My Notes On “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”

Do you ever read a book and write notes to keep for future reference?
That’s how I read most books.

Here are the treasures I want to tuck into my heart and brain from :

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Common human challenges we face :

  • Fear and insecurity
  • “I want it now”
  • Blame and victimism
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of life balance
  • “What’s in it for me?”
  • The hunger to be understood
  • conflict and differences
  • personal stagnation
    • body
      cultural tendency: maintain lifestyle; treat health problems with surgery and medication
      principle: prevent diseases and problems by aligning lifestyle to be in harmony with principles of health
    • mind
      cultural: watch television, entertain me
      principle: read broadly and deeply, continuous education
    • heart
      cultural: use relationships with others to forward your personal, selfish interests.
      principle: deep, respectful listening and serving others brings greatest fulfillment and joy
    • spirit
      culture : succumb to growing secularism and cynicism
      principle: recognize that the source of our basic need for meaning and of the positive things we seek in life is principles – which natural laws I personally believe have their source in God.

Constantly pose this question: How many on their deathbeds wished they’d spent more time at the office, or watching tv? The answer is, no one.

When people see good things happening in others lives they immediately request “How do you do it? Teach me the techniques.” What they’re really saying is, “Give me some quick fix advice or solution that will relieve the pain in my own situation.”
They will find people who will meet their wants and teach these things; and for a short time, skills and techniques may appear to work. They may eliminate some of the cosmetic or acute problems through social aspirin and band-aids.
But the underlying chronic condition remains, and eventually new acute symptoms will appear. The more people are into quick fix and focus on the acute problems and pain, the more that very approach contributes to the underlying chronic condition.
The way we see the problem is the problem.

We will define a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.
Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the what to do and the why. Skill is the how to do. And the desire is the motivation, the want to do. In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three.

Marilyn Ferguson observed, “no one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal.”

Habit 1 : Be Proactive

We are not our feelings. We are not our moods. We are not even our thoughts.

Don’t let others projections of you define you. “You’re never on time.” “You eat like a horse.” “This is so simple. Why can’t you understand?”

Use proactive language…
I can – I control – I will – I choose – I prefer

We all have a circle of concern –our health, our children, problems at work, the national debt, nuclear war.
As we look at our circle of concern, it becomes apparent that there are some things we have no real control and others that we can do something about.
The things we can do something about can be described as the circle of influence, which is where proactive people put their focus.
Reactive people put their focus on the circle of concern which results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization.

When you focus on the circle of influence you use “be’s” such as I can be more patient, be wise, be loving. It’s character focus. I can be more resourceful, I can be more diligent, I can be more creative, I can be more cooperative.

If you have problems in your marriage focus on the thing you have control over – yourself!

Habit 2 : Begin With The End In Mind

Think about your funeral and what you want people to say about you.

In developing our own self-awareness many of us discover ineffective scripts, deeply embedded habits that are totally unworthy of us, totally incongruent with the things we really value in life.

A personal mission statement :

Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.

Guidance means your source of direction in life. Encompassed by your map, your internal frame of reference that interprets for you what is happening out there, are standards or principles or implicit criteria that govern moment by moment decision-making and doing.

Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgement, discernment, comprehension. It is a gestalt or oneness, an integrated wholeness.

Power is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also includes the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effective ones.

These four factors are interdependent.

Each of us has a center that the sum of life flows from. Common ones include :

  • spouse centeredness
  • family centeredness
  • money centeredness
  • work centeredness
  • possession centeredness
  • pleasure centeredness
  • friend/enemy centeredness
  • church centeredness
  • self-centeredness

Using your whole brain

Our self-awareness empowers us to examine our own thoughts. This is particularly helpful in creating a personal mission statement because the two unique human endowments that enable us to practice Habit 2 – imagination and conscience – are primarily functions of the right side of the brain. Understanding how to tap into that right brain capacity greatly increases our first creation ability.

Expand perspective
Visualize and affirmation

An affirmation has five basic ingredients : it’s personal, positive, present tense, visual, and emotional.
EX: “It is deeply satisfying (emotional) that I (personal) respond (present tense) with wisdom, love, firmness, and self-control (positive) when my children misbehave.

Habit 3 : Put First Things First

Organize and execute around priorities.

Effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems.

Identify your roles.

Schedule time to achieve goals.

Some people say you have to like yourself before you can like others. I think the idea has merit, but if you don’t know yourself, if you don’t control yourself, if you don’t have mastery over yourself, it’s very hard to like yourself, except in some short-term, psych-up, superficial way.
Real self respect comes from dominion over self, from true independence…independence is achievement. Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make. Unless we are willing to achieve real independence, it’s foolish to try to develop human relations skills. We might try. We might even have some degree of success when the sun is shining. But when the difficult times come – and they will – we won’t have the foundation to keep things together.

Six Major Deposits Into The Emotional Bank Account :

  • Understanding The individual 
  • Attending To The Little Things
  • Keeping Commitments
  • Clarifying Expectations
  • Showing Personal Integrity
  • Apologizing Sincerely When You Make A Withdrawal

Habit 4 : Think Win/Win

Six Paradigms of Human Interaction

  1. win/win : it’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way
  2. win/lose : I win, you lose
  3. lose/win : I lose, you win
  4. lose/lose : both lose
  5. win : only matters that I get what I want
  6. win/win or no deal : if we can’t find a solution that would benefit us both, we agree to disagree agreeably

Habit 5 : Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

Principles of Empathetic Communication

Listen empathetically.

Diagnose before you prescribe.

  • evaluate
  • probe
  • advise
  • interpret

Habit 6 : Synergize

When properly understood, synergy is the highest activity in all life – the true test and manifestation of all the other habits put together.
The highest forms of synergy focus the four unique human endowments, the motive of win/win, and the skills of empathetic communication on the toughest challenges we face in life. What results is almost miraculous. We create new alternatives – something that wasn’t there before.
Synergy is the essence of principle-centered leadership. It is the essence of principle-centered parenting. It catalyzes, unifies, and unleashes the greatest powers within people. All the habits we have covered prepare us to create the miracle of synergy.
What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself.

“Our mission is to empower people and organizations to significantly increase their performance capability in order to achieve worthwhile purposes through understanding and living principle-centered leadership.”

Habit 7 : Sharpen The Saw

Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal

Habit 7 is preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you. It’s renewing the four dimensions of your nature – physical (exercise, nutrition, stress management), spiritual (value clarification + commitment, study + meditation), mental (reading, visualizing, planning, writing), and social/emotional (service, empathy, synergy, intrinsic security).

Take great care,

If you enjoyed what you read here but would rather read the whole book for yourself, please purchase from the link below. It is an affiliate link, but all opinions are my own. I may earn money from purchases made through the link shared here (at no additional cost to you). This helps to support the site and keeps the content free. Thanks for your support!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s