The 7 Habits

Stephen Richards Covey (October 24, 1932 – July 16, 2012) was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. His most popular book was The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.   His other books include First Things FirstPrinciple-Centered LeadershipThe Seven Habits of Highly Effective FamiliesThe 8th Habit, and The Leader In Me — How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time. He was a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University at the time of his death.

Stephen R. Covey speaking 

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The 7 Habits

The book first introduces the concept of Paradigm Shift and prepares the reader for a change in mindset. It helps the reader understand that there exists a different perspective, a viewpoint that may be different from his or her own and asserts that two people can see the same thing and yet differ with each other. Once the reader is prepared for this, it introduces the seven habits, in a proper order.

An Animated Book Review

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Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits,which are represented by the following imperatives:


The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):

• Habit 1: Be Proactive

Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

• Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

• Habit 3: Put First Things First

A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation; rule three is the physical creation.


The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others):

• Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had got his way.

• Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.

• Habit 6: Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.

Continuous Improvement

The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.

• Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.

Time Management Matrix

One of the many useful tools Covey introduces (this one in Habit 3, "Put first things First") is the Time Matrix template:

(more examples here)

Eisenhower's quote, 

"What is important is seldom urgent 
and what is urgent is seldom important," 

sums up the concept of the matrix perfectly. 

This so-called "Eisenhower Principle" is said to be how Eisenhower organized his tasks. As a result, the matrix is sometimes called the Eisenhower Matrix. - See more here

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There's a time management playlist here which starts with a classic visual representation that explains the 4 quadrants (and why it's most effective to prioretize quadrant 2 activities).

(If the link doesn't work try this one)

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Videos in YouTube

there are lots HERE!  Especially see Covey's own.

There's a dialogue related to this page in the Integral Permaculture FB group (click icon to go there)

There's a dialogue in our FB group about starting a Study Circle on the Habits (click icon to go there)