13 life lessons from highly effective people

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We all want to be effective in life and achieve more. Our personal effectiveness translates into success in career and personal life. But how to become more effective? What are the habits that make people effective? What are their secrets? The people who can tell us how to be effective are the people who are already highly effective. So, here comes a book talking about the seven habits of highly effective people. Book’s name is ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’. 

This book is one of the most popular self-help books ever written. The author did extensive research immersing himself in 200 years’ worth of literature on the topic. The book was first published in 1989, and 25 million copies of this book are sold worldwide. Its success continues even to this day. So, what are the 7 habits of highly effective people mentioned in his book?

Here are 13 life lessons from this all-time bestseller

1. Instead of trying to change your behaviour, change your habits because habits drive your behaviour. We are creatures of habit. Out habits pull us in a certain direction and define our life.

2. The 7 habits of highly effective people are as below.

1. Being proactive

2. Beginning with an end in mind

3. Putting first things first

4. Thinking win-win

5. Seeking first to understand, then to be understood

6. Synergizing

7. Sharpening the Saw

3. There are two ways to improve yourself. The first way is to get the skills that are needed for your behavior to change. For example, if you want to improve your marriage, you can improve your communication skills. This is the first way. And the second way is working on your character. Your character means your habits and belief systems. So, in the second way, if you want to improve your marriage, you work on becoming a more positive person.

The second way is preferred over the first way because the results are long-lasting and much deeper than the results achieved from the first way. The first way is more like a shortcut, and the results are temporary. Unless you change your habits and belief systems, results will not last long.

4. We perceive the world based on our thought patterns, beliefs, and paradigms. If a person who is afraid of strange places is lost in a new city, he will get frustrated and becomes panicky about the situation. Whereas, if a person is adventurous, he enjoys being lost in the new city. So, how we respond and perceive the world around depends on our attitude. There is no objective reality. It is only subjective reality.

5. Instead of just reacting to the world around us, each one of us has the power to influence it proactively. Even though all of us have this power, many people choose to be reactive. Reactive people complain and fret about things. They think of themselves as a victim. On the other hand, proactive people create their own circumstances. All great leaders are proactive people.

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6. There are two concentric circles in life. Outer circle is the circle of concern that represents things you are concerned about, like your bills, recession etc. Inside this circle, a smaller circle is present. This circle is the circle of influence. This circle represents all the things you can actually do something about. Reactive people work on the areas in the circle of concern. Proactive people work on the areas in the circle of influence. 

7. When we start working on the areas in the circle of influence, it grows bigger and bigger. Our influence grows. When we work on the area in the circle of concern, the circle of influence becomes smaller and smaller.

8. It is important to have the desired end in your mind before you start the task. When you know what you want and can visualize it in detail, you can achieve better results. When you start doing something without knowing your end result, it leads to chaos.

9. Many people work on goals that don’t really matter to them because they fail to understand the difference between being efficient and being effective—being efficient means getting the maximum amount of work done in the shortest amount of time and being effective means getting done the important work and the work that matters to you. It’s more important to be effective than efficient.

10. Many people operate from the viewpoint of competition and work in a “win-lose” strategy. This strategy does not bring long term success, and when two people with a “win-lose” strategy come together, it becomes “lose-lose.”

11. Work with a “win-win” mindset where everyone involved in the deal is a winner. There is enough for everyone, and a “win-win” mindset brings positive long term relationships and more success.

12. Below are some pointers to build long-lasting relationships with others.

1. Always keep your promises.

2. Be explicit about what you expect from the other person.

3. Be courteous.

4. Never bad-mouth others.

5. Be loyal.

6. Understand others.

7. Don’t reveal what others told you in confidence.

13. Take care of yourself and improve every day. Increase your effectiveness by taking care of your health on all levels – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Below are some pointers on how to take care of yourself on all these levels.

1. Physical health – Exercise regularly, eat healthy and avoid stress.

2. Emotional health – Understand others, build positive relationships and work on projects that improve lives around you.

3. Mental health – Read good books, journal every day, reduce your TV time.

4. Spiritual health – Pray, Meditate, reflect on your values.

These are some ways to take care of yourself on all levels.

These are some lessons derived from this bestseller. What makes this book an interesting read is that the examples quoted by the author are thought-provoking. These examples help us understand the concepts and habits of highly effective people easily and remember them. If you are looking to change your habits and increase your effectiveness in life, this book is a great one to start with.

Wish you and your family success!

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