Your character is basically the sum of your habits. Therefore, to become successful, you need to develop good habits in your life. This book teaches you how to acquire the seven habits of truly effective people. The foundation of your success and character should be based on common moral values such as integrity, honesty, humility, courage, patience, justice, the Golden Rule, etc. This is known as the “Character Ethic”. In the long term, it is easier to be motivated by such principles of integrity and goodness.
Your character should not be based on a false public image, hypocritical attitudes and behaviors, or superficial techniques for human interaction/manipulation. That would be known as the “Personality Ethic”. If your principles were based solely on the “Personality Ethic”, you may achieve short-term success, but people will eventually see through your dishonest motives and cease to trust you. You will not enjoy long-term success and happiness.
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Habits 1 to 7 develop your character in a progressive manner.
Learning the first 3 habits will help you achieve “private victory”, where you learn to move from dependence to independence by taking responsibility for your own life. Habits 4 through 6 teach you how to get “public victory, by moving from independence to interdependence and succeeding through creating synergy with other people. Habit 7 involves the renewal and balance of your mind, body and spirit. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People The book first introduces the concept of Paradigm Shift and prepares the reader for a change in mindset.
It helps you understand that there exists a different perspective, a viewpoint that may be different from your own and states that two people can see the same thing and yet differ with each other. Once the reader is prepared for this, it introduces the seven habits, in a proper order. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits, which are represented by the following rules: Independence The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i. e. , self-mastery). Habit 1: Be Proactive, take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions and how they align with life’s principles are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow. Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. Habit 3: Put first things first.
A manager must manage his own person personally and managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation, rule three is the physical creation. Interdependence The next three have to do with Interdependence (i. e. , working with others): Habit 4: Think Win-Win Genuinely strive for the same beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had got his way. Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which requires them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving. Habit 6: Synergize and combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork in order to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Continuous Improvement
The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence. Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc. ) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal. Covey explains the “Upward Spiral” model in the sharpening the saw section.
Through our conscience, along with meaningful and consistent progress, the spiral will result in growth, change, and constant improvement. One is always attempting to integrate and master the principles outlined in The 7 Habits at progressively higher levels at each recurrence. Subsequent development on any habit will render a different experience and you will learn the principles with a deeper understanding. The Upward Spiral model consists of three parts: learn, commit, and do.
According to Covey, you must constantly be educating the conscience in order to grow and develop on the upward spiral. The idea of renewal by education will boost one along the path of personal freedom, security, wisdom, and power. Conclusion. This book is not a quick-fix prescription for personal growth. However, if you work hard at acquiring these principles, if you learn them well, think about them deeply and teach them to others, they will eventually become adopted.
They will lead to fundamental change because they will affect who you are – your character – for the better. Your personality was formed as the result of specific behaviors you internalized as you grew up. These behaviors are not things we need to think about, they represent little success strategies or ways of coping with life that we have found to be helpful. You will see how acquiring new habits leads to a fundamental change of character.