7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Thoughts!!
Recently I read this book for the 2nd time in the last couple of years. Though this time around I didn’t want to just read it but to really put the 7 habits into practice.
To be honest I’m not a big fan of self-help books but this one is worth even penny I spent. Note that this is not a book that teaches you to be “efficient”. The market has scores of such books that teach you to manage your time “efficiently” or to be the most “efficient” worker and so on. Rather this book teaches you to be “effective”, an effective worker, an effective spouse, an effective parent, an effective member of the community.
There is plenty to like in this book. Of course the author talks about the 7 habits and various ways to inculcate them. But there are also numerous stories, anecdotes and quotes that make the reading very enjoyable.
The following appears in the last chapter. I remembered this from the first time I read the book.
“Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long, continued process.”
And it hit me like a bolt of lighting. I couldn’t shake off the words for quite some time. It cannot get any truer than this. You cannot expect to rise up to the biggest challenge of your life unless all your life you have trained diligently for it. You will surely succumb to that great temptation unless you have worked on building a strong character. What you do every day is who you end up being!
A different chapter talks about “empathic listening” and what it entails. In order to drive the point home the author says, “to touch someone’s soul is to walk on holy ground”. “Beautiful words!”, I thought to myself.
One of my favorite ideas from the book is that of writing a personal mission statement. I’d surmise that a lot of people do have a set of principles that they live by but never really verbalize them. And many others just go through life without ever having a set of principles at all. So you are thinking..hmm, what is the big deal? why is it so important to have a personal mission statement? I’ll tell you why and I’m really paraphrasing the author here. It’s important because it gives you an unshakable core. Any athlete will tell you how important it is to strengthen your body’s core. It keeps you stable, it keeps you balanced and most importantly it makes you strong. In exactly the same way a personal mission statement gives you a core to keep yourself balanced and stable. No matter how dire the circumstances it is this personal mission statement that guides you. And ideally this core i.e. the personal mission statement is based on the “correct” universal principles like honesty and integrity.
Many people are money-minded i.e. their core is mostly monetary. Many others are family or spouse oriented i.e. all the decisions they take are dictated by their dependence on their family or their spouse. Some people’s core is their work. But all of these are fickle. You may have money today but tomorrow you may not. You may be enjoying your work today but tomorrow you may be out of it. You may have a wonderful family/spouse right now but it could go all awry tomorrow. People that do not have a central core based on the right principles will feel completely disoriented when something like that happens. But the universal truths, they aren’t going anywhere. No matter what the situation they have always been around and always will be around. And that is why it is so important to center your mission statement around these principles.
Needless to say I have already worked out my personal mission statement!
So that was it! Those were some of things I really enjoyed about the book. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.