7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Restoring the Character Ethic

Table of contents

While I was reading ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen R. Convey, many things were running through my mind. Stephen R. Convey’s words encourages us to live our life by some specific “principles” which can represent our overall effectiveness as a human in individual or social context. This book helps us to know “ How our habits can affect our character” and “ How our character can affect our destiny”.

I am completely agree with Steven R. Convey’s The 7 habits of highly effective people’s principles and will try to evaluate their significance in general life. There are 7 habits mentioned by Steven R. Convey in his book by adopting them in our everyday life we can become highly effective people. He defined Habits as the combination of Knowledge, skills and desire. By adopting all these habits in our everyday life, mentioned in his book, we can move through the maturity continuum day by day.

Initially, according to first three habits of Convey, we move from dependence to Independence (private victory) and later by four habits we move from Independence to Interdependence (public victory). In his words, “ How we apply a principle will vary greatly and will be determined by our unique strengths, talents, and creativity, but, ultimately, success in any endeavour is always derived from acting in harmony with the principles to which the success is tied. ” I like the Convey’s style of writing and the way he structured his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

The words he used and the forms in which they are used are very simple and different from what we are used to seeing today’s literature. I think, this is one of the main reason why Stephen R. Convey is on the bestseller lists having sold more than fifteen Millon copies. Every single people in the world, who want to be a leader in personal and professional level want to know more about Stephen R. Convey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People begins with the notion that every people perceive the world differently.

They have their own unique “lens” to view the world, so; it’s nearly impossible to separate observation from the observer. In Convey view, all of us have our own paradigm. In general sense, paradigm is a way we see the world around us in terms of perceiving, understanding and interpreting, not in terms of visual sense of sight. Convey writes, “ Depend on our way to see things, our behaviour and attitude change. The way we perceive things is the main source of the way we think and act toward that situation. ” These paradigms are the main source for defining our behaviour and attitude towards any particular situation.

I quite agree with his statement, that we cannot act and think outside of the paradigm in which we find ourself. It’s true that we cannot talk and walk differently than what we seeing and perceiving in any moment. We can try to change our outward behaviour and attitude for very little time but finally we have to find out actual paradigms from which those behaviour and attitude flows, because in the long run we can’t sustained same attitude and behaviour for paradigm different than the one where these attitude and behaviour actually belong.

Paradigm Shift

Thomas Kuhn was very highly influential author who introduced ‘Paradigm Shift’ words first time into his own book: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn mentioned in this book that for every breakthrough in any field of human endeavour is start by breaking old and traditional paradigms. Convey tell this paradigm Shift as an “Aha” experience, when someone sees the picture from another view or angle. It has been observed that if a person is more bound to his initial perception, this ‘Aha’ experience is more intensive in his case. Its true in my case as well, I often felt this Aha’ experience many times in my life. Whenever my paradigm shifts, I see things differently, and because I see differently, I feel differently, and because I feel differently I behave differently. During this paradigm shift process, I don’t have to worry about controlling my behaviour and attitude; they change by themselves. According to convey, sometimes just a little knowledge is quite enough to examine our paradigm shift and sometimes people need life threatening experiences or complete role change in a their life to realise paradigm shift.

As we know, many people want to be successful and effective in their respected lives. They have some desires, goals and dreams to full fill but they are reluctant to honestly examine our own paradigm. They are unwilling to look at the things in the way they supposed to look. This can be easily understood by the story of the manager, who was taking management training classes and seminars. Although, he was very friendly with his employees but he never seen any sign of loyalty and responsibility from his employees toward him.

He knew, that if he took a day off from his work, his employees would spend all day by walking and talking around water cooler. Convey suggest the manager to ask some question to himself before asking anything to employees like, “ Despite, having friendly behaviour of my, are they disloyal employees so bold to ask me why I am treating them like a mechanical objects? ” Having Knowledge of our own paradigm is good in many ways. By knowing our paradigm can help us to understand how we can interact with others, and that will help us to know how they interact with us.

So, Convey suggests, we must examine own paradigm, motives and character. In my opinion, Convey is right. In our life, sometimes we have to examine our own paradigm first, and then put feet on someone else shoes.

Inside-out approach

There is one ‘Inside-out’ approach mentioned by Stephen R. Convey. This Inside-out approach says that, “ Every self-help program should begin with the Inside of man. Which mean if you want to have happy marriage relationship; we must start from ourself to cherish our relation. We shouldn’t expect or wait for our partner to do something for our relationship.

Seven habits of highly effective people

The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People suggest us to implement all 7 habits into our life for being an effective people. First three habits mentioned by R. Convey are habits of independence. They will help us to achieve private victory or self-mastery. The remaining habits mentioned by Convey are habits of interdependence or public victory. These remaining four habits help us to effectively work with others. And I think its quite true, an any individual person who might be very good independently, but he is not good enough to think and act interdependently could be good individual producer but he can’t be good team member or team leader.

Habits of independence

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Convey says, each person has two circles around him, first circle is circle of influence and second circle is circle of concern. He says, if you worry endlessly about outside of your circle of influence then you never be proactive. If we work within our circle of influence than we will be very proactive. Moreover, the more effective we become, the more our circle of influence will expand. He tells us to be proactive in every situation. We should take the full responsibility of our actions. We are fully responsible for whatever happens to us in our life.

We should believe in ourself to shape up our future. We are the only one who knows our strengths and weakness. We can understand our abilities only in difficult problems because this problem makes us solve it by different-different approaches. And during this time we know more about our own physical and mental abilities and skills. I can elaborate this proactive-ness by giving my latest life experience. I enrolled in Leadership and Responsibility subject, for which I am writing this response paper. Our teacher Tom Anderson have told us before that, we have to one write 3000 words response paper after reading Stephen R. Convey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although, I bought this book at the beginning of my semester but I never read it. I was thinking that I have plenty of time to read it. I started reading this book just before 3 week from my final date. And I knew, that my actual job was not to prepare this response paper of 3000 words. But, I had to read Convey’s 7 habits and applied them in my daily behaviour (Which I will do later on my summer vacations). Anyway, I was telling you about proactive-ness by my example. As you can see if I start reading this novel after few more days I won’t be able to submit my assignment on time.

And, I might fail this subject. No one going to be responsible for failing this subject because I had my books on time and I had plenty of time. Just because I didn’t take my action on right time I could failed that subject.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

“Begin with the end in mind” habits mean that whatever we do in our life, we should have clear picture about our goal. Convey says that some people start climbing the ladder of success and finally when they reach at the top they find that ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. As we all want to be very efficient and effective in our task.

We can be very efficient but we can truly effective when we And for setting ‘end in mind’ Convey suggests a process ‘Visualization’. Visualization is a process in which we visualize achieving our final goal like any athletic, performer and sales representative. Doing this process of visualization we create an internal “comfort zone” and when we find our self in final situation, we not find it completely foreign. It doesn’t scare us. In our daily life, mostly we all apply this habit of visualization in some extend. This visualization helps us to plan and schedule in advance before start our journey.

As you can see in my previous example, I started reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, just 3 weeks ago my paper submission due date. Otherwise, I have to request my lecturer to extend my submission date. I have visualised my plan and schedule in my mind before start reading my Stephen R. Convey’s book.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

After Habits 2 ‘Begin with the end in mind’ comes habit 3 ‘Put First Things first’. Perhaps after applying habit 2 or visualisation process we can have many things to do at same time. They all can be significant and can have positive impact on our life.

But, probably we don’t do them because they aren’t urgent for us. We should know how & when we have to organise our priorities according to our needs. Sometimes we aren’t good in prioritising things and we realised the importance of it unless we end up in trouble paying for them. It’s really important for us to practice this habit as much as we can in our life. For example, my friends were calling me for going to night club with them on this coming Saturday, but going to night club is not so much important for me as much as I have to finish this response paper before its due date.

So, finishing my Assignment on time is at the top of my priorities list.

Habits of interdependence

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

Convey points out that there are two kinds of people some are those who think Win/Win and other are those who think Win/Loss. The people who think Win/Win are those who are not selfish, they seeking mutually benefits for all. And people who think Win/Loss are those who are selfish. They always think about their own benefits, they don’t care about others. They believe that, ‘if I win, you lose’. People who think Win/Lose can be extremely effective, but they have trouble making good relationship.

They people mainly focus on power and credentials, and sometimes these things drive other people away from them. To be successful, we should know, how to utilize strengths of others and how you can be benefits for them. We must find the Win/Win situation every time. Lets take an example of any organisation, in which business owner don’t share his profit with his employees. He enjoys all the profits generated by his employees’ hard work and dedication. He is thinking Win/Lose. So, what do you think, after sometime will his employees feel dedicative and cooperative towards him?

I am sure he will not succeed in his business in long run, if he continuously being selfish. He should realised soon that overall performance will always good than individual performance.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

In this habit ‘Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood’ convey suggests that, if we really want to think in Win/Win way than we should be very good listener. If we will not listen to anyone then how we will discover Win/Win deals. Most of the time we just pretend to be listening, actually we are busy in preparing our next sentence.

In any communication we shouldn’t pretend to be active listener. In experts view, only 10% communication based on verbal, 30% by tones of our sound and rest 60% by our body language. In empathic listening, we usually use our ears with our eyes and heart. We can take an example of a Doctor, in his profession he should be very good listener. If any patient comes to meet him, he should have to listen him very carefully to know his problem and pain. If he won’t listen him carefully than this doctor can’t diagnose his patient properly.

Habit 6: Synergize

In Collins Dictionary, Synergy means the potential ability for individuals or groups to be more successful working together than on their own. This habit enclosed all the above habits mentioned above. After listening carefully to others we can combine and can work together for common goals. Convey says that we human have our own mental, emotional and psychological difference. And, for working together we should understand each other values completely so that no conflict will generate. When we work as a team member during any group assignment, we must ignore someone’s weakness and should strengthen his strength.

Every group member has his or her different habit, values, behaviour and culture. So it’s common to have conflicts. By applying all the above habits (specially Synergize) we can resolve all the conflicts and work toward achieving our final assignment.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

This is the last and most important Habit mentioned by Stephen R. Coney in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. As we have seen in Habit 3: Put First Things First, we must maintain Productivity (P) with future Product Capability (PC). “Sharpen the Saw,” means self –renewal.

We must take out some time to harness our skills. Just like a machine, we will wear out very soon if we continuously work, so, we must take out some time to relax and learn new skills. It will improve us to be more productive in later stages. Convey defined four dimensions for personal renewal: Physical Renewal (do exercise, good food and control stress) Mental Renewal (Read, Visualize and Plan) Social or Emotional Renewal (Communicate with others) Spiritual Renewal (Religion, kindness, altruistic)


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a magnum opus written by Stephen R. Convey. The language of this book is very simple and easy to understand. I would recommend this book to everyone whether he is a man or woman, boy or girl and young or old. Convey has provided numerous life-based examples, which make this book easier to understand. In my view, he has done an outstanding job in trying to improve individual’s life. This book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a real source for empowering individuals, families, society and business.


  1. Stephen R. Convey (2004), The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

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