Monday, 26 July 2010

Review of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in March 2007, however I loved it so much that I decided to write a review about it this year. This wonderful book is very inspirational and summarises the 7 habits you need as follows:

Habit 1: Be Proactive. The difference between people who exercise initiative and those who don't is a 5000-plus percent difference in effectiveness. It takes initiative to develop the Seven Habits and each depends on the development of a person's proactive muscles.

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind. Imagine that you are attending your own funeral, you saw your family, friends and colleagues were there. What would you like them to say about you? What character, contributions and achievements would you want people to remember about you?

This habit has reminded me the of story of how the Nobel Prize was founded. Alfred Nobel was a chemist, engineer and inventor. He amassed a fortune during his lifetime mostly through his 355 inventions including dynamite.

In 1888, when he was 55 years old, one day he had the very unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary, titled “The Merchant of Death is Dead” from a French newspaper. He was remembered as the inventor of dynamite, which was used in wars and explosions to kill lots of people. In fact, it was his brother Ludvig who had died, the newspaper made a mistake.

Alfred Nobel was greatly disturbed and disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will, he died at the age of 63. His last will requested that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer “The Greatest Benefit on Mankind” in physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine, literature and economic sciences. In June 1900, four years after Alfred Nobel's death, the Nobel Foundation was founded and since then it has become the most prestigious award in the world.

Habit 3: Put First Things First. Prioritise the things that are in line with your goals and commit your time and effort to these things. If you prioritise things then you will get done the most important things first.

Learn to manage your time, delegate responsibilities, organise your next week's roles and goals by writing them down and commit yourself with action.

Habit 4 : Think Win/Win. Stephen Covey states that “Win/Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win/Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan.”

Habit 5: See First to Understand, Then to be Understood. “Although it is risky and hard, seek first to understand, or diagnose before you prescribe, is a correct principle manifest in many areas of life.”

Habit 6: Synergize. It is the principle of creative cooperation and can catalyse, unify and unleash the greatest power within people.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. “It is presenting and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you. It is renewing the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional.”

    1) The Physical Dimension. This includes getting sufficient nutrition by eating the right foods, such as eating wholegrain food, fish, seafood, lean meat, and eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

    Getting sufficient rest and relaxation is an important part of stress management.No body can work like a machine so regular time off at the weekends and taking regular holidays can only increase your energy and creativity.

    Regular exercise can increase your energy level and therefore can increase your efficiency and effectiveness.

    Once, I had a cold for two weeks and therefore I could not do my regular jogging or do any exercises. During this period of time, I felt very tired during the day time and my energy level was very low. When I got back to regular jogging once I had I recovered, I immediately felt my energy level improve dramatically and as a consequence my effectiveness went up.


    2) Spiritual Dimension. This includes value clarification and commitment, study and meditation.


    3) The Mental Dimension. Reading, visualizing, planning and writing. We need to develop the habit of reading good books, this means books that can change our mindset and life. Personal development, financial education, wealth management, business, property investment and internet related books have changed my mindset and life completely.

    Visualization can help you to see the future, but without planning, it is difficult to achieve your goals. Writing can help you to increase your mental sharpness and you can share your experience, opinions, ideas and emotions with the world.


    4) The Social and Emotional Dimension. This includes service, empathy, synergy and intrinsic security. Stephen Covey believes that a life of integrity is the most fundamental source of personal worth. Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.

I often go through these 7 Habits so I can continuously improve myself to be a highly effective and efficient person.