Habit 1: Be proactive
Some examples of being proactive are — reaching out to your peer a few days ahead of a project deadline to check on their progress and offer support. Blocking time on your manager’s calendar well in advance to review an important project.
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
Now imagine you’re at a funeral, but this one’s different from all the funerals
you’ve ever been to. You’re standing over the casket and you see yourself. What do you have to say about yourself? This is one of the most powerful questions you could ask.
Are you doing the things in your life, which are aligned with what you want to be able to say?
Do you want to say that you were a good spouse?
If that’s the case, how does coming home and instantly being negative
towards your spouse affect that? Do you want to be remembered as a person who added value to society? If that’s the case, are you doing the things that will allow you to say that, or are you scared of failure and choose comfortable mediocrity instead? Almost every one of us will have to readjust how we live when we ask that question.
Habit 3: Put first things first
Now if I were to ask you, “What are the most important things to you?” The most common answers I would get would be either your wellbeing or your relationships — your family. You would never ever say, “watching TV…” But how many of us spend more time watching TV or procrastinating than planning our nutrition and going to the gym, or cultivating a healthy family environment? There’s a terrible disconnect between what we say and how we actually spend our time.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Now imagine you’re an author, and I’m an author. And We both write interesting books, and we both have access to an audience of about 100,000 people. I read your book and I love it. So I decided to share it with my audience. And as a result, you now have 1,000s of people buying your book and reading your ideas. You see this and think, “Who is this guy? Let me take a look at his book.” You start reading my book and think I have ideas that are valuable. So you decide to share it with your audience. And as a result, I now have 1,000s of people buying my book and reading my ideas. Notice how different this is from my creating a little creepy Amazon account, finding your book, and leaving a bad review, hoping that this will deter a few people from buying your book, which will in turn somehow get them to buy my book.
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Stop thinking of everything as a zero-sum game. For you to win, another person does not have to lose. Something I want my readers to do is to follow my medium account, but you will never hear me say, “Well, I worked really hard guys. I dedicated so many hours to this. Please follow.” Look, who cares if I worked hard? Who cares if I’ve spent days creating this post?
The real questions are, does it offer value to you? And Why should you dedicate your time to subscribing, when you could be doing anything else that you want?
Habit 6: Synergize
Now imagine there are two people and a tree with five apples on it. They are both too short to reach the apples, but if one of them sits on the other’s shoulders, he can reach all five of the apples. This is called synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Now I’ll be the first to admit that you can’t achieve this with everyone, but you should always be looking for opportunities to create synergy. With every synergistic opportunity you create, you can gather many more apples than you otherwise would by yourself.
Habit 7: Sharpen the saw
A man has been trying to cut down a tree for hours. And after a while, his neighbor can’t take it anymore, goes over and says, “You know, if you sharpen the saw, you’ll be able to cut it down faster.” And the man replies, “But, sharpening the saw is going to take time.” Now we might laugh at this story, but we do the same thing all the time. We can’t find 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week to go to the gym. Our health deteriorates to a point, where we’re physically incapable of being effective. We can’t read a book for 15 minutes a day and mentally stimulate ourselves. No! These things take too much time! And then we have the audacity to ask for little tips and tricks on how to be effective. It’s like telling your engineer, “Don’t worry about the foundation, where can we get the magic bricks that will float in the air?”
These are the 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey.