have understood what the person in the picture was trying to explain in terms of their feelings, motives, and interpretation.

The sixth habit should be “synergize,” which is known to be creative cooperation. It involves a combination of all the other habits that have been mentioned above which are, proactive, begin with the end in the mind, put first things first, think win-win and seek first to understand and then be understood. It revolves around the motive of win-win and the emphatic communication skills. It is also the principle of the centered leadership and parenting.

Nevertheless, this poses a question about what the real synergy is all about. In the seven habits of effective people, it is described as something considered to be full or whole and is known to be better off as compared to that part of that something. So when we compare this with relationships, we mean that a relationship in which the parts comprise each other is a part in and of itself. When it comes to creativity, this part is considered to be very dangerous because of the repercussions that may befall it in terms of the challenges or the direction it is going to take.

Synergy is known to evolve everywhere in nature, whether in school, trees, or even plants. For instance, the example given in the book states that if two plants are planted close to each other and given time to grow, the end result is that the plants will commingle, thus improving the quality of the soil. This leads to the plant growing better off as compared to those separated plants. The same thing happens with furniture and many more, thus fulfilling the saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The only challenge this kind of habit seems to face is how the principle of creative cooperation can be applied, of which its lessons come from nature itself, especially when interacting with others. This kind of interaction normally starts within the family, which should be the basis of practicing it before involving ourselves with the outside world.

When it comes to communication that involves synergy, one may take it to be a way of opening one’s mind, heart, and expression when new things come one’s way, and of which one has to choose from. This habit shouldn’t be compared with that of habit 2, which is “to Begin with the End in Mind,” because habit 6, which is synergy, is known to be the act of fulfilling, while habit 2 is known to focus on the end as you work towards it rather than the present.

Engaging in synergy communication does not offer you what is happening and the end solution; rather, it involves believing that everything will be okay as compared to what had happened before. This normally happens when one has a sense of joy, security, and adventure in all the events that tend to occur now and what is hoped for. This kind of synergy also happens in classrooms where teachers and students have no knowledge about what is going to happen. nteraction then begins where students listen and learn from the teacher. It opens a forum of openness where students are allowed to interact with the teachers by asking questions. This leads to the brainstorming session where evaluation is needed, and creativity, imagination, and intellectual networking are among the factors that are part of it. Later, the students get transformed. Another place where synergy occurs is in business, communication, and many more.

The final and the 7th habit of highly effective people by Covey is sharpening the saw, which is the habit concerned with self-renewal. It is one kind of habit that comprises of all the other mentioned habits. It makes the habits be applied and made possible. It enhances the renewal of nature, which comprises physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional aspects that should be taken care of and developed. However, when one speaks about the 7th habit, which is sharpening the saw, all that should come to mind is what has just been mentioned before: the physical, spiritual, mental, and social dimensions that should be exercised to the fullest.

For one to achieve this, there is a need for one to be proactive. Physically, one needs to take effective care of their physical body by eating the balanced diet needed, relaxing, and performing exercises regularly. Spiritually, one should posses’ things that are meant to be for the great benefit, inspire and uplifts you as a person. This defines the person’s leadership in life.

Mentally, one should be prepared through formal education by seriously reading, exploring new subjects deeply, and many factors related to education. Finally, the social/emotions which focuses on habits 4, 5, 6 which involves, the interpersonal leadership, emphatic communication and creative cooperation for the success of the 7th habit. A person needs to improve on his/her social/emotional dimensions through interacting daily whereby, one is able to achieve both private and public victory.

In conclusion, one should know that Stephen Covey was right when he came up with these seven habits of a highly effective people. These seven habits when read carefully, one will discover that they are very simple and very motivational in changing ones life. People who want to progress in life and achieve their set objectives or goals should focus on these seven habits. These habits are applicable in every aspect of real life whether in school, leadership, home, businesses and many more.

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