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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

About the book:

Stephen Covey talks about seven strategies and ways of thinking that will lead you to be more effective as a person. In the beginning, I thought it was just another cheap social strategies book, but it turned out to be very eye-opening and practical.

The seven habits are divided into two groups, four personal and three social. The first group can be summarized in the phrase: "Make a promise, keep a promise". The second can be summarized as: "Involve others in the problem and work out the solution together."

In essence, the seven habits are only extensions of two principles, integrity and loyalty.

Takeaways and Paths of Action:

Habit 1: Be proactive.
Change the way you speak about your tasks from reactive to proactive. Here are some examples:

Reactive: "I have to meet this deadline."
Proactive: "I have chosen to be responsible and to deliver the project on time."

Reactive: "This happened, now I have to do it."
Proactive: "I will choose the most appropriate response to what's happened."

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.
Imagine it is the day of your funeral. What would you want your family and friends say about you? Think about your character, your contribution, and your achievements. Then, write down a personal statement on your phone and keep it with you. Repeat this exercise if you feel that you have lost your North.

While this may seem useless and time-consuming, there is much power in writing down a few sentences about what you truly want to become and referring to it when facing uncertainty.

Habit 3: First things first.
When was the last time you did something just for yourself? We tend to focus too much on what's being asked from us. Organize your goals using the following matrix. Then, try to focus more on accomplishing those on the bottom right quadrant.
Habit 4: Think Win-win.
For you to win, nobody else has to lose. For them to win, you should not accept losing either. Think "Win-win o no deal".

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Imagine you are visiting the optometrist, and he is too kind as to give you one of his own pair of glasses, for free. He does not examine and just says: "Don't worry, I know what you have, I have the same thing. Just have mine". This is what we often do when people talk to us. We guess, we judge, and we tell them "what worked for us"  without even listening. Seek first to understand.

Habit 6: Synergy.
This is what to think next time somebody disagrees with you: "How can I use this new perspective to improve mine and improve the results of what I'm doing here" This is what you say: "Good, you see it differently. I'd like to understand."

Habit 7: Self-renewal.
You are the goose. Take care of the goose.

Favourite quote:

"Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he id. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be." - Raplh Waldo Emerson.


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