The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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By Lau Weing Xi

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was introduced to the world by Stephen R. Covey in a book that was first published in 1989. It is a highly successful self-help book that highlighted the importance of seven habits that could change one’s life positively once implemented efficiently. Since then, it has been adapted into many forms to widen its audience, having a version for adolescents and children. The foundation for these seven habits comes from the ‘character ethic’ where Stephen Covey claims that sustainable success comes from your character and not your personality.

The seven habits are divided into three categories.

The first three focuses on your inner self and encourage independence. They are as follows:

  1. Be Proactive

This habit talks about taking initiative. It focuses on your circle of influence and circle of concern. It reminds you that you cannot control what others do, but you can always work on yourself and your actions.

2. Begin with the End in Mind

When you have a clear goal in mind, the path becomes easier. It steers you to make better decisions and allows you to make more detailed plans to achieve your goal.

3. Put First Things First

Priorities. This is especially important when you feel pressured with many responsibilities. Learning to sort and arrange tasks by importance and urgency is key to not panicking under stressful situations.

The next three habits are more focused on external interactions with others or interdependence.

4. Think Win-win

The habit is fairly self-explanatory. If possible, find mutually beneficial and agreed upon solutions. This will be advantageous in the long run and produce highly productive results.

5. Seek First to Understand. Then to be Understood

Active listening is very important when working with others and building relationships. Exercising empathy when interacting with others will allow you to understand the position they are in. It also helps reduce negative feelings as you put yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand their actions and decisions.

6. Synergize

It goes without saying that you cannot work with others without team spirit. Synergising helps maximise the strength of a team and produces better results.

The last habit ties together the first six perfectly. It focuses on improving yourself both inwardly and externally.

7. Sharpen the Saw

This habit states that one should put in a continuous effort to improve at every point of their life. It means being balanced physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It focuses on self-care, helps increase motivation and promotes work-life balance.


These habits can be applied universally. By implementing them in your daily life, maybe you will see a positive change too.

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