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.
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
The seven habits of highly effective people are:
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.
and endeavor to live by them by adopting seven habits
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:
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.”
Begin to be proactive by speaking the language of initiative and responsibility:
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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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