7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I’m sure many of you have already heard of Stephen R. Covey, but if you have not I hope you can come to learn a little bit more about him here and in this book. He graduated with an MBA from Harvard, and later received his PhD from BYU. He also spent much of his time “sharpening his saw” as a professor of organizational behavior and business management. Throughout his lifetime, Covey managed an empire that did over $1.4 billion dollars from his ideas. In 1997 he merged with Franklin Quest to form Franklin Covey, a company that does consulting and seminars based on the teachings and ideas of Covey.
This book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, has sold more than 25 million copies since it was first published in 1989. In addition to this book, Covey also wrote more than 10 other books, both in the self-help and gospel genres. In 1996 Time Magazine named him one of the top 25 most influential people. Unfortunately, Covey passed away in 2012, but his ideas and legacy live on. 7 Habits continues to be a best-seller, and year after year more people are learning and embracing the ideals and habits/values he popularized.
Easily the most impactful part of this book for me was the section about creating mission statements. Like I mentioned in my review of The School of Greatness, I believe a personal mission statement should be something that everyone has. After The School of Greatness I wrote a couple of values that I thought were good, but after writing them I’ll admit I forgot about them. This book really drove home the importance of living with a purpose, living intentionally, and I was motivated to create a brand new one. I also loved that he went into details about how to write both personal and organizational mission statements and that he explained they should include both what you want to be and what you want to achieve.
It was really hard to narrow down what I wanted to include in the highlights section, because I loved this entire book. The other section that clear stood out to me, though, is the Circle of Influence. Covey explains that everyone has a Circle of Concern, and a Circle of Influence. The Circle of Concern consists of everything that may impact our lives, such as health, war, natural disasters, economic situations, etc. The Circle of Influence consists of the concerns that we have direct influence of. Too often we focus on things that affect us but that we can do nothing about. Instead, we need to solely focus on what we can control, because if we don’t we will feel totally helpless and lose our motivation.
After reading 7 Habits I took time to meditate and think before I wrote my new personal mission statement and ended up writing a one-page personal statement that I reflect on constantly. That one little assignment that was recommended and explained in 7 Habits will have a lasting impact on how I live my life and make my decisions my entire life. That one chapter was worth the book for me. Add in the fact that there were 6 other habits that I learned about, and this book is by and far once of the best bangs for your buck that you can find. If you apply what you learn you will also change your paradigm and mindset for life.
I also have made more of a focused effort to be more proactive instead of being reactive. I talked about how I now focus on effort-based goals instead of result-based goals in a recent blog post, because I feel more in control of the situation when I do so. And when I focus on what I control, I believe that the results naturally will follow. As long as I focus on what I can control and put the effort in. If you haven’t seen already, that has been a change in mindset that I have consistently mentioned, and I was inspired and motivated from this book. There are so many good things I can say about it, but I’ll end with this: Everyone should have a personal copy of this book. Please, do yourself a life-changing favor and buy your copy now.
My goal this year is to focus more on what I can directly control, instead of what affects me, but that I can do nothing about. With that in mind, I am going to make a renewed effort to make sure my One Big Thing I plan each night to complete the next day is something I can be proactive about and isn’t dependent on anyone else’s work. That way I am applying the principles of proactivity and only focusing on my Circle of Influence as well.
After reading this book, I understand why it has had such longevity on the best-seller lists. This book changed the way that I go about my life. It forced me to re-evaluate the values that I had previously established in my life, usually unintentionally, and to re-create those values and habits intentionally. If this was the only book I read this year, I would have already changed my mindset more than any other single year of my life. The impact of this book is directly correlated to the amount of intentional effort you put into learning and applying what is taught here. If you don’t take the steps you won’t like this book, because the power isn’t felt until you see the changes in your life by applying the principles within. I don’t know what else I can say. Go buy this book today. Invest in yourself and in your life. This book gets a 9.5/10.
Top 8 Quotes
“Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.”
“The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good.’”
“The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct, and learn from it. This literally turns failure into success.”
“Our most difficult experiences become the crucibles that forge our character.”
“Until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’”
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to respond.”
“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it.”
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”
Read this book? Have any questions or thoughts? Leave a comment below!
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