Acquiring The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People takes us through the stages of character development.
Habits 1 through 3 make up the “private victory” – where we go from dependence to independence by taking responsibility for our own lives.
Acquiring habits 4 through 6 is our “public victory”: Once independent, we learn to be interdependent, to succeed with other people. The seventh habit makes all the others possible – periodically renewing ourselves in mind body, and spirit.
1 HABIT ONE – BE PROACTIVE
You won’t find it in an ordinary dictionary, but the word is common now in management literature: Proactivity means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. If we think our lives are a function of our conditions, it is because we have, by conscious decision or by default, chosen to empower those things to have control over us – we have let ourselves become reactive. Reactive people are often affected by the weather, proactive people carry their own weather with them.
2 HABIT TWO – BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
.It means to know where you’re going so as to understand where you are now, and take your next step in the right direction. It’s easy to get caught up in an activity trap in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. We may be very efficient by working frenetically and heedlessly, but we will be effective only when we begin with the end result in mind.
3 HABIT THREE – PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST
Instead of trying to fit all the things of our lives into the time allotted, as many timemanagement plans do, our focus here is on enhancing relationships and achieving results.
We all face the same dilemma. We are caught between the urgent and the important. Something urgent requires immediate attention, it’s usually visible, it presses on us, but may not have any bearing on our long-term goals. Important things, on the other hand, have to do with results – they contribute to our mission, our values, our high- priority goals. We react to urgent matters; we often must act to take care of important matters, even as urgent things scream for our attention.
4 HABIT FOUR – SEEK TO UNDERSTAND, THEN BE UNDERSTOOD
The skill to develop here is empathy. Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy is a form of agreement, a judgment. The essence of empathic listening is not that you agree with someone; it’s that you fully understand him, emotionally and intellectually. Empathic listening is with the ears, eyes, and heart – for feeling, for meaning.
It’s powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with, instead of projecting and assuming your own thoughts and motives. You can only work with someone productively and make an appropriate deposit in your Emotional Bank Account with him if you understand what really matters most to him.
5 HABIT FIVE – THINK “WIN/WIN”
“Think win/win,” entails making an important deposit in another person’s Emotional Bank Account: finding a way both of you can benefit by your interaction. All the other possibilities – win/lose (I win, you lose), lose/win (I lose, you win), and lose/lose – are ineffective, either in the short term or the long term.
Using the paradigm of Win/Win requires three traits:
• Integrity – We define integrity as the value we place on ourselves: We need to be selfaware, possessed of an independent will. We make and keep meaningful promises and commitments to our selves and others.
• Maturity – This is the balance between courage and consideration. Simply put, you must have enough empathy and goodwill to work for a win for your counterpart, and enough courage to make a win for yourself.
• Abundance Mentality – You must know and believe that there is plenty out there for everybody.
6 HABIT SIX – SYNERGIZE
The creative process is also terrifying, because you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or where it’s going to lead. You leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness. You become a pathfinder. The basis of synergy is that two people can disagree, and both can be right. It’s not logical. It’s psychological.
7 HABIT SEVEN – SHARPEN THE SAW
To sharpen the saw means renewing ourselves, in all four aspects of our natures:
• Physical – exercise, nutrition, stress management;
• Mental – reading, visualizing, planning, writing;
• Social/Emotional – service, empathy, synergy, security;
• Spiritual – spiritual reading, study, and meditation.
Complement The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with Leading with your strengths. Using Gallup’s discoveries, authors Tom Rath and Barry Conchie show how each person’s unique strengths can drive their success.