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The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People

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Executive Summary

Part One: Paradigms And Principles


Steven Covey studied over 200 years of writing about success. While studying these writings he began to recognize a distinct pattern surfacing. He found these writings attributed success to either Character Ethic or Personality Ethic. The majority of the literature of in the first 150 years focused on the philosophy referred to as Character Ethic. The foundations for success are based upon integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule. This idea insists that true success can only be achieved if these principles are integrated into the basic character. The shift from Character Ethic to Personality Ethic occurred shortly after World War I. Success literature of the past 50 years credits success as more of a function of personality, public image, attitudes and behaviors, skills, and techniques. Covey suggests that personality traits are secondary to Character traits. If the character is flawed, mistrust and manipulation may be perceived, and there is no foundation for permanent success. Both types of traits are needed in long-term relationships, but character traits have more permanent worth in long-term relationships.

We must understand our own paradigm, before we can effectively interpret the Seven Habits. A paradigm is a model, perception, or theory. We use mental maps to interpret experiences, and seldom question their accuracy. If we do not examine the basic paradigms from which our attitudes and behaviors are created, then changing outward attitudes and behaviors is not effective. The paradigm shift is the experience of seeing something in a different way. Significant changes can be accomplished if we shift the focus from attitudes and behaviors to working on basic paradigms. Human effectiveness is governed by principles, natural laws, is the fundamental basis of the Character Ethic. There is a principle of process and sequential stages of growth and development in all phases of life. It is impossible to shortcut the development process. Vital steps can not be skipped in order to reap the desired result quicker. "Inside-out" means change must start from inside.

The Seven Habits-An Overview

Habits possess a very powerful role in our lives. Our character is a composed of habits, which are the intersections of knowledge, skill, and desire.

Knowledge= what to do and why

Skill=how to do

Desire=want to do

The Seven Habits move us progressively on a maturity continuum:

Dependence Ðo Independence Ðo Interdependence

Dependence is the paradigm of You.

-you take care of me, you come through for me, I blame you for the results.

Independence is the paradigm of I.

-I can do it, I am responsible, I can choose

Interdependence is the paradigm of We.

-We can do it, we can cooperate, we can combine our talents.

Dependent people can not choose to become independent. Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make. Self-mastery is the essence of character growth, the private victories. Habits 1, 2, and 3 are based on self-mastery. Once you have the character base, you can effectively work on the next three habits, which are more personality oriented. Habits 4, 5, and 6 incorporate public victories; teamwork, cooperation, and communication. Habit 7 embodies all the other habits. It insists on a regular, balanced renewal of the four basic dimension of life; it is the habit of continuous improvement.

Private Victory

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Public Victory

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand...Then to be Understood

Habit 6: Synergize


Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Effectiveness is a balance between production, desired results; and production capacity, the asset used to produce. There are three kinds of assets, physical, financial, and human. There is no greater investment, than self-growth.

Part Two Private Victory

Habit 1 Be Proactive

Principles of Personal Vision

Self-awareness is the ability to think about ones very thought process. This ability is what separates humans from animals, and is the reason why man has dominion over all things. Conditioning holds tremendous power in our lives, but ultimately we are not determined by it. There are three theories of determinism; genetic, psychic, and environmental. Genetic determinism says that traits are inherited from grandparents, and is that they are apart of our DNA. Psychic determinism says how you were raised, your childhood experience, mapped your character structure. Environmental determinism states that environmental factors are responsible for your nature. Each of these theories is based on the stimulus/response theory. Between stimulus and response is the freedom to choose- our greatest power. The most basic habit is proactively. Highly proactive people do not blame circumstances. They assume responsibility for their behavior based on conscious choice. Reactive people are affected by their physical and social environments. Being proactive is a choice in determining how the environment affects our response. In order to be proactive, one must take the initiative to make things happen. Language suggests how we see ourselves as proactive. "There is nothing I can do," is an example of reactive language. "I control my own feeling," is an example of proactive language. To become more



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