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.
- 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.