Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

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Now this book has touched millions of people’s lives it’s one of if not the most well known success books out there there are literally thousands of success books out there so why should this one be any different well Stephen researched the last 200 years of success literature and found something quite interesting in the last 50 years most of the books have been focused on the personality ethic things like public image how you dress how you perform in social interactions positive mental attitude skills and techniques to get people to behave in certain ways these books focus on how to appear rather than how to actually be the seven Habits of Highly Effective People takes an inside-out approach it focuses on the character ethic rather than the personality ethic in the words of Stephen Covey almost all the literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the character ethic.

Things like Integrity Humility Temperance Courage and Justice Patience.

As the foundation for success things like integrity humility temperance courage and justice patience industry simplicity modesty and the Golden Rule the character ethic taught that there are basic principles of effective living and that people can only experience true success in enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character you know greatness starts from the inside out of course there is a place for personality ethic but character forms the foundation personality ethics need to be rooted in character the personality ethic can be seen as fake or as a fake it till you make an image if it’s not rooted in character sometimes people apply these personality techniques in order to use and manipulate people to meet their own goals and agendas in the long run people will eventually see through this duplicity but you can’t fake character ethic if you’re still a little fuzzy on this concept picture and iceberg right the personality ethic is above the water the character ethic is below the water it forms a foundation it’s where the greatest impact over the long term is it’s where you sow the seeds of greatness the problem is that people don’t focus on the foundation they focus on the appearance they’re looking for shortcuts and quick fixes but there are no shortcuts there is no quick fix program but if you endure and apply the following habits you will absolutely achieve your goals and it will help you develop better relationships

What Skills you learn your enthusiasm how you Spend your Free Time.

A bit of a long intro there but necessary to understand the principles this book is based on so let’s jump into the seven Habits habit one is be proactive let’s look at something called the circle of concern and the circle of influence the circle of concern consists of all the things that are out of your control like the weather politics what people think of you the economy other people’s mistakes and other people’s opinions the circle of influence consists of all the things you can control your attitude what you read what skills you learn your enthusiasm how you spend your free time and who you spend it with your habits and hobbies and so on with that said there are two ways to live life you can either be reactive or proactive reactive people complain about the things that are out of their control their environment and outside forces affect their performance and their mood additionally they don’t take action or ownership of the things that they can control and then you have the other type of person they are proactive this type of person realizes that their decisions determine their life not their conditions proactive people don’t complain about things they can’t control additionally they take action to improve the things that they can control proactive people understand that sometimes we may not have complete control over a certain situation but we can control how we respond to a situation

What you Can’t control Focus on What you Can Control Take Responsibility.

Let’s look at an example of how a proactive and a reactive person responds to the same situation two people take a test and then they both fail one blames a teacher and gives up the other takes responsibility and ownership studies harder and tries to improve themselves the reactive person complains about how bad the teacher is and the proactive person asks what can I do they look at themselves first instead of blaming and complaining don’t focus on what you can’t control focus on what you can control take responsibility and keep in mind as you become more proactive within your circle of influence it grows bigger you bring more power into your life even if you only implement one habit out of these seven habits I’m going to go over make it this one this one alone can have a huge impact on your life in life you either act or you’re acted upon habit 2 is begin with the end in mind all things are created twice the first time it’s created is in your mind and the second time is in the real world so let’s look at how it’s created in the mind first to get where you want to go in life you need to have a map you need to determine your life goals your destination and you also need a plan on how to get there otherwise you’re just aimlessly wandering around in life so where do you want to go in life have you sat down and clearly defined the type of life you want do you know where you want to be in five 10 or 15 years from now if not then you’re wandering around aimlessly at the whims of everyone else let me put it another way picture your life like a ladder you’re climbing up the ladder of life working hard doing the right things and making progress up the ladder month by month year by year then as you get towards the top of the ladder you suddenly realize your ladder was leaning against the wrong wall the whole time a lot of people live their lives like this they don’t have a vision for their life .

 What Steven Calls a Personal Mission Statement.

 You need to make a conscious effort of where you want to end up or other people will control your life and where you end up going this is why this habit is so important you need to figure out your destination first and then work towards it if you’re not really clear on what your purpose is then think about the end of your life how do you want to be remembered why do you want to be remembered for that find your purpose and make sure it has a strong wire behind it not something like having a lot of money but something that you have a real passion for you weren’t put here to make money buy stuff and then die you have something to contribute to the world you can add value so find out what that is instead of asking what life has to offer you ask what you can offer life so take the time to think about your purpose think about your values and write them down your personal mission statement can be as simple as Will Smith’s which is I want the world to be better because I was here very simple and what you do is you keep this mission statement at the forefront of your mind and whenever you make a decision you see if it’s in alignment with that mission statement this will keep you on track you know go crazy create your ideal life and your legacy it can be whatever you want dream big and don’t hold yourself back most of the time the thing that holds us back is ourselves so don’t let self-doubt get in the way realize that anything is possible so define.

How You Want Your Life to Be Right Now.

 don’t let the past or anything else hold you back you write the script to your life no one else you are the programmer all right habit 3 is to put first things first if habit 2 says you’re the programmer then habit 3 is write the program this is the second creation as you learn in habit two all things are created twice first in the mind and then in reality habit three putting first things first is where you take the steps and actions required to make your vision a reality this is where we begin examining our daily routines and habits ask yourself what’s the most important thing for you in this moment it’s probably your significant other finishing school improving your health or your family right it’s not checking Facebook or Instagram so why do we spend so much time doing these useless things right we need to get into the habit of putting first things first taking the time to focus on what really matters and focus our efforts on what’s going to get us to where we want to be in life really.

Start Questioning the Scripts and the Habits in your Life.

 we’ve all fallen into the vicious cycle of waking up late eating poorly leaving late for work rushing through traffic in a state of stress being unorganized at work and being pulled in a thousand different directions and then getting home eating fast food because you’re tired and then fall asleep late because you watched some dude TV show and then you wake up late the next day to do it all over again this is the perfect example of not putting first things first we could all use a little help in time management Department right and we all have a lot to do so how do we manage time effectively usually we all write things down on a giant to-do list and we tend to go in order from top to bottom with no real priorities this is not the way or you schedule things on a calendar which is a decent practice but with one interruption our whole game can be thrown off you could also try daily planning based on priorities but again one interruption or emergency can mess it all up most of us fall into this time management scheme but there is another way the best way is to categorize things by urgency and importance Stephan developed a cool quad chart for this and you need to categorize items in the following quadrant one is urgent and important this is putting out fires emergencies and kind of the reactive mindset quadrant two is not urgent and important these are things like your health exercising spending time with your family you know relationships

We Need to Put More Focus Here These are Often Neglected Activities.

This is where success in balance and growth are found quadrant three activities are not important and urgent so most of us spend our time here right interruptions some meeting some phone calls and other people’s emergencies and then quadrant four are not important and not urgent these are a waste of time busy work some emails some phone calls and so on do you remember the example above of the reactive and unorganized person now let’s look at an example of someone who puts first things first Joe wakes up early exercises for 30 minutes eats a healthy breakfast leaves early for work and has a nice smooth and joyful ride then Joe works on the important and not urgent things in quad 2 and he works on emergencies if needed and then he delegates quadrant 3 activities and rejects quadrant 4 tasks Joe takes a nice relaxing lunch and thinks about the rest of his day and plans his night at the end of the work date he closes out tasks and plans things for the next day he gets home and prepares a healthy meal and then maybe reads before bed he seems to have more time to think and reflect about his life and he makes plans on where he wants to end up and who he wants to be basically

What We Did in Habet to Begin with the End in Mind.

 I mean if you look at these two different examples it’s a huge difference right you know no one on their deathbed wishes they spent more time at work or check their Facebook more often right so again focus on what’s important to you and make it a priority commit yourself to it now the first three habits be proactive begin with the end of mind and put first things first are about moving you from being dependent to being independent they’re about self mastery they help you become more effective as an individual by developing inner strength character purpose and values the next three move you from being independent to being interdependent interdependence is the highest level.

What Stephen Covey Calls the Maturity Continuum.

The maturity continuum consists of three levels dependence independence and interdependence dependence is like the relationship between the child and a mother or even sometimes between a boss and employee if the employee lacks their own inner strength values and purpose it’s the attitude of you to move from dependence to independence you have to nail those first three habits be proactive begin with the end in mind and put first things first this is the attitude of I most people think independence is where it’s at right they think this is the highest level but in fact interdependence is the highest level interdependence is where you think like a team think family think marriage right a team mentality we accomplish what we want together it’s the attitude of we we can combine our talents and our abilities to make something even better habits four through six will help you deal with people how to read the needs of people how to empathize and how to cooperate and keep in mind you have to move from being dependent to independent before you can truly become interdependent so go ahead and check out part 2 of this summary where you can

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