A Reflection on Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Life is about making choices. Life does not just “happen”. We are free to choose what we want to do but we cannot choose the consequences of our actions. Each situation is an opportunity to do things differently to produce positive results.

The book of Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has become a framework for personal development. The concepts may be used for life in general and help people develop, change, and become better in life. The concepts are easy to understand that it is even taught starting at preschool of a certain school in Malaybalay City. The mentoring continues on to high school with the school’s desire to develop in the students essential life skills and characteristics needed to mold future leaders.

Fortunate are these children to be provided the opportunity to gain knowledge of Covey’s guiding tenets for personal growth. Here is a summary of the 7 habits.

Habit 1: Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for our life. Instead of blaming circumstances over which we have little or no control, to be proactive is to focus on things we can do something about.      

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind is to envision something that we want to achieve.

Habit 3: Put First Things First is to focus on those things that are most valuable to us.  All we need to do is concentrate on our priorities.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win pursues mutual benefit in all human relations. This promotes solutions that will be advantageous to everyone involved.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood gives more consideration on understanding the other person’s sentiments over ours. It is listening with empathy and putting oneself in the perspective of the other person.

Habit 6: Synergize is to sincerely interact with other people. It is putting their knowledge together to produce better results than they individually can.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw is the foundation for personal effectiveness. It is necessary to keep a balance of the four areas of our life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

I had my first encounter with Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People at the school where my children go. The concepts seemed so challenging to understand at first. But after realizing that these were taught to students as young as preschool I developed an interest in gaining a better understanding of it. I have to personally learn these principles if I want to assist my children in their personal growth.

It is quite challenging to live in these demanding times. Our children need to be suitably prepared for the 21st century and we ourselves must have the resiliency to endure life’s tests. Though some things are beyond our control, there are similarly other things that we have the power to change.

What we can control is our responses towards certain situations. We can develop a positive response for it like having the resourcefulness and initiative to find solutions instead of waiting for other people to solve them. This promotes efficiency at work.

Most of the time we tend to try to do everything that comes our way. We race with the clock to accomplish everything on our desks even to the extent of sacrificing health and family. We fail to realize that we do not need to unnecessarily overstretch ourselves. Prioritizing things is also managing our time.

When competition is stiff, people strive to gain success at the expense of others. One of the habits encourages a win-win approach to solving problems. It is having a balance between courage for acquiring what we want and consideration of what others want. This creates harmonious relationships at work and elsewhere.

As we go through life’s process we gain experiences and develop different competencies through them. Through mutual trust people can be open to each other’s influence. Individual differences can create something greater than each of our own potential. More ideas will yield better outcome.

Lastly, our selves are our greatest asset. It is vital that we undertake self-renewal and maintain wellbeing. When we keep ourselves fresh and renewed we improve our ability to handle the challenges around us.

        Administrative Assistant III