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Habits and How to Create Them

Discuss about the Coveys 7 Habits for Becoming Highly Effective.

The aim of this paper is to offer insights and become engaged in my personal as well as professional life. The paper is based upon Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is a reflective piece of writing that shall help me in becoming more effective in daily life. This report accounts for the seven habits created that would help me strive.

Concepts

Personality and character may sound similar but both have different meanings. The main difference is that personality refers to the traits an individual is born with. However, character refers to the individual’s integrity and helps in depicting the moral values. Primary greatness deals with inside of a person’s character. Secondary greatness comes from awards, wealth, fame and success (Covey).

Paradigm shift refers to the fundamental change in approaches or underlying assumptions (Covey). In his book, Covey presents the ideas about enhancing personal and professional success. The paradigm shift relates to Covey’s concepts as he states that the things we see is shaped by our attitudes and perceptions. We need to allow ourselves to see the world in a new light (Ditzler). I have experienced a paradigm shift in my life by taking the responsibility of my own actions. Previously I believed that whatever I do, I shall get what is in my fate. But I experienced a paradigm shift and realized that my efforts play a significant role in shaping up.

Covey defines habit as an intersection of knowledge, skill and desire. There are seven elements that are necessary to be achieved such as being proactive, beginning with end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand than being understood, synergizing and sharpening the saw (Covey). Out of the seven elements, I think it would be reasonable to start between now and Mid-June is being proactive. Being proactive implies to simply taking initiative and choosing the ability to response.

Effectiveness

Covey defines effectiveness based on seven habits that includes being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting things first, thinking to win-win, seeking first to understand that to be understood, synergizing, and shaping the saw. These habits are based on certain principles and ensure effectiveness in personal and professional life when inculcated (Covey).

P/PC balance refers to production/ production balance. This P/PC equation has been used to describe the effectiveness of a production process. People think that the key to effectiveness is to produce more. However, real effectiveness comes from two things – what is actually produced and the thing that produces it (Covey).

Balance and Circle of Influence

E.g. – In my work place, the managers are always focused on Production (achieving targets)  neglecting the Production Capacity (employees) , that leads to increasing employees’ stress levels and overall decline in productivity.

Covey describes a reactive person as someone who does not take control of his life and blames others for their choices and behaviour. They always find an excuse and are affected by the external environment. Proactive people on the other hand are conscious of their external environment and make choices accordingly. They take full responsibility for their actions or behaviour. These people are does not blame others and find way to overcome challenges (Rao).

E.g. – Once I got poor grades in exams and I blamed my teachers for that. However, the more proactive approach would be to accept my own fault for not preparing for the exam and taking measures to improve scores for the next exam.

Circle of influence refers to those things that are in our control whereas things that we cannot control come under the circle of concern (Dahlgaard).

Covey’s Circle of Influence and Concern

Fig.: (Covey’s Circle of Influence and Concern)

I would like to admit that I have been a reactive person all my life; however, I have fully understood the limitations that being a reactive person has to face and would like to bring positive changes in my life become a proactive individual (Covey).

Steps to become proactive

  1. Taking control of circumstances rather than blaming others
  2. Setting short term and long term goals and developing skills to achieve them
  3. Creating opportunity rather waiting for them
  4. Making conscious choices and taking full responsibility for the outcomes (Rao).

By “being with the end in the mind” Covey implies that in order to be truly effective in reaching your goals people need to understand what they wants to achieve and devote their time and energy on achieving those final goals. Further, Covey also points out that if you do not have your end objective in mind then you are allowing external forces and circumstances to shape your destiny (Covey).

Most of the time I begin my projects and tasks with end in mind, however, for long terms projects or goals I tend to procrastinate and does not follow any specific plan of action. However, by inculcating this habit would be useful for me in my life. For instance, I find it difficult to concentrate on long-term goals such as learning new technical skills. I get distracted after taking the initiative, however if I develop proper action plan and focus on results (benefits), I would be able to achieve my goals (Hewitt).

Development Actions

Description

Impact

Resources

Preparing personal statements

I will reassess my priorities and make plan for myself (Hewitt)

My personal statements would assist me in staying focused and provide me with the directions for achieving personal goals.

Reading autobiographical books of successful person would help me understand how to stay focused (Ciarrochi and Mayer).

Visualizing expected outcome

I will put myself in situations that distract me from achieving my goals and visualize myself where I does not get distracted.

Visualizing myself in desired situations would motivate me to stay focused and strive for my end goals.  

Just a little bit of imagination and self-discipline would help me to stay on the right path (Starr et al.).

Table 1- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Urgent

Not Urgent

Important

 

Q1: Quadrant of necessity

·         Exams tomorrow

·         Project due today

·         Family member gets injured

Q2: Quadrant of personal leadership

·         Relationships

·         Exams scheduled in a week

·         Exercise

Not Important

Q3: Quadrant of deception

·         Peer pressure

·         Distractions at work

·         Phone calls, emails

Q4: Quadrant of waste

·         Watching too much TV

·         Playing too much PC games

·         Mall marathons (Haimes).

Habit 1 Be Proactive: Reactive vs. Proactive

(Source: as created by author)

Out of these four quadrants, I tend to operate most at Quadrant 3 while I operate least at Quadrant 4. Further I spend 40% of my time on Q3 activities, 30% on Q1 activities, 20% on Q2 and remaining 10% on Q4 activities. In order to reinforce Habit three I have to undertake following activities:

Prioritizing my tasks or activities

Organizing myself based on identified priorities

Self discipline and motivation (Hewitt)

By following these steps I would be able to able to spend most of my time in Q2. Although, Q1 activities are urgent and demand immediate attention, however, working on Q2 is the key to personal time management. Q2 activities are high importance activities and when performed regularly would result in decrease in Q1 activities and enable me stay focused on achieving my end objectives (Handel and Steckler).

According to Covey, an emotional bank account is the account of truth and safe we feel with another person. My emotional bank account level is high. My experience has been positive as I am myself with others. I am honest that helps people maintain a solid level of trust on me. For example, my team members have faith in me as I give them honest opinions about their work (Atwater and Waldman).

A win-win is a frame of mind and heart seeking mutual benefit in all interactions. I fail to resolve conflict as often I fail to be sympathetic towards situations. I have a task-oriented nature and likely to take risks to accomplish a task. I need to be emotionally intelligent to resolve conflict in a win-win manner (Murphy). The table below shows the action or activity that I could do for developing new paradigm for enhancing myself.

Development Actions

Description

Impact

Resources

Self-evaluation and generating feedback

I shall ask other people to provide me feedback and rationale after the parties are done explaining. I need to conduct a self-evaluation where I would have the courage to look at myself with honesty (Hewitt).

Establishing a strong rapport in my professional life. It shall provide better understanding of the grievances of involved parties in personal life.

I need self-evaluative tools that are available online as it would help me assessing strengths and weaknesses (Ciarrochi and Mayer).

Table 2- Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Listening is an important skill for communication and connection. I undertook a quiz to evaluate my listening skills. According to the score interpretation, I possess good listening skills. People can approach me if they want someone to listen as I give full attention to them. I do not interrupt the people too much or talk too much about myself while they are talking.

Development Actions

Description

Impact

Resources

Correct use of body language

I need to use more gestures and make the speaker feel valued by nodding occasionally, smiling and using other facial expressions. I must also have an inviting posture and encourage the speaker to continue speaking.

The gestures and actions shall enable and encourage the speaker to communicate effectively. The speaker shall not hesitate if I use empathetic gestures. The speaker shall be ensured that I am listening that would make him contented (Ciarrochi and Mayer).

Read books and watch videos about how to become a better listener (Ciarrochi and Mayer).

Table 2- Seek First to Understand

In my opinion, synergy is the cooperation between two people who fruitfully benefit each other. It differs from the Covey’s definition as for him it is the whole that is greater than sum of parts. To put it clearly, he considers two heads better than one. When working in a team, I assure that the deadlines are met because I believe in punctuality and discipline. I have a kinaesthetic learning style as I find it beneficial to carry out physical activities than listening to lectures or watching demonstrations (Lengel and Kuczala).

Development Actions

Description

Impact

Resources

Greater initiative

I shall involve in discussions and activities.

It shall be beneficial for me and the group as there will be more creative ideas present for every issue.

The encouragement by mentor shall help me in developing synergy (Weiten and Lloyd).

Your Circle of Influence

Table 3- Habit 6 Synergize

According to Covey, sharpening the saw is the single most powerful weapon that deals with enhancing own performance. I need to focus on physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being for sharpening my saw.

Goals

Physical- My first goal is to get onto a healthy nutrition plan that would help me in gaining physical well-being. I need to pick up a healthy diet with a balance of nutritional elements. Also, I need to get in the best shape of myself. I shall develop exercising habits on a regular basis that would help me keep fit and brain active (Eichten).

Mental- I need to feel positive and good. My goal is also to reduce anxiety and depression.

Social/ Emotional- I must engage in conversations and turn as an extrovert. I must help people in needs without expecting things in return (Hewitt).

Spiritual- I shall increase my spiritual well being and commit good deeds under all circumstances. My goal is to pick up and memorize a life verse (Bennett).

Objectives

Physical- I need to reduce my fats by 10% in one month and increase muscles that would help me stay active. I need to increase my concentration level by 20% in one month my practicing meditation.

Mental- I need to devote at least an hour in a day in a hobby that makes me feel positive. I must not sleep less than seven hours in a day (Bennett).

Social/ Emotional- I shall increase my social engagement by 10% in one month. I shall increase my emotional consciousness by 5% regularly.

Spiritual- I intend to serve regularly at the church. I shall increase my knowledge about all religions and study ten pages regularly (Bennett).

Conclusion

Every small thing matters in my life. I do not hesitate to accept my shortcomings and make the best of life I can. My mission is to be happy and I have accepted the fact that everything is going to be good in the end. Hard work pays off. I shall never stop working hard despite its results.

References

Atwater, Leanne E and David A Waldman. Leadership, Feedback, And The Open Communication Gap. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2012. Print.

Bennett, Pastor William. Better Life Now. New York: Xlibris Corporation, 2013. Print.

Ciarrochi, Joseph and John D Mayer. Applying Emotional Intelligence. New York: Psychology Press, 2013. Print.

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 habits of highly effective families. St. Martin's Press, 2014.

Covey, Stephen R. The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. Simon and Schuster, 2013.

Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014. Print.

Dahlgaard-Park, Su Mi. "Core values–the entrance to human satisfaction and commitment." Total Quality Management & Business Excellence 23.2 (2012): 125-140.

Ditzler, Jinny. "Personal Transformation: Anything Is Possible". Huffington Post India. N.p., 2012. Web. 28 July 2016.

Eichten, Chuck. The Book Of Better. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2011. Print.

Haimes, Yacov Y. Risk modeling, assessment, and management. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.

Handel, Daniel A., and Nicole A. Steckler. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Rounding." Journal of graduate education 5.4 (2013): 705-706.

Hewitt, William W. Self-Hypnosis For A Better Life. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 2012. Print.

Lengel, Traci and Mike Kuczala. The Kinesthetic Classroom. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2011. Print.

Murphy, Jim. Managing Conflict At Work. Burr Ridge, Ill.: Business One Irwin/Mirror Press, 2012. Print.

Rao, Harika. "Workers Can't Find Jobs, Jobs Can't Find Workers: Solving the Talent Paradox." Journal for Leadership and Instruction 14.2 (2015): 12-17.

Starr, Kevin D., Heiko Petersen, and Margret Bauer. "Control loop performance monitoring–ABB’s experience over two decades." (2016).

Weiten, Wayne and Margaret A Lloyd. Psychology Applied To Modern Life. Pacific Grove, Calif.: Brooks/Cole Pub. Co., 2012. Print.

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