Stephen Covey, the author of the best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has offered a philosophy that many people from different walks of life are embracing. For 32 years, the book has remained one of the most well-received literary works in its genre. The book continues to be a strong reference for self-improvement and in improving our interpersonal connections.
We will be revisiting the 7 habits principle by Covey to improve our relationship with ourselves and others. Since the book’s release in 1989, the philosophy it teaches us has withstood the test of time—making it ever relevant, even today. When connecting with others becomes more challenging due to a series of lockdowns and the danger the COVID-19 virus poses, it is essential to remember some key life lessons that could maintain a harmonious relationship, not just with others but also with ourselves.
For the benefit of those who do not have access to the literary work, we are giving you a very brief summary of each habit. We still highly recommend you to read the book entirely to understand its principles fully. Per the author, these are the seven habits that highly effective people possess. These are the habits you can possess too.
Mastering yourself and moving from dependence to independence
Be Proactive. The first habit is simply a reminder that we are in charge. We get to choose how we’ll shape our lives and what will happen to us. This habit recommends that instead of being reactive, we should be proactive. How? Instead of accepting that there is nothing you can do, think that you have the responsibility, or, say, the “response-ability” to respond to any situations depending on the resources at hand.
As we said before, you have all the resources you need to be effective and thrive. You just have to position your mind so that your energy will focus on what you can do instead of dwelling on what you cannot.
When connecting physically with other people is a challenge, instead of thinking we can’t talk to them anymore, bridge the gap by initiating a conversation. Check up on your friends and start rebuilding that connection that the pandemic has hampered.
Gift of perception
Begin with the End in Mind. For the second habit, they always say that knowing your destination or where you are headed is already half the battle. Envisioning ourselves to reach the end of the line is an excellent habit to determine the steps we can take to get there.
It’s one thing to strive for success, achieve victories, and reach the things we want in life, but knowing what these efforts are all for is an often overlooked facet of life we need to be aware of, as well.
Put First Things First. The third habit is often one of the most common habits we tend to disregard. Having the discipline to prioritize the things we should focus on has proven to be a challenging habit for some of us, either because of distraction or fear of not knowing what to do.
Suppose the second habit suggests that we see our end goal by setting out values and boundaries to fence ourselves in to get to the finish line. In that case, the third habit is the actualization of the steps we have determined based on the second habit. The key lesson is to challenge ourselves to do what we can’t do. Of course, within the right margins, and so long as they are aligned with our values.
Schedule your priorities instead of prioritizing what’s on your schedule.
Collaborating and moving from independence to interdependence
Think Win-Win. The fourth to sixth habits all focus on pivoting from independence to interdependence. The fourth habit, simply put, suggests that in every situation, we should always try our best to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. That said, when we choose our actions, we should be mindful of the benefits of those actions and aim to ensure that others would also win.
To position our minds with this habit, we have to maintain an Abundance Mentality, or the ability to believe that we have way more than enough resources out there for everyone.
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. The fifth habit could also be a fair warning that while giving advice is a good trait, prescribing solutions without fully analyzing the problem could cause more harm than good to us and to anyone.
The fifth habit suggests the importance of understanding the situation first by emphatically listening. Then, our next goal is to be understood. Stating our ideas so that others would understand clearly helps increase the credibility of what we are suggesting.
Synergize. The sixth habit is likely one of the most important habits from Covey’s literary work. Understanding the diversity of people and ideas around us can create a culture of acceptance and inclusivity, leading to a better outcome.
Through the sixth habit, we open ourselves to new possibilities, see things from different perspectives, and collectively work towards a goal.
Continuous growth through the embodiment of all habits
Sharpen the Saw. You can think of the last habit as the blanket that covers the first six habits. Sharpening the saw is a habit that ensures your growth and learning is continuous, ever effective, and ever necessary.
Like with other self-help books, the 7 habits presented by Covey are directional principles based on facts and scientific analysis. However, nobody else knows you more than you do. Remember that you always have the power to control what you want to receive and what you want to happen with your life.
The best teacher in life is experience. So long as we hold on to our values, remain open to changes, and preserve a harmonious relationship with others, no challenge will ever be too challenging for us to handle. We often say it here, but you have all the resources you need to survive and thrive in case you forget. You are all good, whole and complete.