PHPB Book Club: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Review

Seven Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has always struck my interest because in my world being able to do more with the amount of time I have is high on my priority list.  The book does give some clear instruction on structuring your life to find more time for the most important things, but the biggest and best surprise of the book was how it reframes how you look at life, starting with you and moving to impact the family, relationships, and businesses around you.  It is no wonder why this book is a classic as it empowers a way to think about the solutions of life instead of the problems that are sure to come.  Within the seven habits described of the book are practical examples as well as instructions on how to get started in actually appalling the habits to your own life.  As a basis covers the root of the problem and explores how it can be addressed through developing the habits focused on in the book

Paradigms: In this section you begin to rethink problems as external forces and internalize the role you play in seeing and fixing the problem.  Through the process of moving to a principle centered paradigm in which to see the world the shift can occur to change perceptions, ourselves and eventually situations.

Habit 1: Be Proactive – This habit focuses on how to take what is going on externally and processing what can be done internally that essentially makes you a proactive person.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind – As a kid I always cheated when it came to mazes and started at the exit.  Something about the process gave some clarity and seemed to make the path to get back to the beginning crystal clear.  Likewise in life we can start off heading towards a goal but get lost in the activity trap that leads to a dead end.  This step walks through the way to visualize the goal in mind and then creating a physical path to that goal.

Habit 3: Put First things First – This is the action component to the first two steps as you take a long look at why you are missing out on your effectiveness possibility.  By becoming more of a self-manager in planning roles, goals and scheduling you can adapt to the things that are really most important in your life on a daily basis.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win – This habit moves from the inside out wins and begins to impact those you interact with.  While the position between two people can vary with those who lose and those who win, this habit sets a definitive goal of win/win where both parties have a mutual benefit.  By building character, relationships, and agreements you can use this principle to springboard into relationships of tremendous synergy.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood – Instead of believing you have to put yourself first to win, this habit focuses on reaching goals of interdependence starting from others perspectives.  By learning to listen empathically you risk vulnerability but gain the ability to identify the needs of others and move them towards the steps to satisfy them which is true motivation.

Habit 6: Synergize – The truth is two heads are better than one and when you focus on synergy you get a result of parts that are unified and power unleashed so the whole is better.  By valuing the differences in others you can begin to build trust in the relationships and communications that open up creative possibilities.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – As we see in the season, the world is made to renew itself, so why should we be any different.  The final habit builds all the other habits because it focuses on putting yourself in a constant process of renewal of your physical, mental, spiritual, and social/emotional components.  Allowing myself this “empower hour” every day to continue my development to be a better person has been one of the most rewarding gifts this book has to offer for me.

What I thought would be a book on how to fit more in a day turned out to be a book that unlocked possibilities on how to motivate myself and others to work smarter, not harder towards the goals I have for my life.  This book is a great one to shed insight on yourself and others and provides some real life instructions on the road to being the best you can be.