The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #3

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Below are my personal notes of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books

In a Nutshell: An approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what the author Steven Covey calls the “true north” principles based on a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.

We see the world not as it is, but as we are

Principles: guidlines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring permanent value.

Correct maps (principles) will indefinetly impact our personal and interpersonal effectiveness far more than any amount of effort expended on changing our attitudes and behaviors

Sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny

Habit needs:

  1. Knowledge: what to do and why
  2. Skill: how to do it
  3. Desire: Motivation, want to do

If I am an interdependent person, I am self reliant, but I realize that out combined effort can reap more than either one of us alone

Effectiveness is the P/PC balance, production and productive capacity. 

Our most important financial asset is our own ability to learn, our individual PC

The gate of individual change can only be opened from the inside

“That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value.”

Private Victory

    Habit 1: Be Proactive

  • You decide within yourself how things will effect you
  • Between stimulus and response man has the ability to choose
  • Proactive people are driven by values, values carefully thought about, selected and internalized
  • Its not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us
  • What matters most is how we respond to what we experience in life
  • Love is a verb, reactive people make it a feeling
  • Proactive people work within their circle of influence, things they can change.
  • The circle of Influence is filled with be’s (I can be patient, wise and loving)
  • We are responsible for controlling our lives and influencing our circumstances by working on our be’s
  • 2 ways of putting ourselves in control, 
    • making a promise and keeping it
    • Set a goal and work to achieve it. 
  • Mistakes must be acknowledge, if not the mistake becomes self deceiving to yourself and to others. This extrapolates the mistake in the first place and causes further injury

    Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

  • Begin today with the image, picture or paradigm of the end of your life as your frame of reference
  • To begin with the end in mind is to have a clear understanding of your destination
  • It means to know where you’re going so you can better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction
  • All things are created twice, there is a mental, first creation (blueprint), and a physical second creation
  • Accept responsibility for both creations
  • We are either the second creation of our own proactive design or the second creation of other peoples agendas, circumstances or past habits
  • Be proactive and recognize you are the creator, then create the first creation
  • Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things
  • Clarify values, then set and achieve goals
  • Personal mission statement: focus on what you want to be (character)and to do (contributions and achievements) and the value s/principles upon which being and doing are based
  • People can’t live with change if there isn’t a changeless core inside of them, a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you valueOur security comes from principles that do not change. Principles don’t change, our understanding of them does. 
  • An effective goal focuses on results, it identifies where you want to be and determines where you are. It gives important information on how to get there and tells you when you’ve arrived. It translates into daily activites so that you’re proactive and making your personal mission statement truer each and every day. 
  • Remember: No involvement, no commitment. 

    Habit 3: Put First Things First

  • After understanding you are the creator (Habit 1) by being proactive and taking control, and setting your sights on where you want to go (Habit 2), create the 2nd of the 2 creations. 
  • The successful person has the habit of doing things failures don’t, the successful don’t necessarily like to do it, but they have a burning yes, a mission, values, that direct them to do what most are unwilling to do. 
  • Organize and execute around priorities. 
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  • Importance has to do with results, it contributes to your mission, your values and your goals.
  • We react to urgent matters, Quadrant II activites require more inituative, proactivitey, they are opportunites waiting to be seized. 
  • Spending more time on Quadrant II shrinks Quadrant I
  • Quadrant II activities include
    • Building Relationships
    • Writing a personal mission statement
    • Long range planning
    • Exercising
    • Preventative maintenance, solving issues at its root
    • Preperation
  • In order to say “no” to unimportant activites, you need a burning “yes” for something else
  • The key is not to prioritize whats on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. 
  • Stewardship delegation is focused on results, not methods. 
    • General objectives of stewardship are:
      • Desired Results
      • Guidelines: Tell them what not to do but not what to do
      • Accountability: Set up standards of performance
      • Consequences: Both good and bad
    • Stewardship is a job with trust. 
    • The steward becomes his own manager, guided by a conscience that contains agreed upon results. It releases creative energies
    • The more capable the steward, the less guidlines are needed
    • Inform them on why a task is important, and they’ll be more likely to do a better job. 

Public Victory:

    Private Victory precedes public victory. Self mastery and self dicipline are key to good relations with others

    The Emotional Bank Account: Amount of trust in a relationship

  • 6 Major Deposits:
  1. Understand the Individual: Do something that touches on their needs and interests. Make whats important to them as important to you
  2. Attend to the Details: Perform small acts of consideration/kindness
  3. Keep Commitments
  4. Clarify Expectations: Have the courage to clarify roles and goals
  5. Show Personal Integrety: Conform reality to your words, fulfill expectations. Be loyal to those not present.
  6. Apologize Sincerely For Any Breach of Trust

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

  • Win/Win: A mindset that pursues mutual benefits in all human interactions
    • There is plenty for everybody
    • Its not your way or my way, its a better way
    • See most of life as not a competition
  • Think long term in terms of relationships. If a deal is made in which prevents repeat business, this Win/Lose becomes a Lose/Lose in the long run
  • Win/Win Agreements require: high character, high trust relationships and agreed upon standards.
    • Character: 
      • Integrety: Defined and executed internal values
      • Maturity: Balance between courage and consideration in relationships. Must have the courage to express what you want while considering the wants of others
      • Abundance Mentality
    • Relationships: Build relationships through deposits into the Emotional Bank Account
    • Agreements: focus on desired results, not methods
  • In order to find Win/Win solutions:
  1. See the problem from the other person’s point of view and understand their concerns
  2. Find key issues and concerns (not positions) involved
  3. Determine results that would be fully acceptable
  4. Identify new options to achieve those results. 
  • Remember that Win/Win agreements come out of personal integrity, maturity and abundance. It grows out of high trust relationships. 

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to Be Understood

  • Learn how to listen
  • Emphatic listening is not that you agree with someone, its that you understand them emotionally and intellectually
    • Listen for feeling/meaning/behavior
  • Emphatic listening deposits into the emotional bank account and builds trust
    • It provides a vital need to the other person, then afterwards you can focus on influencing and problem solving
  • You must understand the situation in order to give a proper diagnosis. The key to good judgment is understanding
  • There are 4 Stages of Emphathic Listening:
  1. Mimic content (regurgitate)
  2. Rephrase the content
  3. Reflect on the feelings of the other person based on what was said
  4. Rephrase the content and reflect on feelings
  • Remember that people want to be understood
  • Describe what they want better then they can themselves showing consideration, the have the courage to explain the logic of your requests
  • Focus on your circle of influence, and it will expand


Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw

  • Habit 7 is enhancing the greatest asset you own, you. It is increasing your productive capacity. 
    • Physical: Eat right, exercise, rest and relaxation
    • Spiritual: Review and recommit to your goals
    • Mental: Conventional and unconventional continuing education. Organizing and planning
    • Social/Emotional: Interpersonal leadership, empathic communication and creative cooperation
  • A long healthy, happy life is the result of making contributions, having meaningful projects that are both personally exciting and contribute to and bless the lives of others. 
  • Your economic security does not lie in your job, it lies in your power to produce, to think, learn, create and adapt. Thats true financial independence. Its not having wealth, its having the power to produce wealth, its intrinsic.
  • Renewal is the process of continual growth, change and improvement
  • To renew is to progressively learn, commit and do
  • The Transition Person: A tendency that runs through your family for generations (crime, poverty, violence) can stop with you. You are the transition person, the link between past and future. Your own change can affect many lives downstream. 
  • Change, real change, comes from the inside out. From striking at the root, the fabric of our thought, our paradigm, how we see the world.

If these brief notes, peaked your interest in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you can check it out on Amazon here.

And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.

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