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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change Kindle Edition
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
There is no real excellence in all this world
which can be separated from right living.
David Starr Jordan
In more than 25 years of working with people in business, university, and marriage and family settings, I have come in contact with many individuals who have achieved an incredible degree of outward success, but have found themselves struggling with an inner hunger, a deep need for personal congruency and effectiveness and for healthy, growing relationships with other people.
I suspect some of the problems they have shared with me may be familiar to you.
I've set and met my career goals and I'm having tremendous professional success. But it's cost me my personal and family life. I don't know my wife and children any more. I'm not even sure I know myself and what's really important to me. I've had to ask myself -- is it worth it?
I've started a new diet -- for the fifth time this year. I know I'm overweight, and I really want to change. I read all the new information, I set goals, I get myself all psyched up with a positive mental attitude and tell myself I can do it. But I don't. After a few weeks, I fizzle. I just can't seem to keep a promise I make to myself.
I've taken course after course on effective management training. I expect a lot out of my employees and I work hard to be friendly toward them and to treat them right. But I don't feel any loyalty from them. I think if I were home sick for a day, they'd spend most of their time gabbing at the water fountain. Why can't I train them to be independent and responsible -- or find employees who can be?
My teenage son is rebellious and on drugs. No matter what I try, he won't listen to me. What can I do?
There's so much to do. And there's never enough time. I feel pressured and hassled all day, every day, seven days a week. I've attended time management seminars and I've tried half a dozen different planning systems. They've helped some, but I still don't feel I'm living the happy, productive, peaceful life I want to live.
I want to teach my children the value of work. But to get them to do anything, I have to supervise every move...and put up with complaining every step of the way. It's so much easier to do it myself. Why can't children do their work cheerfully and without being reminded?
I'm busy -- really busy. But sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing will make any difference in the long run. I'd really like to think there was meaning in my life, that somehow things were different because I was here.
I see my friends or relatives achieve some degree of success or receive some recognition, and I smile and congratulate them enthusiastically. But inside, I'm eating my heart out. Why do I feel this way?
I have a forceful personality. I know, in almost any interaction, I can control the outcome. Most of the time, I can even do it by influencing others to come up with the solution I want. I think through each situation and I really feel the ideas I come up with are usually the best for everyone. But I feel uneasy. I always wonder what other people really think of me and my ideas.
My marriage has gone fiat. We don't fight or anything; we just don't love each other anymore. We've gone to counseling; we've tried a number of things, but we just can't seem to rekindle the feeling we used to have.
These are deep problems, painful problems -- problems that quick fix approaches can't solve.
A few years ago, my wife Sandra and I were struggling with this kind of concern. One of our sons was having a very difficult time in school. He was doing poorly academically; he didn't even know how to follow the instructions on the tests, let alone do well on them. Socially he was immature, often embarrassing those closest to him. Athletically, he was small, skinny, and uncoordinated -- swinging his baseball bat, for example, almost before the ball was even pitched. Others would laugh at him.
Sandra and I were consumed with a desire to help him. We felt that if "success" were important in any area of life, it was supremely important in our role as parents. So we worked on our attitudes and behavior toward him and we tried to work on his. We attempted to psych him up using positive mental attitude techniques. "Come on, son! You can do it! We know you can. Put your hands a little higher on the bat and keep your eye on the ball. Don't swing till it gets close to you." And if he did a little better, we would go to great lengths to reinforce him. "That's good, son, keep it up."
When others laughed, we reprimanded them. "Leave him alone. Get off his back. He's just learning." And our son would cry and insist that he'd never be any good and that he didn't like baseball anyway.
Nothing we did seemed to help, and we were really worried. We could see the effect this was having on his self-esteem. We tried to be encouraging and helpful and positive, but after repeated failure, we finally drew back and tried to look at the situation on a different level.
At this time in my professional role I was involved in leadership development work with various clients throughout the country. In that capacity I was preparing bimonthly programs on the subject of communication and perception for IBM's Executive Development Program participants.
As I researched and prepared these presentations, I became particularly interested in how perceptions are formed, how they govern the way we see, and how the way we see governs how we behave. This led me to a study of expectancy theory and self-fulfilling prophecies or the "Pygmalion effect," and to a realization of how deeply imbedded our perceptions are. It taught me that we must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as at the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.
As Sandra and I talked about the concepts I was teaching at IBM and about our own situation, we began to realize that what we were doing to help our son was not in harmony with the way we really saw him. When we honestly examined our deepest feelings, we realized that our perception was that he was basically inadequate, somehow "behind." No matter how much we worked on our attitude and behavior, our efforts were ineffective because, despite our actions and our words, what we really communicated to him was, "You aren't capable. You have to be protected."
We began to realize that if we wanted to change the situation, we first had to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.
The Personality and Character Ethics
At the same time, in addition to my research on perception, I was also deeply immersed in an in-depth study of the success literature published in the United States since 1776. I was reading or scanning literally hundreds of books, articles, and essays in fields such as self-improvement, popular psychology, and self-help. At my fingertips was the sum and substance of what a free and democratic people considered to be the keys to successful living.
As my study took me back through 200 years of writing about success, I noticed a startling pattern emerging in the content of the literature. Because of our own pain, and because of similar pain I had seen in the lives and relationships of many people I had worked with through the years, I began to feel more and more that much of the success literature of the past 50 years was superficial. It was filled with social image consciousness, techniques and quick fixes -- with social band-aids and aspirin that addressed acute problems and sometimes even appeared to solve them temporarily, but left the underlying chronic problems untouched to fester and resurface time and again.
In stark contrast, almost all the literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what could be called the Character Ethic as the foundation of success -- things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule. Benjamin Franklin's autobiography is representative of that literature. It is, basically, the story of one man's effort to integrate certain principles and habits deep within his nature.
The Character Ethic taught that there are basic principles of effective living, and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character.
But shortly after World War I the basic view of success shifted from the Character Ethic to what we might call the Personality Ethic. Success became more a function of personality, of public image, of attitudes and behaviors, skills and techniques, that lubricate the processes of human interaction. This Personality Ethic essentially took two paths: one was human and public relations techniques, and the other was positive mental attitude (PMA). Some of this philosophy was expressed in inspiring and sometimes valid maxims such as "Your attitude determines your altitude," "Smiling wins more friends than frowning," and "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve."
Other parts of the personality approach were clearly manipulative, even deceptive, encouraging people to use techniques to get other people to like them, or to fake interest in the hobbies of others to get out of them what they wanted, or to use the "power look," or to intimidate their way through life.
Some of this literature acknowledged character as an ingredient of success, but tended to compartmentalize it rather than recognize it as foundational and catalytic. Reference to the Character Ethic became mostly lip service; the basic thrust was quick-fix influence techniques, power strategies, communication skills, and positive attitudes.
This Personality Ethic, I began to realize, was the subconscious source of the solutions Sandra and I were attempting to use with our son. As I thought more deeply about the difference between the Personality and Character Ethics, I realized that Sandra... --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B08KH29CJC
- Publisher : RosettaBooks (November 15, 2013)
- Publication date : November 15, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 16241 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 432 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1471195201
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #170,414 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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From “paradigm shift,” to “think Win/Win,” to (ugh) “synergy,” there is no empty self-help cliché left unturned. I should have stopped reading the first time I saw the word “synergy.” (I get countless “business proposals” in my email every day and, if I bother to skim any of them at all, I delete them as soon as the word “synergy” makes an appearance.) No word represents the trite emptiness of this book better than “synergy” – except maybe the verb form of the word: “synergize,” or the adjective “synergistic,” or the adverb “synergistically.” But they are all here. (The author also repeatedly refers to “things that are learned” as “learnings.”)
The book doesn’t even try to live up to its title. There is no argument at all to support the idea that these are seven actual habits that real people have used anywhere in the world to achieve real success. In fact, these seven so-called habits appear to be nothing more than seven things that the author thinks are really good ideas, with weird examples of how they helped him deal with his kid being bad at baseball and also helped his kid learn the value of cleaning up the yard. The book’s title doesn’t match the book itself, but then no one would spend their money on a book called, “The Seven Things Some Random Guy Thinks are Really Nifty-Keen.”
Here’s some useful self-help/time management advice for you: do not waste your precious time with this book. There are dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of better self-help books out there. Synergize your win/win paradigm shifts with some of those.
Top reviews from other countries
Wrong! It appears to be (on the surface) a book on efficiency (which is what i read it for). I was desperately looking for short term, rapid solutions to my problems.
This book made me trawl through 400 pages of disjointed, badly written pseudo-science, philosophy & religion. Far from meeting my needs... it was positively misleading. It did not do, what it said on the cover. It ought to be reported to trading standards, for false advertising.
It should not be recommended to young people, who require 'substance', and help, at trying times in their lives.
The book, is a false beacon... and a waste of time. It may, or may not be well-intended... But for me, Covey is a false prophet, making money off naieve young people's problems & anxieties.
It could've been summarised in 10 pages... Am not impressed... and am actually bitterly disappointed.
To be frank, I was not blown away by this book. Yes, there are tidbits of wisdom, but they are scattered sparingly in a seamless array of personal anecdotes, mixed with lengthy phrases in no way aiding what was originally a bald point.
I recovered from the book two very important points which could bring value to most intellectuals: a potential new time-management schedule built on a weekly framework which I will definitely try! The second stresses the essence of self-improvement through continuous reading to live life in crescendo as Mr. Covey so magnificently put it.
I did find the 7 habits to be applicable and relatable. I saw my own values and principles in most of them. Maybe I just did not enjoy the dry writing style and the over-usage of anecdotes. I was maybe hoping for more deep-diving in philosophical which ironically begins to appear at the end of the book in the Final Interview with the author. Overall, I give it 3 stars.
This book, however; even if I needed to 'endure' an unconvincing start, was revolutionary in helping me rewrite my life, help find purpose and deal with my mental health issues also.
I would summerise this book as: ''applied, logical wisdom'.
After i received it today, found it is a duplicate.
1) Book paper layout is Bad.
2) Print quality is Bad, it is not normal to read.
3) Every page the darkness of the Printing is different (some page, it is like print done on Old printer cartridge, very light. Some pages, it is too dark.
When i checked the price of this produce after i received my shipment, it is showing 160 INR today.
The one which are sold in the Traffic Signal for 100 INR are better than this product.
Please do not buy this product.
I've seen it a few times but hesitate as I thought it would be another self-help rubbish. After reading an abstract of it I was very impressed and decided to buy it.
I was going through some personal difficulties in my personal and professional life and this book has changed my whole outlook on life. The reason 7 Habits is different from all other self-help books is that instead of focusing on the outside e.g. negotiating skills or building your reputation it delves deep into your core. The book helps you realize how we as human beings can change how we react, feel and see the world. It helps you understand what really is important to you in life. The book shows you how to be a pro-active person who lives in harmony with others. There really is soo much I've taken away from this book that this review won't do it justice!
This book is still on my bedside table, i refer to it and if I have children I will pass these book onto them!
This book gives a set of rules on how to live a productive, harmonious and happy life- to me this book is a bible!