The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the best-selling books of the world based on Stephen Covey’s research on the most effective people of his time. Approximately one hundred and fifty million copies of this book are claimed to have been sold in recent couple of years. Men seek to show their worth and individuality in the world. They can show a very positive role in this world but the need of the time is to be sharpened and encourage people and compel them towards self-realization and self-identification. This comprehensive overview of the book insinuates towards this pursuit. This book is greatly admired by the world’s renowned figures and regarded it as a touchstone for their career development. The habits like: be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first thing first; think win win; seek first to understand then to be understood; synergize and sharpen the saw would be separately elucidated.
The seven habits move the reader through three stages that need to be concisely discussed. The very first stage is DEPENDENCE stage; the paradigm under which we borne and relying upon others to take care of us. This stage starts from our birth until soul leaves the mortal body. In early stage we depend upon our mothers’ affection and care; later on we need the love of our father, siblings then wife’s love and affection play its role and at last progeny and grandchildren. In this way this stage of life is ended.
The second stage is of INDEPENDENCE. Now under the laws we make our own decisions. This stage could normally starts after the person comes in age. This episode of life goes on and on and cannot be stopped after puberty. At this stage a person does not appreciate interference in his life. He gets his decision without any external help or dependency. This sense of freedom provides opportunity to build the path of his destination. The most important thing is; at this stage a person becomes more conscious about his decision because his one good or bad independently taken decision can make his life heaven or hell.
The third and last but not the least stage is INTERDEPENDENCE. It can be defined as the paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve certain goals and without relying upon others the target cannot be achieved independently. This stage can frequently be observed in family or professional lives of human beings. The interaction with one another; try to come with best plan to take action and without common consensus and mutual cooperation and coordination targets cannot be accomplished. Now by considering three stages of human life Dr. Covey’s groundbreaking book would be analyzed.
The very first habit under discussion in Dr. Covey’s book is ‘BE PROACTIVE’. The term ‘proactive’ is first coined by Austrian Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Victor Frankl. The use of this term in Dr. Covey’s book is very handy to the bright career seekers who have quest of making their name in the world. It enunciates about a commonly observed character flaw of the people that they are mostly observed as reactive not proactive. The proactive people always have plans to get the resolution of all sorts of new issues and challenges. Such type of people do not blame others or engage themselves in false accusations or are quarrelsome. They show sense of responsibility at every step of their lives. Bad and exceptions can confront with such people but instead of blaming the situation they look for resolutions and they respond optimistically to every stimulus.
The proactive people always BEGIN any task or activity by KEEPING THE END IN THEIR MINDS. The legendry people set their goals of life instead of acting without any proper planning. The students always face a lot of problems when it comes to develop their route maps. They know how to formulate their goals and move towards their targets without colliding with conflicts mismanagement in their lives. To grapple such situations students should construct their short-term and long-term plans and work accordingly. Short-term plans may include your weekly work plan or study plan. The long-term plans could be your future target or the position in specific field or profession you have desired to achieve. The most important thing to be considered here is, do not forget about your caliber and interest. Do not engage yourself in such tasks that are beyond your interest and mental approach. Set the goals that could be interesting and make sure that you can make long journey with that area of interest and achieve your targets. Your mission should be reach at your destination on designed time frame. Your one good decision can make you the most successful person and one mistake can fall you in the dungeons of despair and melancholy. So for setting long-term goals you have to consult with your educational or professional guru. To set goals and work on is not that much simpler thing but it is much difficult and hectic in the beginning that demands your complete engagement with enthusiasm. Moreover, there should be self-assessment and pin point the loopholes of your performance and also analyze your failures. On the basis of these results you can overcome issues and make your plans more productive.
Whatever you do, there should be order in it which Dr. Covey describes as DO FIRST THING FIRST. Thriving people have great propensity to organize themselves, synchronize tasks and work in a very scientific way. They are always unambiguous about their plans and know what should be done first by setting their priorities. They have both short-term and long-term set goal. To accomplish their targets they systemize themselves. This habit demands you to organize yourself not overlook any of your tasks inferior or less important. The task you consider less worthy might be the cause of failure in your lives. We can understand this thing by considering the common example from students’ life; they exempt a topic from their text books and do not master it for the examination because they pretend that it is least important but when they sit in the exam hall the same question is asked and they start lamenting on their imprudent act. It happens in most of the students’ lives at school, college, university exams or even in competitive job exams like CSS, FPSC, PMS etc. So, we should mind it; nothing is least or unimportant.
The habit of “THINK WIN-WIN” means we should think positively and do not try to define our successes in terms of others’ failures. Like other habits this also seeks more and more attention of the readers and the people who want to change their lives and being effective. There should not be competition and comparison among the people. If it happens, it will cause great disability in the social circles. One should never think that if other person gets more credibility or success then his credibility and success would be in question. If your success is defined on the basis of others’ failure then you do not have effective personality. In this point, Covey actually believes that there should be win-win condition. This world is not a bloody arena where you knock down your rival and show vengeance. One should be happy on one’s success.
The fifth habit which Stephen Covey discussed is to SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD. Communication is the key to success. To become a persuasive speaker, a person should have patience to listen others. The credit should be given to the speaker and should not be intercepted at any stage of his/her talk. The first and foremost obligation of the listener is to listen to the communicator with patience. When the person finishes the talks then a graceful discussion should be put forth. This mutual endurance of listening one another could instigate a sane conversation. This is the golden rule of interpersonal skills that Stephen Covey addresses in his book.
Sixth habit under discussion in the book is to SYNERGIZE which is the success achieved but putting the efforts together for a common task. This point demands mutual trust and understanding. Most of the conflicts, wars, disorders, chaos and phobias are due to misunderstanding. One should not stick with his own version of thinking but s/he should credit others’ views as well. Instead of becoming stubborn we can develop good relationship with others and create opportunities to synergy. Being a part of society we cannot ignore external influences upon ourselves. Individuals should have a close co-ordination and confidence on one another. The group of constructive minds can bring surprising changes in society. Being effective person, on should not trigger the conflicts and always avoid escalation of clashes. Instead of engaging yourself in false accusations, generalizations and indictments one should compel others to resolve the issue with mutual consensus.
It is fact that without SHARPENING THE SAW you cannot cut the wood. The meaning between the lines is to make your plan and prepare yourself for the task. This would be the most rigorous way to achieve your desired targets. A hilarious story of woodcutter nincompoop is shared who does not sharp the blade of his saw and tries to cut the tree. He spends a lot of time but could not achieve his goal because his saw was unsharpened.
This brief essay gives a glance of the Covey’s book. Counselors, professionals and students are suggested to read this book for further understand.
- Book of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”