Book Review: The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

One day, a while ago, a major computer company held a two-day seminar on how to become a more effective resource for the company, and the funny thing was that the conference focused on just seven items.

How we all wondered, could someone become successful using just seven items? We all asked – at the start of the seminar, anyway – how it was possible. Why one could think, there must be at least 10 or 15 measures and ways to become effective.

That was before we were introduced to an international bestseller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, a highly perceptive work by Stephen Covey. Covey spent hours studying the interactions of individuals and groups and found that, believe it or not, that there were seven key habits that, when workers made them part of their lives, made them better workers.

Covey, widely respected in leadership, has found that effective leadership cuts across professional and personal life and those who are best able to integrate the habits he has found for success are usually not only the leaders of a particular group but also always called upon to help with projects as they arise.

One secret that Covey does share is what he calls the “paradigm shift.” He believes that before you can become effective in your work or home life, you must realize how the world actually works, and that is the “paradigm shift” you must make.

The shift affects how you look at work and work time and how you look at your home life and your home time. In order to make each better, you must work to your fullest potential in the office. The same is true at home; before you become a better father or husband, you must learn how to use your time much more effectively. Time use is one of the seven key habit changes we have to make.

Another is just two words “positive thinking.” For example, a seminar leader may ask after taking a drink of water “Is this glass half-full or half-empty?” Usually, that elicits a few laughs or coughs but then some brave soul will answer “It’s half empty, of course, you’ve just drunk half of it” The instructor then replies: “You can look at it the other way, there’s still half-a-glass of water available for you to drink so isn’t the glass half-full?” It’s just that little shift in thinking the positive versus the negative view that makes Covey’s work important because it shows you that just a simple change in perception can change the outcome of anything, provided you are ready to make the leap and say: “You know, he (the instructor) is right.” And, once you’ve made that shift, nothing can stop you from achieving success.

This is not an easy book to understand and may take you two or three passes through it to understand and make the changes you must make in your time management skills or your power to be proactive, however, once you’ve mastered all seven (we’ve only touched on a couple here) parts of your life, you’ll find your work and home life should be much better.


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