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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary

Here’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People summary. Learn important and timeless principles that will solve your professional and personal problems.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author Stephen Covey explained the practices that make people get more results and get more done. He distilled them into easy-to-remember 7 habits.

If you apply those 7 habits, you will live with dignity and integrity. You will also learn how to take advantages of opportunities that arise from change.

About the Author

Stephen Covey inspired millions of readers and listeners through his timeless principles. His core message is this: we must be principle-centered in all areas of our lives.

His international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has already sold over 25 million copies and was translated in 40 languages. His other bestsellers include First Things First, Principle-Centered Leadership, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.

Main takeaways: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Put first things first.
  3. Begin with the end in mind.

Be proactive

Instead of being reactive, practice being proactive. This will help you feel in control. Remind yourself that you’re in charge of your situation.

Things happen. But we should not let them dictate all our words and actions. We all have the power to decide on how should we respond. When we deliberately choose how we respond, we become responsible.

Response-ability or responsibility will help you overcome problems. It will also help you become strong in tough situations. You know for yourself that you can come up with solutions.

When you are proactive, you become more effective. You can choose your goals. You can choose the activities that will bring you closer to them. And people will look up to you because you now have a direction.

Put first things first

Set priorities. And then focus on them.

To know our priorities, let’s figure out what are the most important things. Do we need more money? Better health? Cost-efficiency?

Whatever your priorities, you must put first things first. Set aside time into doing those things. Do them first before doing anything else. This way you’re sure the important things get done.

Aside from important things, there are also urgent tasks. The latter is about solving problems and crises. If we focus more on urgent tasks, we actually are being reactive instead of proactive.

To be proactive, we must focus on the important tasks. If we devote quality time to those, we can prevent problems. It’s the proactive approach.

Important and proactive activities also include planning and relationship building. You’ll get much more results when you do them effectively.

Begin with the end in mind

Start with a clear destination. Know your goals. Know what you want to become. If you have a clear destination, you will have focus.

What do you want exactly? More income? Respect? More recognition? List your goals and wants. Get specific. Fill in the details. Know when you should achieve those goals and how to get there.

Once you have a clear end in mind, you can now focus. You will be directed to effective and efficient courses of action. You will come up of ways on how to achieve your goals.

Instead of wondering each day what you should do, you now have a clear purpose. You have activities lined up that can help you get what you want. You won’t be able to waste much time on activities irrelevant to your goals.

If you have an end in mind, your decisions and actions become clear. Your interpretations of events will also change. You might see some events as beneficial to you. Then you can exploit those opportunities to attain your objectives.

Aside from being proactive, putting first things first, and beginning with the end in mind, you will also learn the following from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  • How to think win/win
  • How to apply the principles of empathetic communication
  • How to facilitate creative cooperation
  • Why you should sharpen the saw
  • How to become a principle-centered person

My personal takeaways

This book is a classic. You will read many online articles that touch one or more of the principles outlined in the book.

The principles are common in both self-help and corporate settings. As I’ve said, the principles can help you improve both your professional and personal life.

Success should touch all areas. Wealth, health, relationships, career, and more. If we apply the 7 habits regularly, we will achieve more success and happiness in our lives.

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