The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“We shall never cease from striving – and the end of all our striving is to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.” -TS Eliot

Stephen Covey passed on today at 79.

The following is pulled from his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I admit to have gleaned a few important morsels out of this book when a coach made me read it in college. I”m banking you will get something from it to.

Dont forget to “sharpen the saw.”

(The first three habits are called “Character ethics.” The second three habits are called “Personality ethics”)

#1 Be Proactive – Take responsibility for your own life: Have a Personal Vision

-behavior based on value vs feelings based on conditions
-proactive people carry the weather within (no such thing as bad weather) them and make the best of situations. Reactive people go the other way. Rainy day ruins everything.
-dont blame other people and circumstances for your happiness
-you have the power to choose
-your basic nature is to act and not be acted upon

Example: Man’s Search For Meaning By Victor Frankel
-how you deal with suffering
-the last ultimate freedom – “They could hurt my body.. but not hurt me”
-Conclusion: You are responsible for your own happiness and fulfilment

#2 Begin with the end in mind: Leadership Habit

-write you value system
-top line – what is it that we’re fundamentally about?
-dont tie yourself to history but to potential

#3 First thing first: Management Habit

-manage things but LEAD people. Dont manage people.
-can take control of time and events – as seeing how they relate to you mission
-reorganizing your life around your mission and then having the discipline to make it happen
-important vs urgent – must act upon it. Ringing phone.
Quadrant 1: urgent + important
Quadrant 2: not urgent + important: exercise, reading, relationships, education, etc
Quadrant 3: urgent + not important
Quadrant 4: not urgent + not important


#4 Think Win-Win
-agree to communicate until “we can find a solution we both feel good about”
-create new options – new alternatives

#5 Seek First to Understand… Then to be Understood
-Example: Try – “let me listen to you first”
-As opposed to the “collective monologue/ dialogue of the deaf”
-first listen – then talk

#6 Creative Synergy
-Creative solutions
-compromise = 1+1 = 1.5
-synergy = 1+1 = 5
-better solutions than alone
-authority vs martyrdom – win-lose or lose-win
-create Win-win OR no deal
-if we cannot get to win win – then lets go for no deal
-approach synergy with an abundance mentality

#7 Self Renewal: Sharpening the Saw
-Review and renew – teach then live

Common sense is NOT common practice


You can purchase Covey’s book here
And watch a great little video about “The Big Rocks” here

55 Responses to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  1. Croquis July 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    So agree with those points.
    Be Proactif if you want to gain time, be efficient and produce.

  2. John Barclay July 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    His landmark book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is still one of the best books I’ve ever read. Highly recommended. He will be missed.

  3. Nathaniel Dodson July 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Being proactive and having grit & persistence is huge!
    Great post, Chase. Stephen Covey was a smart man.

  4. Braden Talbot July 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    7 Habits was my first self-help books almost a decade ago. I’m not so much into it anymore, but it changed my life tremendously (paradigm shifts).

    Sad day,

  5. faisal July 17, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    That is a lot of activities and well needed to ensure a good and long successful stint at what you do.

  6. jason (AEPOC) July 17, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    “agree to communicate until “we can find a solution we both feel good about” Love that one.

  7. ERDOĞAN USTA July 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm #


  8. Girish July 18, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    Haven’t read that book, but I will now, have to borrow it from my father.

    I saw Guy Kawasaki’s interview and then bought the book Enchantment, it has helped me lot. Am sure this book will too.

    RIP Stephen Covey

  9. jon chiang July 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    I can’t believe this post only has 9 comments!

    Such an influential book, a must read.

  10. Matt Smith July 19, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Another solid book find from a CV post. Good stuff.

  11. jlawr July 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    I met Stephen Covey once at one of his conferences about twenty years ago.
    He said the thing he feared most was “entropy’ If you don’t work the plan every day — all turns to chaos.
    He could never make companies create the “habit of success”
    Tamara Lackey recently said, “Willingness is endless, but will power runs out.
    …so hard to keep trying daily

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