Books

7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary of A Bestseller

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

“This book 7 habits of highly effective people” is a best-selling book that sold millions of copies. Written by Stephen Covey. This book was published in 1989. But still it is popular even after 30 years. It basically proposes the Idea of purposeful existence in the world by being a productive person as well as being happy.

I came to know about it from my cousin Tabish years back. Also borrowed a book from him, First Things First, that basically teaches you to put first thing’s first habit 3 in the book “7 habits of highly effective people”.

Stephen Covey, the author was himself, was an educator, professor, preacher, doctor of religious education, Harvard MBA, Entrepreneur and a coach who have given a number of seminars and councilling. Truly a writer’s life. The texts he expressed were with coherence and clarity. This book itself is with complex framework with simply explained points but have a charm.

7 efficient habits also have 3 basic dimensions to it, such as Dependence (relying on others), independence (relying on ourselves), interdependence (collaborating with others to achieve goals).

As the name suggests, the book is based on 7 habits of highly productive people, I would say. In this, I would consider each habit in brief detail.

  • A. Independence
    • 1. Be Proactive
    • 2. Start with the End in Mind
    • 3. Put first things first
  • B. Interdependence
    • Think Win- Win
    • Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood
    • Synergize
  • C. Renewal
    • Sharpen the Saw
7 habits of highly effective people summary

Be Proactive (Independence) 1st of 7 habits

In my opinion, this is the best of 7 habits ignored by people. It focuses on the ability of our response. By reading the heading of habit 1 be proactive, people might think what does it mean to be proactive. So, I would like to explain an example of proactive. So. Let’s take a case study where a student asks a teacher to leave an ongoing class. So, his teacher asks him why. He replies that it is a compulsion on him to go, otherwise there would be a problem.

After that, the teacher asked him if he does not go, what would happen. So, he replies, he would be out of the team. His teacher then explained him it is his choice to go or not and not a compulsion. In other words, if we consider what is in our control, we could choose what we want. Same as the student who thinks being in tennis school team is better than taking class.

Another great example would be of Viktor Frankl who faced a lot in Nazi death camps. Even, after facing so much even an average human can not think of, he still remained a real victor. Later becoming an author and a famous psychiatrist. What happened to him does not break him, but only made him strong. As Omar Mokhtar once said and an old phrase, what does not break you make you stronger. A true example of be proactive, not reactive.

Circle of concern and circle of influence

All of us have faced in long tern faced a lot of problems and even facing today both at personal, societal and regional level. There are personal problems with Job, education, relationship etc. At a larger level recently, we have faced Pandemic. But our main consideration in all those Circle of concern should be our circle of influence. In true sense be proactive not reactive meaning.

Our thinking can make different paths also I have discussed it in Rich Dad Poor Dad summary.

Begin with the End in Mind (Independence) 2nd of 7 Habits

This habit is very easy to understand, the name can describe it all, but still I will state begin with the end in mind examples. Consider a person to have two options, either work in office or go to Cinema with his wife, what would he choose depends on a lot of options available is the person Enjoyment centered or work centered.

There are different kinds of people in the world from Self centered to enjoyment centered or enemy centered or family centered to power centered. They build their paths according to their central values that usually develops in childhood.

Begin with the end in mind also a great step towards independence. It encourages people to decide what is good and bad from them. Otherwise, people would let others and circumstances to set their life by default.

The best way to accomplish it was describes by Stephen R. Covey as to make a personal mission statement.

The mission statement would help to prioritize things accordingly. The mission statement also depends on Wisdom a person have. Categories it in three levels. First Personal, and think about emotional, psychological, physical and overall health of oneself also at the same time spend time with family and friends and give back to the society what positive is in your limit according to me.

Second Work, In it try to be your best in value and honesty as it would help in long run.

Put first things first (Independence) 3rd of 7 habits

Put First things first is a habit that is easy to understand at the same time difficult to implement. Here, theoretically the author explains time management easily, and I personally like it very much. Here he divides tasks in four quadrants.

The first Quadrant Includes urgent and important tasks. The second Quadrant Includes Important task but not urgent. The Third Quadrant includes urgent but not important activities. The fourth Quadrant includes neither urgent nor important tasks. So, here the author suggests us to go with the second quadrant.

4 quadrants of 7 habits of highly effective people

As if we do what is important and urgent, nothing urgent or a task with a deadline would be left. So, we would manage time in a way that would make our life easy, as no deadline would keep us stress-free.

First things first meaning is so vast that even Stephen Covey wrote a whole book on it.

Introduction to Interdependence

Since all the first three habits are covered which are based on independence, we would start with next three habits. Interdependence is somewhere between dependence and independence. In it, you are independent at the same time need a productive and progressive relationship. This is how modern business run. But at personal level, a human life since he is a social animal.

Think win-win (Interdependence) 4th of 7 habits

It refers to the four possible outcome of any negotiation.

  • Win-Win -Benefits that are mutual in nature and satisfying.
  • Win-Lose – Produce only one winner.
  • Lose-Win – Giving up on winning can be due to permissiveness.
  • Lose-Lose – Destroying mutually based on revenge

Examples of Win-Win situation is what an ethical business focuses on where you benefit the 2nd party for creating long term relationship and goodwill. Win-Lose situation happens if the 2nd party is foolish due to circumstances or there is an exploitation.

Lose Win situation can happen if one let it happen due to saving long term relationship or other reasons. Lose-Lose situation most often happen when one party wants others to lose as vengeance against him as 1st party gained nothing.

If both parties does not reach at win-win situation, then there should be no deal.

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood (Interdependence) 5th of 7 Habits

This Habit I think is useful to a lot of people as it focuses on broad mindedness and avoid stereotyping. At the same time, to be just in our code of conduct. Seek first to understand then to be understood meaning is very simple and helps in avoiding conflicts. Since misunderstanding is also a main cause of conflicts and chaos in the world.

Seek first to understand then to be understood examples include a doctor treating its patient. If doctor does not listen to its patient in a correct and clear manner, how would he be able to treat him or her. One can achieve it through Empathic listening by understanding other’s perspective.

Some people do not listen to other’s point of view, just focus on what they want to speak, which causes miscommunication.

Every one have their frame of reference with them and an autobiography and according to it, we filter everything. We do not tend to listen to anything against our autobiography. This is a main reason for biases as we decide on our decision before other person complete their word.

Synergize (Interdependence) 6th of 7 habits

It is a base to combination of all team efforts or collective efforts of a team irrespective of differences. It proposes the Idea that a group of people can not achieve individually what they can achieve in a group. Different ideas presented to solve a same problem can produce better result in the end. That is truly Synergize meaning.

For achieving it, we have to understand other’s point of view. Maybe the point of difference offers the same solution.

Sharpen the Saw (Renewal)

This is the last of 7 habits, and it is very simple in understanding. Habit 7 sharpen the saw is based on a story of a wood cutter. If he sharpens the saw he can save up to 2 hours of his work but have to stay patient for few minutes while sharpening instead of just starting to work.

It is very similar to a person who says he has no time to work out but if he does. It can increase its productivity and efficiency also benefitting health.

  1. Physical – Workout, eating habit and rest
  2. Social/emotional – making beneficial connection with others
  3. Mental – learning, reading, writing and teaching
  4. Spiritual – Prayer, Guidance, meditation, Faith

In the end I want to say I thought this summary would end at 700-800 words, but it actually took more than 1600 words to complete it.


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