7 Habits of Highly Effective People Book Summary

7 habits of higly effective people book summary

No matter how many motivational blogs, videos, books and seminars you attend, your motivation and excitement level will fade away after few days. In the end you will again start doing things according to your habits as humans are creatures of habits and it is really difficult for us to change them. But before that we should know that what habits we have to change or develop in ourselves. Because getting our habits right can mean the difference between success and failure not only in our professional lives and in the communities we living. These seven habits will really make you an effective person.

Let’s begin the Book Summary

1- Independence

The First Three Habits are about independence. To became a self-master

Habit No 1: Be Proactive

There is great difference between proactive and reactive people.

Reactive people love to play the blame game. According to them all the problems happening to them are because of the government, their boss, other people etc. According to them things are not in their control but in the hands of other people or circumstances. They think the problem is out there but in reality the thought is the problem.

Reactivity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and reactive people feel increasingly victimized and out of control. They usually say things like “There is nothing I can do” “That’s just the way I am” He makes me mad etc. On other hand…….

Proactive people control their feelings in their own hand instead of giving someone else. They take 100% responsibility for their action and behavior. They don’t blame the situations but rather think of solutions instead. So in order to be proactive, we must focus on the circle of influence that lies within our circle of concern. In other words we must work on the things we can do something about and not to focus on things we can’t do anything about like the reactive people usually do.

Habit No 2: Begin with the End in Mind

What you want in the future? You are a programmer of your own life

This habit is similar to the law how to be powerful. Now imagine you are at a funeral but this one is different from any other funeral you have ever attended as you come to know that this is actually your own funeral. Now stop and think for a moment, what are the things you would really like others to say about you or what would you like to say about yourself at that time.

For example do you want to be remembered as a great friend, and then are you behaving as a great friend right now that will make your friends to say that?

Do you want to be remembered as a person who added a lot of value to the society and helped many people in need. If yes then are you working on it right now, are your actions are aligned with the goal you want to accomplish?. Ask yourself what are the things that you definitely want to achieve before you die and start working on it. Don’t do things without thinking about the end.

Habit 1.You are programmer of your own life! Grow but always stay humble


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Habit No 3: Put First Things First

How many times we catch ourselves scrolling our Facebook feed, watching YouTube videos or TV while we have a lot of other things needed to be finished. This is one of the most common habits which wastes so much of our time and holds us back from going above the average. It is simple yet little hard to develop this habit but in order to manage ours-elf effectively we must put first things first. We must prioritize or day to day actions based on what is the most important and not what is most urgent.

All the habits in this book are related to each other. So when you decide your end goals properly then work to complete that goals. You must put things which will help you to complete you main goal at first place. Never let less important things to keep you away from doing things which are of most important. Time is very precious so be stingy with your time rather than money.

  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Important and not-urgent
  3. Not Important and Urgent
  4. Not important and Not urgent

Habit 2 says: you are the programmer.

Habit 3: Write the program. Become a leader! Keep personal integrity: what you say vs what you do.


The next three habits are about working with others

Habit No 04: Think Win Win

Suppose you think of starting your own business. You make a plan thinking all about your profits, growth and create a product which is not that helpful to your customers but still with your great marketing team and persuasion skills you sell it to a lot of people and start making profits. Now do you think you will really make it big buy doing this and get long term results. Off course you won’t because by doing this you are creating a win lose situation.

WIN – Lose = Lose


In order to make it big you should always think of win win outcome for everyone. You should think more about adding values and benefits that you can bring to your customers. Doing this will automatically make your profits and hence yourself big. Lot of people has the mentality that for their win, someone else has to lose which is called scarcity mentality. In other words this means, if you get it I won’t’. But in reality there is a plenty out there for everyone. We just need to develop a mentality which is called abundance mentality and always try to create win win outcomes in any situation, business or agreement for the best results.


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Habit No 05: Seek First to Understand Then To Be Understood

This is about Emphatic Listening

Let’s say you go to an optometrist and tell him that you have been having trouble seeing clearly, so he takes off his glasses, hand them to you and says, you should try these, the have been working for me for years. So you put them on but it makes the problem worse. Now what are the chances you would go back to that optometrist?

Yet in our everyday interaction with others we do the same things. We prescribe a solution before we diagnose the problem clearly. We start criticizing people without understanding their feeling. We focus on what the other people said and react thinking how can he say that when our main question should be why did he said like that and what were the real feelings behind it.

So before you can offer advice, suggest solutions, or effectively interact with another person in anyway, you must seek to deeply understand them and their perspective thorough empathetic listening.

You should not listen with the intend to reply but rather understand. The most important point is that the person should feel you understand him. When you will start doing this, people will also start understanding you.

Habit No 06: Synergy

This is about team work.

If you put two plants together, their roots will co mingle and improve the quality of the soil. So that the both plants will grow better than they would have their own.

Principle of synergy encourages us to team up with people rather than fighting or trying to take each other down.

Example:-  There was a tree with apples on it two men were trying to pick apple from it but they were too short to reach them. So one man got above the second and picks all the apples. This was the use of synergy. Like this example if we  synergize with other people we can obtain better results, increase our capabilities tremendously and have much better chances in reaching our goals.

3- Continuous Improvements

This habit lies in both personal and interpersonal sphere of influence

Habit No.07: Sharpen the Saw

This habit is like Japanese concept KAIZEN ie. Continuous and never ending improvement in every walk of life.

Once a man was trying to cut down a tree but even after putting a lot of effort he was not able to complete his task. There was a lumberjack who was watching him and after understanding his struggle  he came to him and gave him an advice that he should first sharpen the saw as his saw was not sharpen enough to cut the tree. After listening the man replied,it will take time to sharpen the axe. Now you might find the reply stupid but we are also somewhat like this man only. We can’t take out 30 minutes from our day to exercise to have a good health, we can’t read a book for 15 minutes to improve our knowledge but we shamelessly complain that why we have such kind of life.

This habit focused on improving ourselves or taking time to sharpen the axe. One of the best thing you can do with your time is to spend on improvising yourself continuously. To be effective we must devote our time in improving ourselves

  • Physically – Exercise, nutrition, stress management
  • Mentally – reading, writing, visualizing, planning
  • Socially/Emotional–service, empathy, synergy, security
  • Spiritually – spiritual reading, study, meditation, prayer

This will help us to practice the remaining 6 habits as it surrounds all the other habits and make each one possible by preserving and enhancing the greatest asset we have – i.e. ourselves.

These concepts are taken from the book – The 7 Habits of highly effective people by Stephen R.Covey. This book was first published in 1989 with an approach to be an effective person to attain goals by aligning the person’s own self with “True North” principles of character ethic that Stephen R.Covey has presented as universal and timeless.


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