7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey Summary


Being highly effective in almost every person’s dream if not all. Everybody wants to achieve their goals in life, work, and business among other personal issues. Efficiency can therefore be described as the ability to produce or achieve results as anticipated or planned. The results achieved have to be pleasant to the person accomplishing the task. The seven habits of highly effective people can be said to be the guideline to success among many people today. For those who follow covey’s habits to the later find themselves achieving their goals and dreams becoming part of the highly effective people in the world who have got what they want through the habits (Bill, 1). The seven habits areas are listed below.

Be proactive

A proactive person is one who does things without making up excuses or giving excuses. This is the kind of person who is aware of his her responsibility and they know they are liable for what they have done or failed to do. A proactive person is willing and ready to do anything and he or she believes they are capable of doing it. Such kinds of people’s lives are free of blame games, unlike the reactive people. The reactive lack self-confidence and consider themselves unable to do anything. For reactive people, they are always looking for the smallest excuse to make their way out of any responsibility. Reactive people give conditions for everything they do for instance if you invited a reactive person to your house he or she may tell you if it does not rain I will be there on time. But for a proactive person come rain come sunshine they will make sure they are there on time. By being proactive and ensuring that we focus on issues that affect our social lives we shall be able to achieve our goals and targets in life.

Begin with the end in mind

To begin with, the end in mind means that you need to have a mission, goal or purpose for whatever you are doing (Bill, 1). The end is the result that is anticipated and this according to effective people it may be termed as a success. Before you embark on a project you first need to know why you are doing it and what you expect after the completion. It may sound awkward planning for the future before dealing with the present but this will serve as a guideline that helps you stay on track. Having a mission helps you to know if you are achieving you’re your set goals or you are headed for the wrong path. People who become successful in life normally have goals and objectives in their lives. These goals and objectives need to become part and parcel of their lives and practice them regularly to ensure that you get the satisfaction you yearn for.

According to Stephen covey, a person’s success in life is measured by how much he or she has achieved in his lifetime. One’s achievements are determined by the plans and objectives one has. If a person is able to set objectives and make sure that they meet or fulfill their dreams then they are said to be effective. Having the end in mind is like boarding a bus and knowing your final destination. In this way, the bus may stop at different places in the mid of your journey but because you know where you are going to you do not alight just because the bus has stopped. For a person who does not know their destination, they may board anywhere the bus stops because they do not have a specific destination. In life that is why covey recommends having an end or destination in mind to guide you.

First things first

This third habit generally looks at proper time management. This is where you know what is essential and give it a top priority. By prioritizing events you are able to know what is urgent and important to you. Knowing what is important and how important it is you will be able to allocate adequate time for each event you plan to undertake and thereby you will be able to achieve your dreams. This habit requires one to know their priorities and deal with them first before the others that are less urgent or important. The habit of doing first things first is dependent on the second habit where one is required to have identified what they want and the level of urgency for each.

Covey explains that putting events in order of their priority or importance is a step to success. This implies that by dealing with first things first you are able to handle issues that are of great importance to you. In so doing you will manage your time wisely and thereby achieve your dreams and ambitions. This will ensure that you do not have time to deal with issues that are of less importance which may lead

Think win-win

At times known as no deal is a psychological attitude rather than a physical concern. It mainly deals with the relationship between different individuals. This idea looks at trying to understand disputes among people and finding a solution to remedy the situation. Literally, win-win means that it’s a form of competition between people where it is likened to gambling. This implies that if one person wins then it is obvious that the other loses. In reality, win-win is about cooperating with fellow human beings in order to benefit mutually from the cooperation.

This habit calls for individuals to be tough and nice in their characters. This will help them in their decision-making process and standing for their rights.

Seek first to understand then to be understood

Communication is important in life as it involves speaking and listening. People spend so many years learning how to speak but none in learning how to listen. In everyday life, everyone wants to be heard and not hear the other. This is what brings about a barrier in communication because everyone wants to speak and be heard and not the other way round (Bill, 1).

According to Stephen covey for effective people communication is a key feature. In order for a person to listen to your views first, you have to start by listening to them as they speak then when they are through you can speak and they too will listen to you. If you do not listen to the person you are speaking to then they too will not listen to you. If you do not find what they are telling you interesting then you just listen to what is important to you and neglect the rest. By so doing you will enhance communication and create a rapport between the listener and the speaker. For effective communication to be complete the two parties need to come to an agreement and in the absence of understanding a way forward should be established.


Synergy is the process of working in teams or groups. Synergy is supported by the old adage two heads are better than one. This is the process where two people put their heads together to deal with a certain matter. Performing a task individually is at times not as effective as doing it in a team or a group. People who come together veritably find themselves producing quality results. Working in groups sees a diversity of talents brought together to come up with a brilliant idea.

Covey claims that by working in a team more one needs to do away with their differences and forget their strengths and weaknesses then they can achieve their dreams.

Sharpen the saw

Sharpening the saw is a process of becoming a better person or being a more effective person. It involves engaging in relaxation in physical, spiritual, psychological and emotional activities. Renewing oneself creates well-being in an individual which makes them ready to start working. Covey emphasizes sharpening the saw or refreshing to enable a person to be more productive by being relaxed. The human body when relaxed is said to be at its best and is more effective.


According to Stephen Covey if the seven habits are followed later they will lead to a generation of effective people. These habits are not inherited or acquired one needs to learn them and put them into practice in order to be effective and live a successful life.


Bill, G. (2010). A Closer Look at Stephen Covey and His 7 Habits. Web.

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