The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People Is Life Changing

Main image in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post

There is no real excellence in this world that can be separated from right living. David Starr Jordan

Surviving is about getting from one day to the next without regard to quality.

Living is about using your honed skills and talents to experience a life that overflows with potent achievement and meaningful happiness.

Now, search your heart and decide. Are you living life or are you just surviving it?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is about making real positive change in your life. By adopting the habits, you will live a life that is directed by principles. Principles, like integrity, honesty and loyalty, are natural laws that we must abide by. A principle-centered life will help us achieve success and lasting happiness.

When I lived in Taipei from 2003 to 2007, I become hooked on audio books and one of the first books I bought was Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Instead of just listening, I listened while making notes so that I could really immerse myself in the material.

In this post I’ve done my best to distill the essence of Covey’s masterpiece and will hopefully convince you that The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is life changing. 

Habit 1 – Be proactive

Be proactive in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Habit 1. be proactive

Viktor Frankl was a psychologist who survived the holocaust. In a world strongly resembling hell, he learnt a profound truth. Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing – the ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. Read more about Frankl in my post on The Best Book About The Meaning Of Life.

Image of Victor Frankl in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People blog post
The quote is from Frankl's book, A Man's Search For Meaning

In the Nazi death camps, Frankl behaved proactively. Being proactive is about taking control. It’s about knowing that in every situation, good or bad, we have the power to choose our response. We are responsible. Responsible = response + able. Failing a test does not hurt us. We can learn from failure. What hurts us is the ranting and raving we do because of the failure.

Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind

Begin with the end in mind in the Steven Covey post
Habit 2, begin with the end in mind

Imagine that you are dead. You’re sitting at your own funeral and your best friend is about to talk about your life and the person you were. What would you like him or her to say? How about, “John achieved little and no one will really miss him.” Or “Sally was a wonderful woman, an inspiration to us all.”

Plan your funeral in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Imagine your ideal funeral (image courtesy of Matt Reigle)

The image you have of your ideal funeral is your ultimate end or destination. You need to start each day with that image at the back of your mind. Decide what you want in life. Maybe it’s to be a basketball pro, a top accountant, a good father or just to speak better English. It is imperative that you figure this out because only by truly knowing what end we want, can we adapt our lives accordingly so that we can get it.

Habit 3 – Put first things first

Put first things first in the Covey post
Habit 3, put first things first

How many people on their deathbed wished they had spent more time at the office or watching TV? Stephen R. Covey

Putting first things first is about realizing what’s most important in your life and then allocating time to it. In habit 2 we looked at deciding what we want. Now it’s time to work out a plan of action so that what we want becomes a reality.

Image of 4 time quadrants in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People blog post
Covey's 4 time quadrants

Try saying this. No. Say it again. No. When you are focused on reaching for what matters most, you can say ‘no’ to people and other distractions without feeling guilty. If you are living a principle-centered life, honoring yourself and your goals should always take priority. This might mean turning off the TV or turning down your friends when they invite you to go partying.

Habit 4 – Think win-win

Think win-win in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Habit 4, think win-win

Getting ripped off is no fun. The store wins and you lose. But, since you’re unlikely to ever shop there again, the store also loses. When you’re thinking win-win, you see life as cooperative and not competitive. You respect the other party and you’re determined to find an agreement that mutually benefits and satisfies. By doing this you make people realize that you’re interested in their well-being as well as your own and they will begin to trust you.

Habit 5 – Seek first to understand then to be understood

habit 5 in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Habit 5, seek first to understand, then to be understood

In school, we learn how to read, write and speak but never to listen. When your friend has a problem with his girlfriend, if you don’t listen closely to all the details, you won’t understand the problem. If you don’t understand the problem, it’ll be impossible for you to offer advice or council. And that would make you a poor friend indeed.

Image of man with loudspeaker in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Most people talk more than they listen

Everybody is in love with the sound of their own voice. Nobody really listens anymore. If you truly care about people, try listening first. Once you fully understand the other person, then you can share what’s on your mind.

Habit 6 – Synergy

Image of synergize in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Habit 6, synergy

A person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through the interaction with hearts and minds of other human beings. Stephen R. Covey

Let’s face it. We’re all different and for the most part, we want different things. Synergy is about valuing, celebrating and respecting those differences. When you communicate synergistically with others, you open your heart and mind to new possibilities and alternatives. And when two people share this attitude, 1 plus 1 doesn’t have to equal 2. It could equal 10, 145 or 56034.

Habit 7 – Sharpen the saw

Sharpen the saw in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Habit 7, sharpen the saw

If you’re cutting down a tree, it’ll come down a lot easier if you take time to sharpen the saw. The same is true for us. We should take some time off every day in order to renew ourselves so that we’re healthy, strong and capable to reach our goals.

Image of 4 dimensions of renewal in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People post
Covey's 4 dimensions of renewal

There are four dimensions of renewal. Physical – exercise often. Spiritual – allow yourself some me-time so that you can truly hear the needs of your soul. Mental – read more books and watch less TV. Also, keep a journal to help clarify your thoughts and insights. Emotional/social – practice habits 4,5 and 6 with those around you.

The French philosopher, Voltaire, tells us that the most important thing we can do is to cultivate our garden. By internalizing and living the 7 habits, we ensure that our garden soaks up enough water, nutrients and sunlight. It will be a garden that blooms the most unique and beautiful flowers. A garden that thrives with life and harmony.

Do you believe that The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is life changing? Leave a comment below sharing your experience with this great book. 

We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest. 
~Voltaire
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If you really want to get serious about transforming your life through The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, I strongly suggest buying the audio book and listening while taking notes. Go through the workbook at the same time. That is what I did and it really helped me inhabit the material. The card deck is useful as a constant reminder to how the habits work.

 *Please note that I receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉 

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11 thoughts on “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People Is Life Changing”

  1. I am 25 and not long ago realized that I am stuck with my behavior routine. What was I not satisfied with it that I couldn’t start doing new things. I realized that many things seemed unchangeable. 

    After that, I started to read and analyze why this is happening to me. I realized that those routines stayed up too long. If some behaviors you don’t like stays too long it gets “stuck in you”. 

    The first book I read about self-development was “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”  by Robin Sharma. Yes, this book is very superficial, but it was the first time I heard that you can learn to control your mind and thoughts.

    Now I am willing to read something else about self-development! And thankfully for your comment, I found the right book I want to read. New quality habits will change bad ones and will help to develop success and lasting happiness! I like this kind of idea! Thanks!

    1. Glad you found it useful, David. I haven’t read the The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, but I’ll look into it.

  2. Stephen Covey has a well-deserved reputation for the self-improvement information he has shared. His ideas and suggestions can be found in most any discussion in for form or another.  His influences are there.  I enjoyed your review of the book and it reminded me of when I first read it years ago.  Like most people who want to have their own business, I do have my own copy, though it is pretty used, and a replacement may be in order.  

    I still find that the 2nd Havit Of Highly Effective People is still the one I fall shortest on.  Putting first things first.  Something about this just slides off-centre often for me.  I do think it happens ore when I don’t have a clear vision of what I am aiming to accomplish.  It was a bit startling to realize I still do the same thing.  Thanks for your reminder of how to restrengthen this part of my efforts to be Highly Effective. 

    1. Hi Sami, thanks for the insightful comment. It is only now that I’m fully implementing that 2nd habit. It took me a long time. I find writing out a list in the morning and putting all the quadrant 2 things at the top pretty helpful. Synergy has always been the hardest because I’ve always preferred working on my own. But as I get older and my business expands I’m forced to reach out to others and collaborate with them.

  3. Hello friend! When talking about personal development you’re talking my language. I’ve been on that path for 30 years now and just recently began making large steps. I fell in love with audio-books in 2012 and they are indispensable to me. I can listen while performing other tasks and most important I can listen over and over again. These 7 Habits of Successful people confirm that I am on the path to success because I have incorporated these steps into my daily life without knowing that I had done so. These steps are very important for ensuring success. Good stuff!

    1. Good journey you’re on there Derrick. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has helped me a lot and I find it interesting that you adopted those habits without ever having read the material. I guess the principles are so universal that regardless of what self-development book you read, they will incorporate some or other version of the habits.

  4. Hello friend! When talking about personal development you’re talking my language. I’ve been on that path for 30 years now and just recently began making large steps. I fell in love with audio-books in 2012 and they are indispensable to me. I can listen while performing other tasks and most important I can listen over and over again. These 7 Habits of Successful people confirm that I am on the path to success because I have incorporated these steps into my daily life without knowing that I had done so. These steps are very important for ensuring success. Good stuff!

  5. What a pleasure it was to read your post on developing positive habits to be more effective at at accomplishing  the things that make the biggest difference in life, and that is to accomplish goals that we may have set for ourselves, or maybe to be viewed on our deathbed as someone who set positive examples and someone who will truly be missed.

    I can definitely take this information to heart because I have been working on something of great significants for a while now, and that’s building my own business. Sometimes it can be difficult to set aside enough time in the day to work on it with all the distractions going on such as a family, but inorder to be effective, I need to develop a solid habit of saying no to others who try to distract me from what I know is most important to me.

    1. I hear you Neil, it’s really hard to juggle all the balls in your life. I’ve just read a book called Deep Work by Cal Newport and it talks about allocating very focused time to certain tasks in the day. Eliminating all distractions including cell phone is the only way to really go deep into a task and create something meaningful according to Newport. I totally agree with him and will be reviewing his book soon.

  6. I have worked for a Petrochemical company for almost my whole life. The 7 habits of highly effective people were briefing to us almost every alternate year. Our team used it as a management practice to work with our colleagues. It helps to promote teamwork, resolve different ideas, annual goal planning for appraisal, and set up the best quality management system for our product. I believed many of us do not follow the 7 habits in our private life. 

    Today I have a chance to read your excellent article to refresh my mind about 7 habits of highly effective people. I get your idea better than I can get from my previous Trainer. Your article image plays an important role to understand our content very well. I should have developed these 7 habits of highly effective people but I have missed it for many years. I am doing too much not important and not urgent matters after my working hours. Thanks for your sharing today, I will catch up the 7 habits for the rest of my life.

    1. Hi Stephen, thanks for your comments. I read and audio booked the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People more than 10 years ago, but I too forgot about them until now. I’ve reaquainted myself with them through this article and I will be listening to the audio book again. It’s something you can’t listen too enough. 

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