Originally released in 1989, Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was one of the most popular personal development guides of the 90’s. It has sold over 15 million copies and is still as relevant today as it was in 1989.
The basic idea is that when people face problems in life, they often don’t approach them in an organized, consistent, or productive manner. Covey reveals seven helpful tips for dealing with problems – and with life in general – more effectively. The self-help guru instructs readers on how to develop habits that will help you be productive independently as well as habits that will enhance your ability to be productive with others. As Covey explains it, his book will both help you achieve independence and interdependence – and its success in doing so is why it has been revered by millions as life-changing.
So just what are the seven habits? First, Covey tells readers to be proactive. Your life doesn’t just happen and he explains that you have to make sure you consistently take the necessary action to make it so. Next, Covey says to begin with the end in mind. That means that it’s important to think with imagination and to plan, maybe even to develop a personal mission statement.
For habit three, Covey talks about the importance of putting first things first. To live a productive life, you need to prioritize. For the next habit, the author talks about the benefits of thinking in terms of win-win, or thinking about the most positive way in which a situation can benefit everybody. Next, he says that it is important to understand first before seeking to be understood.
For the last two habits, Covey talks about the importance of synergizing, or engaging in creative cooperation and also the importance of engaging in regular self-renewal efforts or “sharpening the saw.”
If you read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and find that you like it, there’s more where that came from. In 2004, Covey published The Eighth Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. The Eighth Habit deals with personal development in terms of finding your own voice and helping others to find their own voice.