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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

You are what you habitually do, so adopt productive habits. You have the ability to improve your habits and your life.

Focus on developing character, not personality. 

Choose sound principles – integrity, dignity, quality, service, patience, perseverance, caring, courage – and endeavor to live by them by adopting seven habits.


990 reads

Habit 1: “Be Proactive.” You are free because you can determine how you respond to circumstances

Habit 2: “Begin with the End in Mind.” Write a personal mission statement to clarify your principles and  goals

Habit 3: “Put First Things First.” Balance the attention you give

Habit 4: “Think Win/Win.”

Habit 5: “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”

Habit 6: “Synergize.” The cooperative whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts

Habit 7: “Sharpen the Saw.” Take the time to sharpen your tools: your body, soul, mind and heart


1.01K reads

You are what you habitually do, so adopt productive habits. You have the ability to improve your habits and your life

The seven habits of highly effective people are:

  1. They take initiative. “Be proactive.”
  2. They focus on goals. “Begin with the end in mind.”
  3. They set priorities. “Put first things first.”
  4. They only win when others win. “Think win/win.”
  5. They communicate. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
  6. They cooperate. “Synergize.”
  7. They reflect on and repair their deficiencies. “Sharpen the saw.”


794 reads

Focus on developing character, not personality

Much of the business success literature of recent decades focused on developing a good personality. This emphasis is misplaced. Developing a sound character is more important and more productive. Your personality can emerge naturally when your character is rooted in and formed by positive principles. Forcing yourself to display a personality that is inconsistent with your character is like wearing a mask. It is deceptive, manipulative and ultimately destructive.


640 reads

Choose sound principles

Sound Principles:

  • integrity
  • dignity
  • quality
  • service
  • patience
  • perseverance
  • caring
  • excellence
  • courage

and endeavor to live by them by adopting seven habits


711 reads

Aristotle said...

Character is habit. Excellence is a habit, not an aptitude. As Aristotle said, we are what we habitually do. To develop the habit of acting on these principles you must:

  • Know – Understand what you want to do and why you want to do it.
  • Develop skills – Become able to do it.
  • Desire – You must want and will yourself to do it.


639 reads

Habit 1: Be Proactive

You are free because you can determine how you respond to circumstances.

Highly effective people take the initiative. They are proactive. They don’t impose limits on themselves that prevent them from acting. They recognize that they have the freedom to determine the kind of character they will have because they can decide how they will act. They may not be able to control their circumstances, but they can decide whether to use those circumstances or be abused by them. They live by the “principles of personal vision.”


480 reads

Begin to be proactive

Begin to be proactive by speaking the language of initiative and responsibility:

  • Not, I can’t do anything – but, let’s think about some possibilities.
  • Not, that’s just me – but, I can change the way I am.
  • Not, he drives me up the wall – but, I can choose how I’ll let him affect me.
  • Not, I can’t or I have to – but, I will decide and I will choose.


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Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind.

Write a personal mission statement to clarify your principles and set your goals.

Think carefully about your goals. Many people spend a lifetime pursuing a goal that proves meaningless, unsatisfying or destructive.

Effectiveness is not just a matter of reaching a goal but rather of achieving the right goal. Imagine yourself sitting in the back of the room at your funeral. Imagine what people could honestly say about you based on the way you are now. Do you like what you hear? Is that how you want to be remembered? If not, change it. Take hold of your life. Implement “personal leadership.”


383 reads

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Balance the attention you give to eacYou have the power to change who you are, but that means changing how you act. Never let your most important priorities fall victim to the least important. Many people spend their time reacting to urgent circumstances and emergencies, and never invest the necessary effort to develop the ability to prevent emergencies, to exercise “personal management.” They confuse the important with the urgent. The urgent is easy to see. The important is harder to discern.

“Effective management is putting first things first.”


363 reads

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

Multiply your allies.

In all relationships, exercise “interpersonal leadership” to make both parties winners. Two wins makes everyone better off; two losses places everyone in a worse situation.

Highly effective people strive for win/win transactions, which make it profitable for everyone to cooperate because all are better off in the end. Any other kind of transaction is destructive, because it produces losers and, therefore, enemies and bad feelings, such as animosity, defeat and hostility. Highly effective people become highly effective by multiplying their allies, not their enemies.


334 reads

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Communication and trust are two-way streets.

To develop win/win relationships, find out what the other parties want, and what winning means to them. Don’t assume you know. Listen. Always try to understand what the other people want and need before you begin to outline your own objectives. Do not object, argue or oppose what you hear. Listen carefully, and think about it. Try to put yourself in the other party’s shoes.


328 reads

Habit 6: "Synergize."

The cooperative whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Cooperation multiplies the power of one. In fact, “creative cooperation” may yield a force greater than the sum of the parts, just as an arch can support a greater weight than two pillars can hold. The arch multiples the power of both pillars. The buzzword to describe this kind of relationship is “synergy,” which means bringing together a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.

“Real self-respect comes from dominion over self.”


315 reads

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Take the time to sharpen your tools: your body, soul, mind and heart. It’s time for “self-renewal.”

Effective people take care of their bodies with a program of exercise that combines endurance, flexibility and strength. It’s easy to plan such a program, and you don’t have to join a gym to implement it. Effective people care for their souls with prayer and meditation, if they are inclined to a religiously-grounded spirituality, or perhaps by reading great literature or listening to great music. Never neglect this spiritual dimension; it provides the energy for the rest of your life.


308 reads


“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Mental repair may mean changing your habits, such as the habit of watching television. Television watching encourages passive absorption of values, attitudes and dispositions that dull the mind. Read, work puzzles, do math or engage in some challenging activity to keep your mind alert, active and engaged.


336 reads


The heart refers to emotions, which depend greatly on others. Work to develop your heart, your emotional connections and your engagement with other people.

Communicate, listen and be undemanding. In everything you do, try to make others better off and put them first.

By doing so, you’ll transform yourself into a highly effective person.


364 reads



Industrial Mastery, Mentor, Light Worker, Nutritionist, Gymrat


Popular, trusted manual for self-improvement, although you still may find some prescriptions easier to agree with than to act upon.

Curious about different takes? Check out our The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

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