Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written by Stephen R. Covey in 1989. This book has been on the National Best Seller list for over 200 weeks. Many people have attended Covey’s seminars on the subject. Many companies have required top executives to read this book including AT & T, Dow Chemical, Ford, Deloitte and Touche, Marriott, Xerox and Ritz Carlton Hotels.

This book proposes that there are seven habits that can be learned to improve one’s personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey describes a habit as “the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire.” Knowledge would represent the “what to do”, skill the “how to do”, and desire the

“want to do”. In order to create a habit in our lives, we must have all three.

Habits 1, 2, and 3 relate to Private Victory with habit 4, 5, and 6 relating to Public Victories and

Habit 7 being involved with Renewal.

Habit one is to be proactive. This habit says that as human beings we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We create our own destiny. The proactive person acts rather than waiting to be acted upon.

According to Covey, part of increasing our self-awareness is understanding our Circle of Concern, that is, our range of concern with which we have mental or emotional involvement. A Circle of Influence resides inside the Circle of Concern reflecting those things over which we have control.

Habit two is to begin with the end in mind. If we paint a visual image of what we want our life to be then we actually provide a frame of reference within which all our behaviors can be examined. We must understand where we are going. We should develop a personal mission statement. It will provide the basic direction of our lives. This statement will force us to give thought to our values and what we want to accomplish in life.

In the third habit, Covey tells us to put first things first. Independence is crucial in this habit.

Our personal integrity helps us to “walk our talk”. The strength of purpose enables us to do even those things we’d rather not, placing our value's first.

This habit requires good time management. If the issue is not high priority, we must say “no” to reserve time for those items that are high priority. Through this habit effective management leads to effec...

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... possible. This habit is making an investment in ourselves. This refers to taking care of our bodies. This includes eating right, getting enough sleep and engaging in regular exercise. Our physical well being will help us to be

more proactive. The spiritual dimension of our lives must also be renewed. This is achieved through prayer, music, reading, meditation or nature. This touches the center of our beings.

Sharpening the saw of the mental dimension comes through continuing education. Proactive people can figure out many ways to educate themselves. The best way to inform and expand your mind is through reading. Another tool used to sharpen the saw is through writing. Writing affects our ability to think, reason and to be understood effectively. One should spend one hour a day for the rest of your life sharpening the saw.

This book is truly a work of art. The information is easily understood and is well communicated. Covey gives so many down to earth examples that it is easy to gain knowledge personally and professionally. I highly recommend this book and will definitely take the study course the next time it is offered at Columbia State.

Pam Thomason
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