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7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen Covey

1. Be Proactive

We spend too much time worrying about things in which we have no control, things that we are unable to do anything about. Instead, focus on things that we can change. And do it proactively, before we are forced to do something about it. You have a natural need to wield influence on the world around you so don’t spend your time just reacting to external events and circumstances. Take charge and assume responsibility for your life. Expand your circle of influence.

2. Begin with the End in Mind

If we don’t know where we want to go, how will we ever get there? Envision your future using both logic and imagination. Let it be based on principles. Write down your own mission statements. Have a vision for the future and align your actions accordingly to make it into a reality.

3. Put Things First

Write down everything that you want to do. You will see that they will fall into four categories.

  • Important and Urgent
  • Important and Not Urgent
  • Not Important and Urgent
  • Not Important and Not Urgent

To prioritize your work, focus on what’s important, meaning the things that bring you closer to your vision of the future. Don’t get distracted by urgent but unimportant tasks.

4. Think Win Win

Sooner or later, we realize that we not only owe a lot to the society that we live in, we also understand that our success depends on others success. Life is not a zero-sum game. When we make it a habit to see how others can also benefit from our actions, from our decisions, we are better off for that. The world is too connected for us to think win or lose.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

When someone presents us with a problem, we often jump right to giving a solution. This is a mistake. We should first take time to really listen to the other person and only then make recommendations.

6. Synergize

Synergy changes conventional math. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Adopt the guiding principle that in a group, the contributions of many will far exceed those of any individual. This will help you achieve goals you could never have reached on your own

7. Sharpen the Saw

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Your axe is your body, mind and soul. Run. Exercise. Study. Meditate.

Don’t work yourself to death. Strive for a sustainable lifestyle that affords you time to recuperate, recharge and be effective in the long-term.

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