“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” This is the main focus of the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. Sean is an American business executive, author, motivational speaker and the president of FranklinCovey Education foundation. He’s described as a new generation thought leader. He has also penned the bestselling books, The 4 Disciplines of Execution and The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.
His most famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is centred on the idea of understanding and building healthy habits that will help us grow as individuals and as a society.
Here are 5 lessons that we absolutely love from this book:
Understanding the defective habits
You must know the habits to succeed, but in order to reach your goals, it’s equally if not more important to know the habits that hold you back. Sean starts off the book with a brief explanation of what he termed The 7 Habits of Highly Defective Teens, and they are the exact opposites of the effective habits.
The seven habits that generally pull you back and you must avoid are:
- React instead of respond
- Begin with no end in mind
- Put first things last
- Think Win-Lose
- Seek first to talk, then pretend to listen
- Don’t cooperate
- Wear yourself out
Understanding paradigms and principles
In this section, Sean very explicitly explains the meaning of paradigm and principles. Another word for paradigm is perception, paradigm is nothing but your point of view about something or your belief. With fun examples, he explains how paradigms can be way off the mark at times and create limiting beliefs. Paradigms are like tainted glasses; whichever colour is the taint is how you see the world.
Sean explains that we tend to centre or hook ourselves around certain paradigms, be it, self, relationships, school, hobby or anything else that most appeals to us. But he explains the importance of understanding and stating your principles and being principle centred. Principles are the values that matter to you. Honesty is a value; kindness is a value. Being principle centred is all about creating your own value system. This is important because a principle is a natural law and we cannot break that law.
The personal bank account
This part of the book is all about YOU. It urges you to concentrate on developing and prioritising yourself. It’s important to understand that you will never succeed in the big world wars till you win the private battles with yourself. Sean talks about starting with ‘the man in the mirror.’ If you want to make the world a better place, look at yourself and start there.
Sean advocates the idea of working inside out instead of the other way round. It’s like imagining yourself as a bank account, anytime you do anything that degrades or disagrees with yourself and your principles, it’s like making a withdrawal from your account. On the other hand, whenever you do something that upgrades your self-worth and self-esteem, it’s like you’re making a deposit in your account. It’s all about creating the first-rate version of yourself so that you can offer the best of you to the world.
The relation bank account
This is the part about everything that your life is made up of. Here Sean is writing about how you can prepare yourself for forging better relationships in all aspects of your life. This is all about applying your understanding and principles to everyone and everything around you.
It’s about working on the outside of your personal boundaries but in accordance with yourself. He makes us understand that each relationship is also like a bank account, everything good, like kindness and keeping promises that you put in is like making a deposit and every negative thing like, misunderstanding and being disloyal are like making withdrawals. And developing a healthy relationship is all about maintaining a balance between your relationship with others and yourself.
Understanding the effective habits
Of course, this is what the book is all about. Understanding and developing habits that will help you succeed in your personal and professional lives. The best part is that these habits are not a secret or very difficult to follow. Infact these are those small habits that we think about implementing every single day. So, what’s special about these included in this book? Well instead of just explaining the habits and leaving it at that, Sean goes on to give practical, to the point tips and everyday exercises that you can follow to make these habits a part of you. He calls them ‘Baby Steps’ and these are included at the end of each chapter to help you devise your own plan of action.
So, what are these habits?
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think Win-Win
- Seek first to understand and then to be understood
- Sharpen the saw
Who is this book for?
Though the title says for teens this book is a pure gem, has no age barriers and is a must-read for everybody. If you’re looking forward to creating a life that you love and are proud of, then go read this book.
Where can you get it?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey is available in all the major bookstores offline and online.
Book Title: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Publication: Simon and Schuster
This book will guide you to form the habits that will help you create the life that you love!