Habits Of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Essay

Length: 5 pages Subject: Business - Ethics Type: Essay Paper: #78634876 Related Topics: Self Awareness, Art Appreciation, Interpersonal Communication, Effective Communication
Excerpt from Essay :

Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey analyzes the deep-rooted character traits that define a genuinely successful human being. As opposed to the personality ethic, which consists of superficial manipulative motives and offers only short-term success, Covey investigates the character ethic -- a paradigm of living which ensures long-term success by forcing a person to live by universal, enduring principles of goodness which cannot be faked.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

"Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose."

This is Covey's way of summarizing the human ability to choose how they will respond to life's challenges; an ability that is uniquely human. While other creatures are truly slaves to genetics, upbringing, and environment, human beings have the amazing capacity for self-awareness. This means we have an incredible amount of control over our own destinies; we can take a step back from ourselves and decide how we want to live out our lives, regardless of our so-called "luck." Between the time we receive a stimulus and the time when we respond to that stimulus, we have time to reflect and choose how we will approach life. This is our chance to "subordinate an impulse to a value." This is a wonderful ability to have, yet it carries a tremendous personal responsibility. We can no longer blame our genes, our parents, our boss, our job, or our neighbors for any of the choices we make in life. We must be proactively in charge and engaged at all times. Then we are in control of our own character, and nothing or no one can hurt our character unless we allow it.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Some people believe that whether we enter heaven or hell upon dying depends on the way we look back at our life. If we feel successful and loved, if we feel that we have been hard-working and true, we will feel a great joy upon dying a reflecting on our lifetime. On the other hand, regardless of our material success, if we've failed to foster deep and lasting relationships and commitments, we will likely feel a great sense of loss and bitterness at the prospect of death. This "end," the ultimate day of reckoning that determines our true success as a human being based on the values we've upheld over the years, is the idea that Covey wants us to keep in mind for Habit #2. If we keep this "end" in mind when choosing our "stimulus-responses," we are much more likely to make character-based, ethically-sound decisions that have a positive impact on our lives. If we have a mental "map" of everything we want to accomplish in life, particularly in terms of the way others will speak of us after we are gone, we will be taking a powerful personal leadership role in our own lives. We will not be subject to impulsive, emotion-based choices that seem attractive in the short-term but will backfire in the long-run. By taking advantage of our capacities for imagination, conscience, and self-awareness, we can write our own personal "script" for life, rather than being a slave to externally-imposed scripts.

We can begin this journey by focusing on the center of our "Circle of Influence" in life, or "the lens through which we see the world." From this vantage point, we need to write out a personal mission statement or personal philosophy to live by, that we can refer to at any time we feel a need for guidance. This personal mission statement should be based on the kind of person you want to be and the things you want to achieve ("roles and goals"), according to universal ethical principles. As Covey mentions, you cannot...


Some examples of faulty centers include family, money, work, possessions, pleasure, friend, enemy, church, self, or spouse. Allowing yourself to remain centered on any of these things, as opposed to principles themselves, will prevent you from becoming the most successful person you can be.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

This habit refers to the "exercise of independent will toward becoming principle-centered." In other words, now that you've chosen to take control of your life and live that life according to a set of ethical principles, it's time to apply those principles moment by moment, day by day. You achieve this practical application of principles in everyday life through effective self-management. As opposed to personal leadership philosophy, which must stem from your creative right brain, self-management must be rooted in your logical, "time-bound" left brain. Covey lists four "generations of time management" to guide this self-management, all centered around the idea of prioritization: notes and checklists, calendars and appointments, goal-setting, and a final return to focus on relationships and results. Highly effective people have learned to master the art of prioritization, or using time and energy only for relationships and projects which lead them toward their principle-centered goals. The ultimate key is always remembering that people come before things; you need to schedule, yet never lose sight of the big, long-term picture.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

Living by the win/win philosophy is the first step toward taking your newfound independence to the next level -- the level of interdependence. At this higher level, you are just as concerned with the well-being of others as you are with your own well-being and success. You know how to "take the high road," and creatively look for solutions that will benefit everyone involved. In this way, you ensure that everyone is working together and contributing their unique gifts to the task at hand, for the greater good. This means maintaining a balance between courage and consideration, following the Golden Rule, and living according to integrity, maturity and an awareness and appreciation for the abundance of life -- or remembering that "there is enough for everybody."

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

Achieving success in life means achieving success in personal relationships; success in personal relationships is achieved through effective, empathic interpersonal communication. Being empathetic means taking the time and putting forth the effort to genuinely listen and understand another person's point-of-view and emotional outlook (and keeping this in mind) before offering your own viewpoint. In this way you are offering that person a very basic human need -- psychological survival, or personal affirmation and appreciation. We cannot truly connect with another person unless we feel they fully understand and validate us as a separate person with a unique viewpoint. And only after you've successfully connected with another person, can you hope to successfully work together toward a mutually beneficial goal.

Habit 6: Synergize

Working with others toward mutually beneficial goals is at the heart of the sixth habit -- synergy. Synergizing means recognizing the value of your relationships with others in making results possible that would otherwise be impossible. Knowing that you cannot do it alone, knowing how to effectively delegate responsibilities, and practicing empathic communication puts you in a powerful, dynamic interdependent paradigm with other people, in which results are maximized and optimized through cooperation. This cooperation is based on the ability to value human differences, recognition that in order to achieve greatness, "it takes all kinds." It means letting go of our defenses and self-protections in the name of creativity and progress. It means working to find a "higher" solution to the problem that is beneficial for everyone, rather than settling for compromise.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Unless you take care of yourself by working continually to renew your physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional health, you cannot hope to maintain success as a principle-centered person. The foundation of a successful life is good health and…

Sources Used in Documents:

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Unless you take care of yourself by working continually to renew your physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional health, you cannot hope to maintain success as a principle-centered person. The foundation of a successful life is good health and positive energy; upon this foundation the other 6 habits can be built. Physical health is established and maintained through proper nutrition, regular exercise, and effective stress-management techniques. Stress-management generally goes hand in hand with spiritual health -- an appreciation for "timeless truths" about life that inspire and uplift. A healthy spirituality keeps you on the high road, focused on the universal ethical principles necessary to guide your life toward enduring success. Spiritual renewal can be gleaned from prayer, meditation, nature, books, or meaningful time spent with loved ones. Mental health does not refer to avoiding mental illness, but to keeping the mind supple and toned through regular exercise. It means choosing to view every day as a day for learning and growing mentally, for choosing to read a book and ask questions rather than passively watching television. Finally, we can support and strengthen our emotional/social health by engaging in meaningful, empathic connections with other people that reinforce our personal security. By allowing us to put our ethical principles into practice, these interactions are the great teachers of life -- the human connections that transform our rough ideas about ethics into finely carved gems of timeless truth. Only when we are secure enough to confront challenging relationships and awkward social situations can we begin to take great strides toward building a character of strength and integrity.

Covey, S.R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Free Press.

Cite this Document:

"Habits Of Highly Effective People Stephen R " (2010, December 30) Retrieved June 24, 2021, from

"Habits Of Highly Effective People Stephen R " 30 December 2010. Web.24 June. 2021. <

"Habits Of Highly Effective People Stephen R ", 30 December 2010, Accessed.24 June. 2021,

Related Documents
Stephen Coveys Book Review of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People...
Words: 1954 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Business Paper #: 13232376

Book Review of - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People- Stephen R. Covey Overview of the content Author: Stephen R. Covey Title: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Publisher: Free Press Place: New York Date of Publication: 1988 Number of Pages: 381 Covey’s work on self-improvement titled ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ is grounded in the author’s view that one’s worldview is wholly based on individual assessments. For altering any situation, there is a

Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Words: 2096 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 50889875

Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey was born in 1932 in Salt Lake City, Utah; he has his undergraduate degree (in business administration) from the University of Utah, an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a Doctorate in Religious Education from Brigham Young University. (Covey is a practicing Mormon). He is currently a professor in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

Habits of Highly Effective People
Words: 3220 Length: 12 Pages Topic: Leadership Paper #: 4488174

" Independent will is defined by Covey as "the ability to make decisions and choices and to act in accordance with them. It is the ability to act, rather than be acted upon" (148). This goes back to Covey's original principle regarding being proactive. While the ideas of being proactive and prioritizing are widely accepted as essential parts of effective management, where Covey seems to go off track a bit in

Habits of Highly Effective Families
Words: 1206 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Family and Marriage Paper #: 83275880

In this case, each chapter highlights the significance of each habit. Below, I briefly highlight each of the seven 'habits' which are amongst the basic concepts the book concerns itself with. The first habit Covey talks about in this case is being proactive. This habit underscores the importance of acting on the basis of principles as opposed to circumstance or emotion. Indeed, based on its insistence on the ability of

Stephen R. Covey's
Words: 2268 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Leadership Paper #: 92127380

Leadership at Sea and Seven Habits of Highly Effective Sailors The irony is unavoidable. I began reading Seven Habits of Highly Effective People when I was feeling at my least effective, personally, as a human being and as a child. I suppose I'm not alone in saying this, though. The fact of a parent's death makes every child feel ineffective, unable to cope with family grief and stress, as well

People in the Seven Habits
Words: 780 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 72992523

In an article by David Carlone, he measures how these principles contribute to the success of military organizations. This study was especially interesting because the participants in the military unit that Carlone studied were required to participate in a 3 day seminar where Covey's book was the central text. The military participants found team working of course particularly useful, such as those in habit 5 regarding listening and being