Let’s face it, there are no shortcuts to anything in life and if you think you have it, you’re most likely wrong. Though, Stephen Covey managed to pick out the most beneficial habits a person can adapt in order to become as effective as possible in life.
“Almost all the literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the characteristic ethic as the foundation for success” Stephen Covey once said. Before this modern era, people learned about the character ethic: integrity, humility, courage, modesty. Today the focus lays in the personality ethic: public image, social interactions, appearance. Nevertheless, Covey stresses that “people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character.” So, let’s learn these principles and start using them.
Principle #1 – Be Proactive
Realize that what is in your hands can be controlled but what you don’t have to power of changing you must accept and forget. You won’t help yourself by arguing against something that you clearly can’t change. Arguing simply means putting less effort into making your dream come true. Instead, ask yourself, “how can I improve my product/skill so my customers/boss can’t live without it?” See how you’re being proactive 😉
Principle #2 – Leave a Legacy
Begin with the end in mind and think about your life as “did I do everything in my power to be the best version of myself?” Did I do my very best at being a good basketball player/mentor/spouse? Work on your legacy daily and do not forget that leaving a legacy is not something you work on for a week each month, it’s a constant process.
Principle #3 – Put what you value the most FIRST
What are the most important things in life? Perhaps well being, relationships and family & children. If it is well being, make sure to have a good nutrition plan, exercise, love the job that you have and work hard. If it’s family, spend time with your family and friends instead of browsing on social media for things that actually do not matter as much when you get home from school/work/practice.
Principle #4 Help someone help you – have the win-win mentality
If you push someone to become better, that person will, in turn, push you towards becoming better as well. If you go hard in practice every day, you do not only make the other person better but yourself too, which in turn means that you play against better opponents which makes you better. Same goes in the business world, if you read someone else’s book, refer others to read it, then that person does the same to you, they read your book, and refer it to their readers. BOM, you get double the amount of readers. If you are not at math but you learn languages extremely quickly, help someone with tricks for learning languages and they’ll teach you tricks in math. You will come far more ahead in life by helping others.
Principle #5 Seek first to understand then to be understood.
Does your work offer any value? For example, my work on the basketball court means that my team will win. My work offers value to me if I work hard and do what I like to do, my teammates will benefit from it because as a team we will win. For us to understand someone we have to listen to them, not do the opposite. We get aggravated with people because they do not think the way we think. But have we thought about thinking the way they think?
Principle #6 Synergy = work together to achieve greater accomplishments.
Do not be a lonely wolf, if you are going to work out, bring a friend because research shows that competitive people often end up going harder in a workout when they are going head to head against someone who is on the same level as them or slightly better. Obviously, this does not work with everyone but you can try to find that buddy who will push you and make both of you better. If you are on any kind of team, have the bigger picture in mind, understand your purpose and do your part in order for the team to succeed in the end.
Principle #7 Sharpen the Saw
Do the work that takes to get to where you want to be. In the book, Covey talks about sharpening the saw, walk away from the goal of cutting down the tree, sharpen the saw and come back with a sharpened saw and cut down that tree quicker than you would’ve before when it wasn’t sharpened. Yes, you will take time off cutting, but that time will be invested wisely, it won’t go to waste. Same goes to say in the basketball world, if you want to get in better shape, do extra intervals 2-3 times a week and take care of your nutrition and you will see results. The definition of insanity reads “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results,” Albert Einstein. Don’t be insane, fix what you want to change.