The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
When facing a problem, human nature looks for a “quick fix.” Whether it is the latest diet fad or a get rich scheme, almost all “quick fixes” produce the same short-lived results and often no results at all. As a society, we are drawn to the appeal of a quick and easy route which leads to immediate results. We have grown accustomed to an easy lifestyle that uses superficial tactics when interacting with others. The problem with these quick fixes is that they deceive us into believing it is possible to avoid going through the natural process of work and growth, an essential process in order to change. These quick solutions not only try to cheat the system, but also cause us to lose touch with our inner values. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey addresses this issue by using universal principles to demonstrate how important work and growth are to achieving success. The title of this book is somewhat deceiving as it may seem a step-by-step guide about how a person can be successful in business. However, it is not and there is no such manual. This book is about changing one’s life not by adopting superficial tactics, but about adopting real, meaningful values and principles and applying them to all aspects in one’s life. Covey begins the book by discussing his rational for writing the book. He talks about the importance of applying our fundamental principles as opposed to trying to get by with superficial tactics. Reading this chapter I remembered my dad telling me something similar to Covey’s ideas. After blowing up what should have been a small argument with my sister, my father came up to me and tried to explain that if I continued to act in such a way that I would never be successful, especially if I wanted to pursue business. I then told him that I doubted I would ever talk to my future boss or co-workers the same way I talk to my ten year old sister. He then said, “The way you act toward your friends and family won’t change all of a sudden when you get a job; it is who you are. You can’t just walk into a job and expect that you will all of a sudden transform into another person; eventually your true personality will resurface.” At the time, I did not quite grasp what my father was trying to tell me, but after reading this book, I began to understand that we all have unchanging principles that govern our behavior and define who we are. Covey says, “Principles are independent of us. They operate regardless of our awareness of them, acceptance of them, liking of them, belief in them, or obeying them” (Covey 322). From this, I have learned that if I want to try to change, I need to first look deep within myself and focus on my values and principles. The first habit discussed in this book, “Being Proactive,” is a fundamental part of being able to analyze situations in order to make sound decisions. This is something I continually struggle with each day. The significance of this habit is that we as human beings are in control of our own lives. It is up to us as individuals to make our own decisions and choices and to not let our environment control us. As Covey says, “Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions” (71). I think this habit is one of the most important qualities a human being should possess because it allows us to make the best out of any situation we are given. For me, this habit is most difficult because I become frustrated easily when situations are difficult. It is especially hard for me to step aside and try to find alternatives. My goal to become more proactive is to start acting like a participant rather than a victim of my environment. If I can truly internalize this habit and apply it to my daily life, it will benefit me as a future business woman and enable me to take on anything that life throws my way. This habit of being proactive is one of the many reasons why I admire my older brother. After...
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