Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Be Proactive: a summary of the 1st of these 7 habits

Habit 1

In our society, we have accepted 3 deterministic explanations of human limitations: genetic determinism, psychic determinism and environmental determinism.

On closer examination, we discover that between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose. We don’t have to function on “auto pilot”.

Pro-activity means that, as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.

Our most difficult experiences become the crucibles forging our character and developing our inner powers.

There are three central values in life: the experiential (that which happens to us), the creative (that which we bring into existence), and the attitudinal (our response to difficult circumstances). What matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life.

Taking the initiative means recognizing our responsibility to make things happen. Use your R(resourcefulness) and I(initiative).

Pro-activity is grounded in facing reality but also understanding we have the power to choose a positive response to our circumstances.

Organizations of every kind can be proactive by combining the creativity and resourcefulness of proactive individuals to create a proactive culture within the organization.

We need to understand how we focus our time and energy to be effective. The things we are concerned about could be described as our “Circle of Concern”. There are things we can really do something about, that can be described as our “Circle of Influence”. When we focus our time and energy in our Circle of Concern, but outside our Circle of Influence, we are not being effective. However, we find that being proactive helps us expand our Circle of Influence. (Work on things you can do something about.)

Reactive people focus their efforts on the Circle of Concern, over things they can’t control. Their negative energy causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.

Our problems fall in three areas: Direct Control (problems involving our own behavior), Indirect Control (problems involving other people’s behavior), or No Control (problems we can do nothing about). Direct Control problems are solved through the private victories of Habits 1, 2 and 3. Indirect Control problems are solved through methods of influence, the public victories of Habits 4,5, and 6. No Control problems are best dealt with through attitude.

The Circle of Concern is filled with the “have” statements. The Circle of Influence is indicated by “be” statements. Anytime we think the problem is “out there,” that thought is the problem.

While we are free to choose our actions, the consequences of our actions are governed by natural law. Sometimes we make choices with negative consequences, called mistakes. We can’t recall or undo past mistakes. The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it. Success is the far side of failure.

At the heart of our Circle of Influence is our ability to make and keep commitments and promises. Our integrity in keeping commitments and the ability to make commitments are the clearest manifestations of pro-activity.

Here is a list of the 7 habits

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive

Synopsis: Take initiative in life by realizing your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Taking responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow.

  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Synopsis: Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envisioning the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

Synopsis: Planning, prioritizing, and executing your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluating if your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you towards goals, and enrich the roles and relationships elaborated in Habit 2.

The Next Three are to do with Interdependence (i.e. working with others)

  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Synopsis: Genuinely striving for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Valuing and respecting people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

Synopsis: Using empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening, take an open mind to being influenced by you, which creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

  • Habit 6: Synergize

Synopsis: Combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. How to yield the most prolific performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.

The Last habit relates to self-rejuvenation;

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

What is meant be “sharpen the saw” is to engage  the three dimensions which make up the human condition: body, mind and spirit. Take the time to become better, sharper and more effective; by continually exercising the, body, mind and spirit.

cj almeida

World News US

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