‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ — Book by Stephen Covey


I am sure many of you may have come across this book much earlier than today and I will not be surprised if you consider it, like I do, as one of the most effective books on personal change.

Succeeding in life or business is an aspiration of every person and one path to success is to identify the habits that can help us on our journey.

Stephen Covey’s self-help book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ has outlined seven key habits for becoming more effective in our personal and professional lives. I am a firm believer that change starts from within and by applying Covey’s concept of change from inside out (adopting these principles into our basic personality) we can win victories in our public life.

Here are the life-changing lessons from the classic ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.

1.Be proactive

The word proactive means creating a situation rather than just responding to whatever has happened. We are the script writers, much in control of our lives and we refuse to be the victim of circumstances. We need to proactively work on things that we can change and take responsibility for our choices.

On the other hand, reactive people have a victim mind-set. They believe they are at the mercy of a situation and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it.

2. Begin with the end in mind

Visualize a clear picture of your goal or destination. Then carefully plan each move to achieve a step closer towards your goal by reverse engineering mechanism, working piece by piece, to make that goal a reality. Let this long-term vision be the inner guide to take you in the right direction towards your goal.

3. Put first things first

In order to manage ourselves effectively, we must prioritize our daily tasks based on two primary factors: urgency and importance, which need to be constantly evaluated when it comes to our actions. By organizing your tasks, you can manage time and set into a discipline regime.

Covey calls it the “four quadrants of time-management” stated below.


Quadrant 1: Important, Urgent
Quadrant 2: Important, Not Urgent
Quadrant 3: Not Important, Urgent
Quadrant 4: Not Important, Not urgent

4. Think win-win

In order to establish effective relationships, we must create a win-win situation that is beneficial to both parties.

The win-win thought liberates us from the self-serving objective to manipulate people and push our own agenda. We need to be clear and genuine in our dealings with due consideration to other parties. Another important takeaway is to have an ‘abundance mentality’ - the belief that there is plenty out there for everyone and expand the pie for yourself and others.

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

We must first understand what people have to say by being an empathetic listener, before we offer unsolicited advice or solutions to people.
Unfortunately, we do not practice this while we interact with others. We rarely diagnose the problem and are in haste to prescribe a solution.
We must practice the art of listening to understand and not to reply. With this change you will see dramatic results such as improved communication and trust in relationships.

6. Synergize

Synergy is when one plus one equals three or more and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With a spirit of cooperation, we must leverage each other’s insights and knowledge and create synergy.
In real essence, we must understand and value differences between people, which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and acceptance.

7. Sharpen the saw

There is no finishing line for self-improvement, and we need to piously devote the time to renew (sharpen) ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. This is the base for all other habits, by preserving and developing - yourself.

Eating well, exercising, meditating, reading good books, forming meaningful relationships and improving others’ lives are few ways we can enrich our mind and life.

I did find the book relatable and I saw my own values and principles ingrained in many of them. If you are yet to read this book, then do get hold of this book, and incorporate these actionable habits into your day-to-day life, to transform into a more effective person.