Recent times have seen an intense reaction to events and issues that have modified, or in some cases severely disrupted our lives. Being in constant reaction to situations and forces that are outside of our control can make people feel powerless and, at times, even lost. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is particularly relevant at this time due to the need of individuals and leaders to refocus and clearly prioritize the aspects of life and business that are the most important. Stephen Covey’s timeless volume successfully challenges the reader to consider their actions and intentions from the perspective of personal control and strategies for living life with purpose.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People provides the reader with a very simple and straightforward set of suggestive affirmations to be used as a guide for regaining personal initiative and control over the many demands and pressure that come with all aspects of life. Many who have used the knowledge contained with the volume for decades as a “guide” for personal and professional success, describe the I Seven Habits as a method for reorienting themselves with regard to “what matters most” when the pressures and challenges of life are most difficult.
1. Be Proactive
2. Begin with the End in Mind
3. Put First Things First
4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
7. Sharpen the Saw
Chapter by chapter Covey explains in detail how the seven principles are to be interpreted and put to use to assist the reader in prioritizing their time in line with their values and to evaluate the ever-increasing demands upon one’s life. He is especially effective in helping the reader to understand the relative importance and perceived urgency of those activities and requirements that can skew the priorities of our work and private lives.
The mantra of “self-mastery”, or controlling and prioritizing those items in life which lead to the greatest levels of self-actualized success, permeates the book. Strategies for effective planning and goal setting are clearly illustrated as Covey moves the reader through Habits 1, 2, and 3 which focus on moving one from a state of dependence toward independence”. Habits 4, 5, and 6 help the reader to develop Teamwork, Communication, and Collaborative skills. Habit Seven, Sharpen the Saw, blends the previous six and focuses the reader on a path to continuous growth and improvement.
The book is not only informative and instructive, but it is also uplifting. When the reader completes the text, they feel armed to approach life and the world of work with a new set of strategies for success. Many who have embraced the principles of the book read it multiple times and find the content affirming. A strong testimonial from a highly effective CEO encourages future leaders to not only read the book but re-read it at least once yearly to “sharpen the saw”. The Seven Habit of Highly Effective People is a classic volume on the strategies that help both leaders and people wishing to align their life with purpose, and become successful.