In 1989, Stephen Covey wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. This book has inspired readers for more than 30 years.

After studying over 200 years of literature on the concept of “success”, he concluded humans have changed the way we define success over time. 

Pre-1920’s, the foundation of success was built on character ethic…things like integrity, humility, courage, patience, justice, modesty and the Golden Rule. 

Post-1920, people viewed success by personality ethic…where success is a result of personality, public image, attitudes and behaviors. 

It’s amazing to me that over 100 years ago, our society was already trending toward more shallow and superficial characteristics. And today with such a social media influence on our pre-teens, teens and young adults, digging deeper into our character ethic is more important than ever.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are summarized here:

Habit 1: 

Be Proactive – Take charge and assume responsibility for your life.

Habit 2: 

Begin with the End in Mind – Have a vision for the future to make your ideas reality.

Habit 3: 

Put First Things First – Focus on what’s important.

Habit 4: 

Think Win-Win – Find a solution that is profitable for everyone.

Habit 5: 

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood – First really listen, then make recommendations.

Habit 6: 

Synergize – Together you are stronger than alone.

Habit 7: 

Sharpen the Saw – Find balance between work and relaxation.

Covey believed the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. In order to change any given situation, we have to change ourselves, and in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions.

When we can change ourselves fundamentally and not just our surface level attitudes and behaviors, we can achieve true change and be more effective.

2 Responses

  1. Classic book and this is a great post! Even my kids have noticed the difference in people of the past and today when we read the really old literature books for school. I need to meditate on the whole change myself to change my situations….

  2. That’s so amazing that your kids have noticed this at their ages! We all have a lot of work to do to try and get society back to those characteristics that were deeper and more meaningful 💙

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