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The Seven Habits

D See Also D Free Seven Habits Screen Saver

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People provides a holistic, integrated approach to personal and
interpersonal effectiveness. Habits are patterns of behavior that involve three overlapping
components: knowledge, attitude, and skill. These three components are learned rather than inherited.
We are not our current habits. We can make or break our habits.
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
The Seven Habits are habits of effectiveness. Because they are based on principles, they bring the
maximum long-term benecial results possible. They become the basis of a person's character,
creating an empowering center of correct maps from which an individual can effectively solve
problems, maximize opportunities, and continually learn and integrate other principles in an upward
spiral of growth.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, page 52
The Seven Habits are an orderly sequence of growth, moving from Private to Public Victory. Habits 1,
2, and 3 lead to Private Victories-the victories that allow us to achieve self-mastery and dominion
over self.
In Habit 1: Be Proactive, we recognize that we are free to choose.
In Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind, we identify our personal mission and goals.
In Habit 3: Put First Things First, we act on our priorities.
Habits 4, 5, and 6 lead to Public Victories-the victories that allow us to achieve success with other
In Habit 4: Think Win-Win, we look for alternatives that allow everyone to win.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood is both an attitude and a skill of
listening deeply for complete understanding.
In Habit 6: Synergize, we discover a creativity that people can experience when they explore
their differences together.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw is the habit that calls the others forth. It is comprised of simple daily
activities that implant the principles of effectiveness in our minds.
The habits form a continuum because the Private Victory must come before the Public Victory. Until
we have developed self-mastery, it is difcult, if not impossible, to achieve success with other people.
Taken together, the Seven Habits cultivate personal character, which is the foundation of
Seven Habits Video Manual, page 51
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. Copyright 1989 by Stephen
R. Covey.
Habi t 1: Be Proact i ve
Principles of Personal Vision
D See Also D Story
The rst and most basic habit of a highly effective person in any environment is the habit of proactivity
. Being proactive means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is
a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the
initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.
Look at the word /Tespons/b///fy--response-ability~the ability to choose your responses. Highly proactive
people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for
their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than
a product of their conditions, based on feeling.
The opposite of proactive is reactive. The spirit of reactive people is the transfer of responsibility.
Their language absolves them of responsibility.
"That's me. That's just the way I am." / am determined. There's nothing I can do about it.
"He makes me so mad!" I'm not responsible. My emotional life is governed by something outside of my
Many behavioral scientists have built reactive, deterministic, stimulus-response models of human
behavior. The basic idea is that we are conditioned to respond in a particular way to a particular
stimulus. In contrast, the proactive model states that between stimulus and response lies our freedom
to choose our response.
Proactive people focus their time and energy on their Circle of Inuence (things they can control) in
lieu of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control (Circle of
Concern). In so doing, proactive people use positive energy to inuence conditions and increase their
Circle of Inuence.
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Principles of Personal Leadership
O See Also D Example
To begin with the end in mind means to begin each day with a clear understanding of your desired
direction and destination. By keeping that end in mind you can make certain that whatever you do on
any particular day does not violate the criteria you have dened as supremely important, and that each
day of your life contributes in a meaningful way to the vision you have of your life as a whole.
It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and
harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover, upon reaching the top rung, that the ladder is
leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy, very busy, without being very effective.
People often nd themselves achieving victories that are empty, successes that have come at the
expense of things they suddenly realize were far more valuable to them. If the ladder is not leaning
against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.
Begin with the end in mind is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There's a mental
or rst creation and a physical or second creation. The second, or physical creation, follows from the
rst, just as a building follows from a blueprint. In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own
self-awareness and become responsible for rst creations, we empower other people and
circumstances to shape our lives by default.
Habit 2 is based on imagination-the ability to envision, to see the potential, to create with our minds
what we cannot at present see with our eyes; and consc/"ence~the ability to detect our own uniqueness
and the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which we can most happily fulll it.
Leadership is the rst creation. Management is the second creation. Management is a bottom line
focus: How can I best accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the
things I want to accomplish? In the words of both Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, "Management is
doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Management is efciency in climbing the ladder
of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
The most effective way we know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission
statement, philosophy or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions
and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based. Because
each person is unique, a personal mission statement will reect that uniqueness, both in content and
A personal mission statement based upon principles becomes a standard for an individual. It becomes
a personal constitution, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily
decisions in the midst of change.
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Principles of Personal Management
D See Also O Story
What are rst things? First things are those things that you, personally, nd most worth doing. They
move you in the right direction and help you achieve the purpose expressed in your mission
Put First Things First involves organizing and managing time and events according to the personal
priorities established in Habit 2 is the rst or mental creation. Habit 3, then, is the second, or physical
creation. It's the day-in, day-out, moment by moment doing it.
E.M. Gray spent his life searching for the one denominator that all successful people share. The one
factor that seemed to transcend all the rest embodies the essence of Habit 3-putting rst things rst.
In his essay, The Common Denominator of Success, he writes: "The successful person has the habit
of doing the things failures don't like to do. They don't like doing them either necessarily. But their
disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose."
Basically, we spend our time in one of four ways, as illustrated in the time management matrix. This
matrix denes activities as "urgent" or "not urgent" and "important" or "not important." With careful
analysis, most people discover that they spend far too much time responding to the urgent crisis of
Quadrants I and III, escaping occasionally for survival to the non-urgent, unimportant time wasters of
Quadrant IV.
Most of the activities essential to the development of the Seven Habits-creating a personal mission
statement, identifying long range goals, nurturing relationships, and obtaining regular physical,
spiritual, mental, and social-emotional renewal-are all Quadrant II activities. They are
"importanf-vitally important-but because they aren't "urgent," they often don't get done. We must be
proactive rather than reactive to do the important but not urgent things. Only by saying no to the
unimportant can we say yes to the important (Quadrant II).
Habit 3 involves a six step process that can help you act on the basis of importance and close the gap
between what matters most to you and what you actually spend your time doing.
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
D See Also D Story
D Free Seven Habits Application Workbook
In relationships and businesses, effectiveness is largely achieved through the cooperative efforts of
two or more people. Marriages and other partnerships are interdependent realities, and yet people
often approach these relationships with an independent mentality, which is like trying to play golf with
a tennis racket-the tool isn't suited to the sport.
Most of us learn to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in
terms of someone else failing. That is, if I win, you lose. Or if you win, I lose. There is only so much
pie and if you get a big piece there is less for me. People with this type of Scarcity Mentality nd it
difcult to share recognition and power, and to be happy for the successes of others, especially those
closest to them.
Win-win, on the other hand, is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one
person's success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others. Win-win sees
life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly
seeks mutual benet in all human interactions. Win-win means that agreements or solutions are
mutually benecial and satisfying.
Character is the foundation of win-win, and everything else builds on that foundation. There are three
character traits essential to the win-win paradigm.
Integrity-integrity is the value we place on ourselves, being true to our values and
Abundance Mentality-people with an abundance mentality believe there is plenty for everyone.
Maturity~a mature person can express his feelings and convictions with courage balanced with
consideration for the feelings and convictions of others.
Win-Win Agreements are effective tools for establishing the win-win foundations necessary for long
term effectiveness and may be created between employers and employees, between teams, between
companies and suppliers, between any two or more people who need to interact to accomplish. In the
win-win agreement, the following ve elements are made explicit.
Desired results (not methods) identify what is to be done and when.
Guidelines specify the parameters (principles, policies, etc.) within which results are to be
Resources identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational support available to help
accomplish the results
Accountability sets up the standards of performance and the time of evaluation
Consequences specify-good and bad, natural and logical-what does and what will happen as a
result of achieving or not achieving desired results
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand...
Principles of Empathic Communication
D See Also D Story
Communication is the most important skill in life. We spend most of our waking hours communicating.
But consider this: You've spent years learning how to read and write. Years learning how to speak. But
what about listening? What training or education have you had that enables you to listen so that you
really, deeply understand another human being from that individual's own frame of reference?
Seeking rst to understand, or diagnosing before you prescribe, is a correct principle manifest in many
areas of life. A wise doctor will diagnose before writing a prescription. A good engineer will understand
the forces, the stresses at work, before designing the bridge. An effective salesperson rst seeks to
understand the needs of the customer before offering a product. Similarly, an effective communicator
will rst seek to understand another's views before seeking to be understood. Until people feel properly
diagnosed they will not be open to prescriptions.
We typically seek rst to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they
listen with the intent to reply. They're either speaking or preparing to speak. They're ltering everything
through their own paradigms, reading their autobiography into other people's lives.
"Oh, I know exactly how you feel."
"I went through the very same thing. Let me tell you about my experience."
They're constantly projecting their own home movies onto other's behavior.
In contrast, empathic (from empathy) listening gets inside another person's frame of reference. You
look out through it, you see the world the way they see it, you understand how they feel. This does not
mean that you agree necessarily, simply that you understand their point of view.
Empathic listening is, in and of itself, a tremendous deposit in the Emotional Bank Account of another.
Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be afrmed,
to be appreciated, to be understood. When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that
person psychological air.
Empathic listening is also risky. It takes a great deal of security to go into a deep listening experience
because you open yourself up to be inuenced. You become vulnerable. It's a paradox, in a sense,
because in order to have inuence, you have to be inuenced. You have to really understand.
Once we understand, we can proceed with the second step of the interaction: seeking to be
understood. Because the other person's need to be understood has been satised, we are much more
likely to have inuence and to be understood ourselves.
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
Habit 6: Synergize
Principles of Creative Cooperation
D See Also D Stories
Synergy is everywhere in nature. The intermingled roots of two plants growing closely together
improve the quality of the soil. Two pieces of wood bonded together hold much more than the total of
the weight held by each separately. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. One plus one
equals three or more.
The principle of synergy also holds true in social interactions. Two people, creatively cooperating, will
be able to produce far better results than either one could alone. Synergy lets us discover jointly things
that we are much less likely to discover by ourselves. It occurs when minds stimulate each other and
ideas call forth ideas. I say something that stimulates your mind; you respond with an idea that
stimulates mine. I share that new idea with you, and the process repeats itself and even builds.
Synergy works. It is the crowning achievement of all the previous habits. It is effectiveness in an
interdependent reality-it is teamwork, team building, the development of unity and creativity with other
human beings.
Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy-the mental, the emotional, the physiological
differences between people. And the key to valuing those differences is to realize that all people see
the world, not as it is, but as they are. When we value differences and bring different perspectives
together in the spirit of mutual respect, people then feel free to seek the best possible alternative,
often the Third Alternative, one that is substantially better than either of the original proposals. Finding
a third alternative is not compromise, but represents a Win-win solution for both parties.
The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual
limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through interaction with the hearts and minds
of other human beings. That person values the differences because those differences add to his
knowledge, to his understanding of reality. When we're left to our own experiences, we constantly
suffer from a shortage of data.
Insecure people, in contrast, tend to make others in their own image and surround themselves with
people who think similarly. They mistake uniformity for unity, sameness with oneness. Real oneness
means complimentariness. The chance for synergy is greater when two people tend not to see things
in the same way. Differences, therefore, become an opportunity. If two people have the same opinion,
one is unnecessary.
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
0 See Also D Stories
Note: Sharpen the Saw is Habit 7 ofThe Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
role on the roles bar in the Seven Habits Tools.
It is also the rst
Habit 7 is the habit that makes all the others possible. Sharpen the Saw means preserving and
enhancing the greatest asset you have-you. It means having a balanced, systematic program for
self-renewal in the four areas of our lives: physical, mental, emotional-social, and spiritual. Without
this discipline, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive,
and the person selsh.
The physical self is the body. We build its strength through nutrition, exercise, and rest.
We exercise our mental self through learning-through reading, writing, challenging, and taking time to
We exercise our spiritual self through reading literature that inspires us, through meditation or prayer,
and through spending time with nature.
We exercise our social-emotional self by making consistent daily deposits into the Emotional Bank
Accounts of our key relationships.
This is the single most powerful investment we can ever make in life-investment in ourselves, in the
only instrument we have with which to deal with life and to contribute. Yet when people get busy
producing, or sawing, they seldom take time to Sharpen the Saw because maintenance seldom pays
dramatic, immediate dividends.
This daily Private Victory is the key to the development of the Seven Habits, and it's completely within
our control. Renewal is the principle and the process that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of
growth and change, of continuous improvement.
Seven Habits Overview / Seven Habits Organizer
The things you do to sharpen the saw in any one dimension have positive impact in other dimensions
because they are so highly interrelated. Your physical health affects your mental health; your spiritual
strength affects your social/emotional strength. As you improve in one dimension, you increase your
ability in other dimensions as well.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People create optimum synergy among these dimensions.
Renewal in any dimension increases your ability to live at least one of the Seven Habits. And
although the habits are sequential, improvements in one habit synergistically increases your ability to
live the rest.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, page 303
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. Copyright 1989 by Stephen
R. Covey.
Sharpen t he Saw
D See Also D Story
Note: Sharpen the Saw is Habit 7 of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is also the rst
role on the roles bar in the Seven Habits Tools.
In addition to the roles you've identied, we'd like to suggest a separate and foundational role called
"Sharpen the Saw." We treat this as a separate role for two reasons: 1) it's a role that everyone has,
and 2) it's foundational for success in every other role.
The term Sharpen the Saw is a metaphor that describes the energy we invest in increasing our
personal capacity in the four fundamental areas-physical, social, mental, and spiritual. We often get
so busy "sawing" (producing results) that we forget to "sharpen our saw" (maintain or increase our
capacity to produce results in the future). We may neglect to exercise (physical area), or fail to
develop key relationships (social/emotional area). We may not keep current in our eld (mental area).
We may not be clear about what's important and meaningful to us (spiritual area). If we fail to build our
personal capacity in these areas, we quickly become "dulled," and worn out from the imbalance. We're
unable to move forward as effectively in the other roles of our lives.
The important thing is that none of the four areas are neglected.
First Things First, pages 84-85
Sharpen the Saw is a practice I call the "Daily Private Victory." And I commend to you the simple
practice of spending one hour a day every day doing it-one hour a day for the rest of your life.
There's no other way you could spend an hour that would begin to compare with the Daily Private
Victory in terms of value and results. It will affect every decision, every relationship. It will greatly
improve the quality, the effectiveness, of every other hour of the day, including the depth and
restfulness of your sleep. It will build the long-term physical, spiritual, and mental strength to enable
you to handle difcult challenges in life.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, page 296
There are certain things that are fundamental to human fulllment. If these basic needs aren't met, we
feel empty, incomplete. We may try to ll the void through urgency addiction. Or we may become
complacent, temporarily satised with partial fulllment.
These needs have been recognized in the wisdom literature throughout time as vital areas of human
fulllment. The essence of these needs is captured in the phrase, "To Live, To Love, To Learn, To
Leave a Legacy." The need to live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter,
economic well-being, health. The need to love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to
love, to be loved. The need to learn is our mental need to develop and to grow. And the need to leave
a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence and
First Things First, pages 44-45
The physical dimension involves caring effectively for our physical body-eating the right kinds of
foods, getting sufcient rest and relaxation, and exercising on a regular basis.
Exercise is one of those Quadrant II. high-leverage activities that most of us don't do consistently
because it isn't urgent. And because we don't do it, sooner or later we nd ourselves in Quadrant I.
dealing with the health problems and crises that come as a natural result of our neglect.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, page 289
The social and the emotional dimensions of our lives are tied together because our emotional life is
primarily, but not exclusively, developed out of and manifested in our relationships with others.
Renewing our social/emotional dimension does not take time in the same sense that renewing the
other dimensions does. We can do it in our normal everyday interactions with other people. But it
denitely requires exercise. We may have to push ourselves because many of us have not achieved
denitely requires exercise. We may have to push ourselves because many of us have not achieved
the level of Private Victory and the skills of Public Victory necessary for Habits 4, 5 and 6 to come
naturally to us in all our interactions.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, page 297
Education-continuing education, continually honing and expanding the mind-is vital mental renewal.
Sometimes that involves the external discipline of the classroom or systematized study programs;
more often it does not. Proactive people can gure out many, many ways to educate themselves.
There's no better way to inform and expand your mind on a regular basis than to get into the habit of
reading good literature. You can get into the best minds that are now or that have ever been in the
world. I highly recommend starting with a goal of a book a month then a book every two weeks, then a
book a week. "The person who doesn't read is no better off than the person who can't read."
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, pages 294-95
Renewing the spiritual dimension provides leadership to your life. It's highly related to Habit 2.
The spiritual dimension is your core, your center, your commitment to your value system. It's a very
private area of life and a supremely important one. It draws upon the sources that inspire and uplift
you and tie you to the timeless truths of all humanity.
I nd renewal in daily prayerful meditation on the scriptures because they represent my value system.
As I read and meditate, I feel renewed, strengthened, centered, and recommitted to serve. Immersion
in great literature or great music can provide a similar renewal of the spirit for some. There are others
who nd it in the way they communicate with nature.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, page 292
Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. Copyright 1989 by Stephen
R. Covey.
Covey, Stephen R., A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill. First Things First. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Copyright
1994 by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill.
Quadrant II Organizing: Importance vs. Urgency
O See Also
Many important things that contribute to our overall objectives and give richness and meaning to life
don't tend to act upon us or press us. Because they're not "urgent," they are the things which we must
act upon.
In order to focus on the issues of urgency and importance more effectively, look at the Time
Management Matrix below. It categorizes our activities into four quadrants. We spend time in one of
these four ways:
Not Urgent
1 ii

Pressing problems
projects, meetings,
Values clarification
Relationship building
True re-creation
ill IV
interruptions, some
phone calls
* Some mail, some reports
* Some meetings
Many proximate,
pressing matters
Many popular activities
Trivia, busywork
junk mail
Some phone calls
Time wasters
"Escape* activities
6 1&3Skff C$wry Uaderatop Center,, Inc.
Quadrant I represents things that are both "urgent" and "important." Here's where we handle an irate
client, meet a deadline, repair a broken-down machine, undergo heart surgery, or help a crying child
who has been hurt. We need to spend time in Quadrant I. This is where we manage, where we
produce, where we bring our experience and judgment to bear in responding to many needs and
challenges. If we ignore it, we become buried alive. But we also need to realize that many important
activities become urgent through procrastination, or because we dont do enough prevention and
Quadrant II includes activities that are "important, but not urgent." This is the quadrant of quality.
Here's where we do our long-range planning, anticipate and prevent problems, empower others,
broaden our minds and increase our skills through reading and continuous professional development,
envision how we're going to help a struggling son or daughter, prepare for important meetings and
presentations, or invest in relationships through deep, honest listening. Increasing time spent in this
quadrant increases our ability to do. Ignoring this quadrant feeds and enlarges Quadrant I, creating
stress, burnout, and deeper crises for the person consumed by it. On the other hand, investing in this
quadrant shrinks Quadrant I. Planning, preparation, and prevention keep many things from becoming
urgent. Quadrant II does not act on us; we must act on it. This is the quadrant of personal leadership.
Quadrant III is almost the phantom of Quadrant I. It includes things that are "urgent, but not
important." This is the quadrant of deception. The noise of urgency creates the illusion of importance.
But the actual activities, if they're important at all, are only important to someone else. Many phone
calls, meetings, and drop-in visitors fall into this category. We spend a lot of time in Quadrant III
meeting other people's priorities and expectations, thinking we're really in Quadrant I.
Quadrant IV is reserved for those activities that are "not urgent and not important." This is the
Quadrant IV is reserved for those activities that are "not urgent and not important." This is the
quadrant of waste. Of course, we really shouldn't be there at all. But we get so battle-scarred from
being tossed around in Quadrants I and III that we often "escape" to Quadrant IV for survival. What
kinds of things are in Quadrant IV? Not necessarily recreational things, because recreation in the true
sense of re-creation is a valuable Quadrant II activity. But reading addictive light novels, habitually
watching "mindless" television shows, or gossiping around the water fountain at the ofce would
qualify as Quadrant IV time wasters. Quadrant IV is not survival; it's deterioration. It may have an
initial cotton candy feel, but we quickly nd there's nothing there.
We'd like to suggest now that you look at the Time Management Matrix and think back over the past
week of your life. If you were to place each of your last week's activities in one of these quadrants,
where would you say you spent the majority of your time?
Think carefully as you consider Quadrants I and III. It's easy to think because something is urgent, it's
important. A quick way to differentiate between these two quadrants is to ask yourself if the urgent
activity contributed to an important objective. If not, it probably belongs in Quadrant III.
If you're like most of the people we work with, there's a good chance you spent the majority of your
time in Quadrants I and III. And what's the cost? If urgency is driving you, what important
things-maybe even "rst things"~are not receiving your time and attention?
Clearly, we deal with both factors-urgency and importance-in our lives. But in our day-to-day decision
making, one of these factors tends to dominate. The problem comes when we operate primarily from a
paradigm of urgency rather than a paradigm of importance.
When we operate out of the importance paradigm, we live in Quadrants I and II. We're out of III and
IV, and as we spend more time in preparation, prevention, planning, and empowerment, we decrease
the amount of time we spend putting out res in Quadrant I. Even the nature of Quadrant I changes.
Most of the time, we're there by choice rather than default. We may even choose to make something
urgent or timely because it's important.
First Things First, pages 33-40
Covey, Stephen R., A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill. First Things First.
1994 by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill.
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Copyright (