7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey’s legendary book certainly holds some powerful lessons. The book serves as an excellent foundation for someone interested in self-improvement.
However, reading the book now—almost three decades after publication—the ideas discussed have permeated self-improvement culture so much that I felt most of them have lost their powerful effect.
The seven habits are undoubtable a solid foundation to a highly effective person. If the reader is not already familiar with these concepts, it would be a profound read. Even for someone more in tune with the self-improvement studies, having Covey’s tested formula spelled out is still beneficial.
There is one particularly useful tool Covey introduces that is not included as a habit. The four-quadrant time management chart stands out as an essential practice for effective people in today’s overly “busy” world. Again, this concept isn’t new, but his inclusion was a perfect fit for shaping effective people.
It fits—of course—with the “Put First Things First” habit but acts as an actionable tool to implement immediately. I’ve used this technique in the past and it serves as a good reminder to keep checking tasks—especially recurring tasks—against this four-quadrant exercise.
My favorite of the habits discussed is “Think Win Win.”
This is a concept that was first introduced to me at my current company. Priority Communications operates constantly under the what they call the Win-Win-Win philosophy. Everything we do is passed through this filter.
Is it a win for the audience?
Is it a win for the advertiser?
Is it a win for the company?
This concept should be far reaching. It syncs up with the Synergy habit appropriately.
One of my favorite quotes about this is by Gary Vaynerchuck, owner of the disruptive marketing agency Vayner Media.
He says, “I want to build the biggest building in town, by actually building the biggest building in town. Stop tearing down everyone else's buildings. That’s loser shit. If you are a true winner - just build it.”
One of my constant anxieties was reinforced by the “Begin with The End In Mind” habit.
This is something that clicked with me a few years ago and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since. It’s allowed me to live in a state of good character but has exasperated my inability to choose a direction in life.
It’s problem I can live with, however. After all, if I can live a directionless life and be good to others in the process, that is still a life worth living.
Covey’s book was a difficult read for me.
I read a lot of books in this category and his writing style wasn’t particularly engaging. Because the ideas are foundational to most contemporary self-improvement concepts, they didn’t come through as profound.
However, when it comes to being an effective person of good character, it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher.