Stephen Covey, author of the giant best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” passed away last month at the age of 79. This particular work of Covey’s sold to date over 20 million copies along with his many other fascinating eye opening reads focused around self-improvement. In this book, Covey explains in detail what he believes to be 6 foundational habits that an individual must possess if they are in search of personal success at the highest level. The final habit is simply a habit of never being satisfied and continuing one’s own personal growth. “Sharpening the saw” as he calls it. These habits are life-changing in the sense that once they are put into everyday use they will eventually calibrate with your character and you will naturally think and act in a way that is in accordance with the principles he preaches. According to Covey, following this formula will lead to financial, emotional, and personal success.
Habit 1 is about Proactivity. Being proactive means that you take responsibility for your behavior and your actions. Break down the word “responsible,” and you have “response” and “able.” You are “able” to choose your “response.” Covey stressed a stoicism like response to the negative emotions and events in your life. To accept the response you naturally feel but to stop and think what is the best way to respond that will bring the most good to myself and those involved. Continually looking at what YOU can do better even if you don’t think you’re at fault for what is happening. Even when things go right you should still search for ways to make it go even better the next time. Covey does add that things outside of your direct control like war, politics, and famine should not necessarily be a major focal point for improvement but that if you are ambitious enough to try and tackle these concerns than feel free just understand these are issues much larger than one person can take on. I personally agree wholeheartedly with this principle and believe all true leaders achieve a mindset that allows them to read the situation, and act in a proactive manner.
“Begin With The End In Mind,” is the title of our second habit. Simple, yet so powerful when put into practice. When we decide what it is we want to do or become, it is at this exact moment when we know where the finish line resides. From there we can manufacture a blueprint much like a mission statement on how to manage ourselves in order to cross that finish line. We can research backwards exactly what we need to do in order to get there and we can set goals that will surely help us see that we meet our end result. With this blueprint we can set unbreakable values that will define who we want to be or what we want to do. Another wards, a personal changeless core that will assist us in dealing with external variables without allowing us to change our blueprint. When I injected this principle in my thought process I experienced the ease of taking the guess work out of things and allowing myself to stop analyzing every detail and just ask myself what I needed in order to reach my end result. It was truly outstanding how my goals and everyday tasks flew by with ease when I knew exactly what I wanted to get done and in what order I wanted to do them in.
The third habit is about becoming principally centered and having your priorities straight. Habit 1 can be looked at as, “I am the Programmer.” Habit 2 can be seen as, “Write the Program.” Habit 3 is simply about “executing the Program as best as you can.” In one of Covey’s other well-known books, “First Things First,” Covey stresses the third habit. Putting first things first! He says, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Too often we confuse activity with productivity. Great leaders decide what their priorities are before they act, rather than simply acting out of the need to seem busy and engaged. Balancing our personal...