With 25 million copies sold ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey is still remembered as one of the bestselling books of all times. His son has come up with another version of the book titled ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ which takes into account the same habits but explains them keeping the perspectives of teens in mind.
It is remarkable the way Sean Covey has transformed the habits to fit into the life of a teenager and managed to pull a book which is also a bestseller.
As compared to the adults, it is both easier and more difficult to transform teenagers. Easy, because they are young and have the capacity to change; and difficult because they are hot-headed and it is tough to convince them.
Sean Covey aims to transform the habits of the teens through this book so that they can become more productive and valuable individuals in life. He addresses them in the book by saying,
“If you decide to just go with the flow, you’ll end up where the flow goes, which is usually downhill, often leading to a big pile of sludge and a life of unhappiness. You’ll end up doing what everyone else is doing.”
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Being proactive not only means taking an initiative. It is more about accepting the responsibility of your past, present, and future behavior and make choices based on values and principles rather than on circumstances and moods.
Stephen Covey puts it aptly, “The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.” It is to choose not to be reactive or a victim, it is to become the agent of change in the society.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
It is very important to define your mission and life goals. For any project or purpose, create a vision in your head first and then go on to achieve it. Visualization helps in identifying the objective and then committing yourself to fulfill it.
“I believe that visualization is one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals,” says Harvey Mackay. This is very true because visualization helps in connecting to the cause in a stronger way and getting more zeal to move towards it.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
No one else could have said it better than the man himself. What would be your achievement in the end if you can’t even manage to keep the main thing main? Prioritize your life activities, goals, values, and relationships to achieve the best.
It is essential to make sure for all the teens to put all those things which matter before the things which don’t. There is no benefit in wasting time over the internet or on television and postponing the homework or assignment which needs to be done today. There’s no point in letting the school or college stress blues get the best of your life, is there?
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Sean covey says in his book, “Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?” Seeing life as a vicious competition and trying to get down your classmates and friends would only leave you alone in the end. Seeking mutual benefit is based on trust, respect, and affection and is not about thinking selfishly (win-lose) or thinking like a martyr (lose-win).
“Conflicts are a normal part of life; how we deal with them can make a big difference. Often when people resolve conflicts, one person ends up a winner, and one loses out. This may solve the problem for the moment, but resentment and bad feelings can cause more problems later. Another way to look at conflicts is to try to find a WIN-WIN solution, in which both sides can benefit. In this way, conflicts are turned into opportunities to grow and make things better. This approach is the cornerstone of “conflict resolution” – an important tool for bringing peace into our personal lives, our communities and to our world.” – Robert Alan Silverstein
Win-win is all about sharing rewards, recognition, information, and power with other individuals to seek theirs’ and your own well-being.
Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
There is a reason that God has given us two ears and one mouth. When listening to others, most of us are intent to come up with a better reply instead of listening just to understand the other person. This is when true communication and relationship building takes place.
It takes kindness to be able to understand others while setting aside all the differences and a lot of courage to express yourself with the intention of being understood. Effectiveness lies in attaining the correct balance between the two and striving to form meaningful bonds with most of the individuals.
Habit 6: Synergize
Relying on your individual strength can only take you to a certain extent and then you will be stuck in that position for the rest of your life. Getting everything your way can actually make you lose a lot of relationships which could uplift you personally, professionally, morally, and spiritually.
Synergizing is about coming with a third alternative which would benefit both the parties. It is neither my way nor yours rather, it is something in the middle which is better than both the options. Combining the individual strengths of the group, the team thrives with creative cooperation.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
“Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you.” – Stephen R. Covey
If you do not renew yourself in different aspects of life, you’ll forever stay in a stagnant position and would not be able to achieve personal and combined goals. It is impertinent to improve yourself with each passing day and with each phase of your life.
As Brian Tracy puts it, “Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.”
There are four basic areas of life – physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. By renewing these time and time again, we are able to live the rest of the habits effectively too.
Teenage years are those years of life when individuals tend to make the most important decisions and navigate their life to a particular path. Your personality is developed which helps in leading the rest of your life and this personality is a combination of these different habits. Sean Covey quotes an English poet in his book, “We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” Thus, this establishes that developing strong and righteous habits leads to personal victory and makes you a likable and successful person in every aspect of life.