7 habits of successful people

that’s my daughter graduating high school….see her in the front left? yea….kind of hard to make out.

Before I could begin the search for a list of habits of successful people, I had to define for myself what success is.  My definition of success, at least for this purpose, is from the free online dictionary:  the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.  So here we are in this life trying to make some kind of a go of it, and whether we want money, happiness or something else, it is the achievement of that thing that defines success.

I think that Dr. Stephen Covey hits the nail on the head.  He published his remarkably popular book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ in 1989.  His habits number 1-3 allow us first to define that ‘thing’ that signifies our success. Dr. Covey breaks his habits down into 3 categories:  Independence, interdependence and continuous improvement.  The descriptions that follow are my interpretations of Dr. Covey’s explanations.


  • Habit 1: Be Proactive.  Take initiative, make choices and take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.
  • Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.  Discover and clarify your most important character values and life goals.
  • Habit 3: Put first things first.  First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth.


  • Habit 4: Think win-win.  No one need lose in order for another to win, there is enough to go around so genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.  Learn to listen empathically.
  • Habit 6: Synergize.  Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork in order to achieve solutions no one person could have found alone.

Continuous Improvement

  • Habit 7: Sharpen the saw.  Create a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life (physical, social/emotional, mental, spiritual).  For example, 
    • physical:  beneficial eating, exercising, and resting.
    • social/emotional:  making social and meaningful connections with others.
    • mental:  learning, reading, writing, and teaching.
    • spiritual:  spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service.

So habit 7 is pretty huge.  That’s why this list is so much shorter than the prior 2 lists for wealth and happiness. Next post is a comparison of the three lists.  I’ve already got a few habits that I’ll be wanting to focus on.


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  1. […] to get there.  The lists include 21 habits to be happy, 10 habits to be rich and 7 habits to be successful.  There are only two habits that all three lists […]

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