The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People | Study Guide

Stephen Covey

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People | Part 2, Habit 2 : Begin with the End in Mind (Private Victory) | Summary


Key Takeaways

  • People should always act in accordance with the image of themselves they wish to leave at the end of their lives. This goal helps ensure day-to-day actions do not violate people's most important values.
  • Covey says "all things are created twice," first as a mental image, then as a reality. The first creation is one's blueprint, or plan for the future. The first creation can be established through outside forces—outside the Circle of Influence, like other people's opinions—or it can be established by the individual. Effective people do the latter.
  • Covey explains further, "Habit 1 says, 'You are the creator.' Habit 2 is the first creation."
  • Habit 2 is all about leadership. A leader asks, "What are the things I want to accomplish?"
  • Leadership is the precursor to management. Without leadership, managers cannot succeed. This quotation explains the difference: "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
  • Becoming self-aware means getting rid of the old "scripts," or paradigms, and using "imagination and creativity to write new ones that are more effective" and in line with one's values.
  • Writing a personal mission statement is a good way to record a person's values and what that person wishes to do in life. Mission statements can vary widely depending on the individuals, their values, and their goals. A mission statement springs from the center of a person's Circle of Influence, which encompasses the most important values.
  • Core values, forming the center of a person's life, affect one's security, or identity, and personal strength; guidance, or direction in life; wisdom; and power, or ability to accomplish things. Security, guidance, wisdom, and power are interdependent. As one element grows stronger, so do the others.
  • People knowingly or unknowingly focus on eight commonly held centers, or paradigms: spouse, family, money, work, possessions, friend/enemy, church, and self.
  • To be truly effective, one must shift focus from one of the eight categories and focus instead on principles. Principles are unchanging "deep, fundamental truths, classic truths, generic common denominators." A principled center allows the other categories (spouse, family, money, work, possessions, friend/enemy, church, self) equal stature in one's Circle of Concern. No one person or entity holds more power than another.
  • If one's life were a computer, "Habit 1 says, 'You are the programmer.'" Habit 2 says, "Write the program." The program is one's mission statement.
  • Affirmations and visualizations can help change behavior and reactions to work in harmony with one's values.
  • Covey explains basic left brain/right brain theory: the left brain governs logic and verbal activity, or analysis; the right brain governs intuition and images, or synthesis.
  • The creative right brain and its capacity to visualize are important in creating a mission statement.
  • Naming personal and professional goals—outcomes rather than activities—will help an individual achieve desired outcomes. Goals can also help lay the foundation of a personal mission statement.
  • Families and organizations can benefit from mission statements, too.
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