The Growth Leaders Blog

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Apr 2023

What is "The 7 Habits" About?

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is a self-help book written by Stephen Covey that has been widely regarded as one of the most influential books in its genre. Covey's book is centered around the idea that the most successful people in the world share a set of seven key habits that enable them to lead fulfilling lives both personally and professionally.

Be proactive

The first habit Covey discusses is being proactive. This means taking responsibility for one's own life and making conscious choices that align with one's values and goals. Proactive people don't simply react to events that happen to them, but instead, choose their own responses and actions. Covey argues that this habit is essential for personal growth and success, as it enables individuals to take control of their lives and achieve their desired outcomes.

Begin with the end in mind

The second habit is beginning with the end in mind. This habit involves setting clear goals and visualising the desired outcome before beginning any task or project. Covey believes that starting with a clear vision of what one wants to achieve is crucial for success, as it provides a sense of direction and purpose. In the book, Covey asks us to visualise our own funeral, who will be there and what will be said of the life we have lived. By keeping the end goal in mind, individuals can better focus their efforts and make decisions that align with their ultimate objective. 

Put first things first

The third habit Covey discusses is putting first things first. This habit involves prioritising tasks based on their importance and urgency, rather than simply reacting to whatever is most pressing at the moment. Covey argues that this habit is essential for effective time management and achieving one's goals. By focusing on what is most important, individuals can make progress toward their goals and avoid getting sidetracked by less important tasks. The key takeaway for me was the idea that by focusing on those tasks that are important  and NOT urgent - e.g planning, exercise, education - you can improve the quality of your life significantly. 

Think win/win 

The fourth habit is thinking win-win. This habit involves seeking solutions that benefit everyone involved, rather than pursuing one's own interests at the expense of others. Covey believes that this habit is essential for successful relationships and effective collaboration. By seeking mutually beneficial solutions, individuals can build trust and foster productive relationships with others.

Seek first to understand

The fifth habit Covey discusses is seeking first to understand and then to be understood. This habit involves actively listening to others and seeking to understand their perspectives before trying to make oneself understood. Covey believes that this habit is essential for effective communication and building strong relationships. By listening and seeking to understand others, individuals can build trust and rapport, which can ultimately lead to greater success and satisfaction.


The sixth habit is synergise. This habit involves seeking to combine the strengths of different individuals and teams to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Covey believes that this habit is essential for innovation and growth. By working together and leveraging each other's strengths, individuals can achieve more than they could on their own.

Sharpen the saw

The seventh and final habit is sharpening the saw. This habit involves taking time to invest in oneself and maintain one's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Covey believes that this habit is essential for sustained success and personal growth. By taking care of oneself, individuals can avoid burnout and maintain the energy and focus needed to achieve their goals.

Throughout the book, Covey emphasises the importance of these seven habits for success in all areas of life, from personal relationships to business and career. He provides numerous examples and anecdotes to illustrate the benefits of each habit and offers practical advice for implementing them in one's own life.

Overall, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is a timeless self-help classic that offers valuable insights and guidance for anyone seeking to improve their personal and professional lives. Covey's seven habits provide a framework for success that is grounded in timeless principles of personal responsibility, integrity, and collaboration. Whether you're a business leader, student, or anyone seeking to live a more fulfilling life, this book is a must-read.