Book Report. Covey, Seven Highly Effective Habbits… Essay, Research Paper
Proactive. Covey tells us how we should be taking more initiative and control of our lives. We are the only ones that have control over our lives. Covey uses the story of Victor Frankl to explain the total control we have to shape our own thoughts and feelings. Victor was a Jew held in a German death camp during the second World War. Victor realized that even though the Germans had control of the environment that he was in and the ability to kill him at anytime, he could still have control of his thoughts and feelings. Victor could project himself into other places that he found comforting. By doing this, he would almost forget about where he was. His attitude changed and helped encourage hundreds of other people around him. Highly effective people understand and use this ability that everyone possesses. We need to take control of our selves and realize that we can shape our thoughts. By being proactive we are not as prone to have our environment shape the way we think or feel. Non-proactive people tend to be emotional butterflies: ?when people treat them well, they feel well; when people don?t, they become defensive or protective . . . allowing the weaknesses of people to control them.?
People who are proactive take more initiative then their counterparts do. In order to be a more effective person, you must first have initiative. You take control over yourself. You don?t let people walk over you, creating benefit for themselves and destruction for you.
Being proactive seems like one of the most important and fundamental attitudes one can have. It is the corner stone to other important aspects of a person. This is a theory I plan on using in my life. As a Masters student, and a soon to be counselor, control over your outlook can make or break you. For myself, I am working 30 hours a week, married, and trying to keep my grades the best they can be. I find it easy to feel overwhelmed with all these things. Having the ability to control my outlook on life right now is of utmost importance. As a soon-to-be counselor, I see this as an excellent aid in helping the recovery of my clients. Although I think all clients could benefit from this, there are some that would be better facilitated such as women in abusive relationships, children in abusive homes or any person who finds himself or herself in situations that make them feel helpless. This is a way of making them become more aware of the power and control they really possess over situations.
Begin with the End in Mind.
Covey argues that all things we do should be done with the end in mind. He is not talking about the immediate end of some action you are doing at a particular time but your actions as a whole. ?To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you?re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.?
We need to look at the things we do in our lives. Why do we do these things? What is the purpose of them? A person needs to look at himself or herself, realize what it is they want their life to be and do actions and activities that promote that outcome. This is well conveyed by Covey?s illustration of the funeral. He talks about going to a funeral and finding yourself in the coffin. If four people were speaking, one from your family, one from your friends, one from your church group, and the last from your place of employment, what would you want them to say about you. This gives a good idea of what he means. We need to always think, ?is this going to create the image or persona I want??
A good way of doing this is by sitting down and writing a personal mission statement. By taking the time to think and write down what you want in life you create a perfect catalyst for beginning the process.
After reading this second habit, I can?t help but think of Christianity. I often hear people talk about their new religious outlook and stance in life as being ?born again.? This phrase seems to be the essence of what Covey is saying. As Christian we can we can use this as the beginning of our new Christian life.
The counselor in me sees ample opportunity to use and implement this strategy. Many people coming to counseling are looking at their lives and wanting more. Beginning with the end in mind would be perfect for a well functioning person with life achievement issues. It helps create a sense of power over their lives again. It allows them to stop and regroup themselves. They can create the ideal realistic person they want to become and set ways of forming themselves into that person. A down side of this occurs when people set standards or goals outside of their personal abilities. This only sets them up for greater disappointment and hardship on themselves.
Put First Things First. Habit three is the ?fulfillment, the actualization, the natural emergence of habits one and two.? Covey conveys to the reader that we must first prioritize what needs are to be met and in what order. We need to realize what the consequences of our different activities and actions are and rank them in order of importance. Once you realize what it is you do, you have to find the results of these actions. Then you rank them in order of the repercussions they create and do the things that create the most positive outcomes concerning you goals in life. If you want to be liked by more people, you move up being friendly and outgoing in your personal activities. We need to put first the things that help create or are a catalyst toward end products we desire.
Time management is a crucial concern for positive outcomes. We have to be aware of what needs to be focused on in our lives and be able to focus on it. We need to be able to look into the future. We need to realize what needs to be done now to effect the future. We also should look at the present. We should monitor ourselves and understand how to implement the things needed for our personal wants and goal outcomes.
?Put First Things First? appears to be the very implementation tool for setting the first two habits into action. Personally, the ideas presented in this chapter are very helpful in my present situation. As a graduate student and husband, I need some good advice for time management. Covey helps me better understand the consequences that each of my actions can lead to. He gives creative and ingenious ideas that can lead to a better and more effective me. I currently am using and will continue to use the great management schemes presented in this chapter. I also plan on encouraging future clients of mine to use these same ideas and theories. Most people can benefit from these schemes.
The Fourth habit ?Think Win/Win, begins the first habit of the public victory portion. Here we learn how to have more open public bettering of ourselves.? Win/Win describes how we need to focus not just on ourselves but on the team we are playing with. Many people focus too much on themselves. What they look at is if they have won or lost. They don?t look at the big, overall picture of what has happened as a result of their actions. If we ?win,? does this mean that someone or something has lost? Many people, Covey argues, need to create victory for themselves and for the people they are working for. He suggests a win/win model. This allows us to come out victorious while others win as well. What most people consider a win for themselves actually means a loss. Covey suggests finding ways that either allows a Win/Win approach or at least an agreed upon win/lose situation, since all instances cannot be win/win.
Although I view this as a good habit to possess, I?m less interested in it than the first three. I feel as long as you have your goals well mapped out in front of yourself, you shouldn?t have the problem of creating losses for the people you are trying or needing to help while producing wins for yourself. I think this habit really boils down to whether or not you have an understanding of your priorities and an ability to plan for the future.
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Covey argues that many of us rush into things without first really understanding them. He feels we go through our lives giving advice and help to people about their problems without fully understanding their situations. We tend to see things only through our own interpretation or understanding of their problems, not through their eyes. We need to be more empathic toward people?s situations and try to understand each personal situation and realize how it?s different from a similar situation we experienced last week. Everyone is different and therefore every individual?s problems are experienced differently. Before we rush in trying to fix the problem we see a person having, using techniques that might work for us and simply putting a band-aid on the situation, we need to fully understand what it going on.
I feel this is one of the most important habits Covey talks about for my own life, as a friend and as a counselor. I think it?s all too easy to get caught up in ourselves and see every situation with our own slant and not understand what the other person is really going through. As I think back, I realize many times when I have tried to help a friend out of a situation using my personal view of the situation. In every one of these situations I failed to help him/her out because I did not see the personal issues they dealt with regarding each of these situations. I think this is wonderful advice for me as an up and coming counselor. We need to be aware that every situation, every event, is viewed and dealt with in a unique way. Just because I feel better after I try this does not mean it will work for the next guy. Or maybe something that has an effect on me sends someone else into depression. We have to remember we are all different.
Synergize. Synergy seems to be the creative process of putting into action of all the previously mentioned habits. It is many different things in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By using this synergy we actually create more of it in the air allowing other people to pick up on it. It is a force which we share with other people simply by demonstrating it in our life. Synergy allows better and more open communication to take place. Communication is a key element in defining ourselves in society. It is key in working with others and allowing productivity to take place. Without this synergy, we cannot have the communication to allow this to take place.
Up to this point I was with Covey. I liked this chapter least of all the chapters. I felt like he was trying to pin down phantom issues that he couldn?t quite put a finger on. I understand his point of putting all the habits together, but I feel he could have done it in a better way.
Sharpening the Saw. Covey discusses how we not only have to work on these different habits, but we also have to keep them fresh. Just like a dull saw is ineffective, so too are these habits when we become dull. We need to take actions that keep ourselves sharp and in better condition to apply these effective habits. Covey discusses four areas to work on to maintain a sharp you. They are physical, mental, spiritual, and social/emotional. Physical includes things such as exercise, nutrition, stress management, and others things that apply to maintenance of the physical body. Mental includes things such as reading, planning, writing, and other mind stimulating events. Spiritual includes value clarification, study, and meditation, and social/emotional is service empathy, and intrinsic security. All of these areas properly maintained can help you properly use the habits.