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Author Topic: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ~ Stephen R. Covey  (Read 395 times)
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« on: December 07, 2018, 10:15:26 AM »

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Author: Stephen R. Covey
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Anniversary edition (2004)
Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1451639619
ISBN-13: 9781451639612

The 7 Habits are:

1) Be Proactive
    As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. We have the independent will to make our own choices and decisions, and the responsibility ("the ability to respond") to make the right choices. You have the freedom to choose your own fate and path, so having the independent will, imagination and self-awareness to make the right move makes you a proactive, and not a reactive, person.

2) Begin With The End In Mind
    Mental visualization is extremely important. Covey says that all things are created twice: first, the mental conceptualization and visualization and a second physical, actual creation. Becoming your own creator means to plan and visualize what you're going to do and what you're setting out to accomplish and then go out and creating it. Identifying your personal statement and your principles will help.

3) Put First Things First
    With your power of independent will, you can create the ending you want to have. Part of that comes with effective time management, starting with matters of importance. Then tasks should be completed based on urgency after you deal with all the important matters. If you deal with crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects first, your life will be a lot easier.

4) Think Win/Win

    If you believe in a better way to accomplish goals that's mutually beneficial to all sides, that's a win/win situation. "All parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan," Covey wrote. "One person's success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others." If you have integrity and maturity, there's no reason win/win situations can't happen all the time.

5) Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
    If you're a good listener and you take the time to understand a concept, it will help you convey your opinions, plans and goals to others. It starts with communication and strong listening skills, followed by diagnosing the situation and then communicating your solution to others.

6) Synergize
    Synergistic communication, according to Covey, is "opening your mind and heart to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options." This applies to the classroom, the business world and wherever you could apply openness and communication. It's all about building cooperation and trust.

7) Sharpen The Saw
    Sometimes you're working so hard on the other six habits that you forget about re-energizing and renewing yourself to sharpen yourself for the tasks in front of you. Some sharpening techniques include exercise and nutrition, reading, planning and writing, service and empathy and commitment, study and meditation.

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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2018, 04:49:17 PM »

I read this book back in the day. I remember it as being very motivating. Integrity is what sticks out.

“Adversity can destroy you, or become your best seller.”
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2018, 12:45:56 PM »

It's been many years since I read this book, but it was very influential for me, just after I divorced my first BPD husband.

To respond to the individual points in the book:
1. Being proactive was a great concept for me because after growing up with a BPD mom and a long marriage to a BPD husband, I was stuck in the reactivity cycle--always reacting to the cherry bombs and atomic blasts my BPD loved ones were flinging at me.

2. Begin with the end in mind. I was typically good at creating things; I created a number of businesses over the years. However I didn't always follow through with my thinking to visualize if what I was creating was sustainable or enjoyable for me in the long term.

3. Prioritizing. I have to put things on paper to organize them in my mind. I have lists of lists and I use my yellow highlighter to note what things I should take care of immediately.

4. Win/Win--I've always looked for ways that everyone could benefit.

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This is doubly important in dealing with pwBPD and is definitely a weak point for me. I can so easily assume that I understand then just plow forward with my goals and priorities, then whoops! It appears that I am completely mistaken and I do not understand at all. Also because I'm more of a thinker than a feeler, I get things wrong because I look at logic, rather than emotion.

6. I definitely try and look at new options, and being very logical, I find it a fun playground to imagine different ways of doing things. However, again, I'm still a bit constricted because like the old saying, If your only tool is a hammer, you treat the world like a nail.--I can get caught up in my logic and dismiss the emotional impact of possible solutions.

7. I can get so caught up in things that I forget to take care of leading a balanced lifestyle, but usually I do pretty good on this front.

“The Four Agreements  1. Be impeccable with your word.  2. Don’t take anything personally.  3. Don’t make assumptions.  4. Always do your best. ”     ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2018, 04:16:35 PM »

I think that I could go on and on about this topic.  For now, I'm going to say that the first three habits are considered private victories.  What this means is you are building your self-esteem.  (Habit 1)You hold yourself accountable to what you say you are going to do. (Habit 2)You plan out your life how you would like it to be. (Habit 3)You execute based on those plans.  These
 three are also known as the key traits of being trustworthy.

Trust is the glue to all relationships.  Imagine how willing you are to share if you don't trust the person you are talking to.  Or how open you are with people you do trust.  This why it's important to be consistent when dealing with our partners.

The next habits are the public victories.  These are where we succeed with others.  It's growing out the of the dependent language of "YOU".  You came through for me.  You didn't come through for me.  I blame you.  We grow into the language of independence of "I".  I can do it.  I won't be doing that.  I'm responsible for what I've done.  And finally we grow to the language of interdependence of "WE".  We can do this.  We have the ability to solve this together. 

(Habit 4) We have to think about everyone involved.  Not just ourselves and our feelings.  We need to be willing to look at the situation so that no one ends up losing. (Habit 5) Teaches up to listen with the intent to understand.  To truly understand, from an empathic perspective.  Not ammunition to get your point across.  (Habit 6) This is the hardest habit to accomplish with a pwBPD because of enmeshment.  When everyone is supposed to have the same thoughts and ideas, synergy is pretty tough to accomplish. 

(Habit 7) This is the one that encompasses the rest.  If you don't make time to take care of yourself, you are going to be unsuccessful in the rest of the habits.  For example, if you were really tired, you won't want to spend much time in habit 5. 


What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal. -Marilyn Ferguson
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2018, 12:02:46 AM »

I read this book in the early 90s, in my early 20s. I'm sure it would mean something different to me now. 

What does it mean to be "highly effective?"


    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2018, 11:01:57 PM »

When I first read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey, my goal was to improve my marriage with my wife. What I did not realize at the time was that it would actually equip me with the tools I would need to cope with her BPD, which I discovered some years after. Every step I have since taken to improve the situation has in some way been informed by the book.

In order to effectively implement the habits, you really have read the whole book, ideally multiple times. But In this thread I will summarize some of the key ideas in each habit along with provide examples of how they can be used in a BPD relationship. I will also link to relevant workshops in the skills section.

I invite anyone who has read the book or applied the habits to share their experience below!

1.   Be Proactive
Summary: We choose the scripts by which to live our lives. Use this self-awareness to be proactive and take responsibility for your choices. Be proactive rather than reactive.

Examples of how to apply in BPD relationship:
- Examine your own role in the relationship and identify where you can make change
- Seek therapy to improve self-understanding
- Take action to improve your own situation, even if you cannot improve the relationship

2.   Begin with the End in Mind
Summary: Start with a clear destination in mind. Use our imagination to develop a vision of what we want to become and use our conscience to decide what values will guide us.

Examples of how to apply in BPD relationship:
- Think deeply about whether staying in this relationship is viable in the long term
- Visualize your most desired outcome
- Identify your core values and determine if the relationship is impeding them

3.   Put First Things First
Summary: In order to manage ourselves effectively, we must put first things first. Prioritize day-to-day action based on what is most important, not what is most urgent.

Examples of how to apply in BPD relationship:
- Identify which boundaries you need to set by priority rather than trying to set all at once
- Identify which areas of your life require the most attention and focus on them (e.g. family relationships, physical health, personal safety)

4.   Think Win-Win
Summary: In order to establish effective interdependent relationships, we must commit to Win-Win situations that are mutually beneficial to each party.

Examples of how to apply in BPD relationship:
(This habit is very difficult to fulfill in a BPD relationship since the pwBPD is unlikely to be capable of putting your benefit before theirs even if you do the same)
- Rather than constantly getting lost in FOG and conceding to unreasonable demands, use DEARMAN

5.   Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Summary: Before we can offer advice, suggest solutions, or effectively interact with another person in any way, we must seek to deeply understand them through empathic listening.

Examples of how to apply in BPD relationship:
-   Use Validation
-   Use S.E.T. (Support, Empathy, and Truth)
-   Don't J.A.D.E. (Justify, argue, defend, explain)

6.   Synergize
Summary: By understanding and valuing another person’s perspective, we can create synergy, which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and creativity.

Examples of how to apply in BPD relationship
(Again, this is difficult to achieve with a pwBPD).
- Attend couples counseling to help with resolving issues.

7.   Sharpen the Saw
Summary: To be effective, we must devote the time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially.

Examples of how to apply in BPD relationship:
- Self care, such as exercise, rest, personal hobby
- Repairing broken relationships with family or friends
- Building a support network
- Joining a support group
- Attending personal therapy


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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2018, 11:46:42 PM »

Date: 3-2015Minutes: 6:42

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People~ Stephen R. Covey


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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2018, 04:07:13 PM »


I think that defining the different parts of the title as Stephen does in the book is super important.  What is effectiveness?  How do you know if you are being effective?  This relates back to the first three habits.  Stephen describes effectiveness as having your ladder leaning against the right wall.  It makes no difference in the world how fast you can set up the ladder or how fast that you can climb it.  When you get to the top and realize that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall and all those things you have been trying to do weren't really important at all. 

For example, a business person that is considered a workaholic sets his ladder up against the wall of corporate success.  He spend countless hours working to make it to CEO.  He feels proud at what he has accomplished but when he gets to the top, he looks around and notices that his children have grown and they never call or visit.  They don't bring the grandchildren by to enjoy.  He realizes too late that what he thought was important really didn't matter that much in the end. 

So effectiveness is mapping out what you want to be and do in your life taking all aspects of the things and people around you into consideration.  Make a plan and start working toward that map but notice along the way whether or not you are getting further or closer to these outcomes that you have deemed important.  Also notice whether or not that those outcomes still make sense.  From the Aerosmith song Amazing, Life is a journey, not a destination.

To me, that is how you know if what you are doing is, in essence, effective.


What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal. -Marilyn Ferguson
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2018, 07:21:16 PM »

What is effectiveness?  How do you know if you are being effective? 

I think it was my misunderstanding of this word that kept me from reading the book for many years. I identified it as having to do with professional work and saw the book just as a tool for corporate types who wanted to climb the ladder. I didn't comprehend the many dimensions of the word in terms of how it applies to family, work, and overall contribution to society.

These days I don't think about trying to lead a "happy" life, but rather an "effective" one in which the actions I take have only positive influence on those around me, be they colleagues, family, or members of society.


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