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  • Divna Burchici

7 Habits of Highly Effective People


What is your definition of an effective person and do you consider yourself to be a part of this group of people? Surely, we can all agree that being effective is essential to succeeding academically, personally, and professionally. Whether or not you consider yourself to be effective, we can all benefit by making little improvements in our daily lives. Our VP of Fundraising, Farrah, discusses the seven habits of highly effective people based on the book by Stephen Covey.

The first three habits all have to do with self-mastery and transitioning from being dependent to independent. We begin with habit one, which is to be proactive. Farrah encourages us to replace reactive language with proactive language. The former involves negative energy as well as viewing ourselves as the victim when a problem occurs rather than acting to prevent these problems. The latter has to do with channeling positive energy in order to take charge and responsibility of situations. Farrah tells us to replace reactive language such as “I can’t” with proactive language such as “I will” when we encounter a situation.

The second habit is to begin with the end in mind. To begin with the end, it may be easier first to identify your biggest fear, the worst case scenario, and ways to handle that situation. This habit is crucial because it allows you to picture your goal and focus on it. If you can picture your destination, you will have a clear sense of direction and of what needs to be done. Eventually, the goal that you picture should come to be a reality.

The third habit of self-mastery is to put first things first. In order to better manage your time, you have to identify what is most important and urgent. You have to decide what task is most worthy of your time right now. To use your time effectively, Farrah says that prioritization is key. You want to begin by identifying an activity that must be done and then how you plan to implement it.

Habits four through six will allow you to transition from being independent to interdependent.

Habit four is to think win-win. To succeed in any career, you need to form mutually beneficial relationships. This can be accomplished by adopting a win-win mindset when interacting with others. Farrah suggests that we think of a disagreement, whether from an upcoming or past interaction, an agreement that needs to be reached between all of the parties involved. To successfully implement this habit in your daily life, you need to meet others halfway and be sensitive to their needs as well as yours.

Habit five is to seek first to understand, then to be understood. Before you speak and attempt to make others understand what you think, you should listen. Farrah says we must distinguish between emphatic and autobiographical listening. The goal is to achieve empathic listening in which you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. In other words, you want to listen with the intent to understand, not just to reply. This habit may prove to be difficult for some due to the fact that most people have had fewer opportunities to learn how to listen when compared to the opportunities to learn how to communicate.

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Habit six, also Farrah’s favorite, is to synergize. She describes synergizing as taking two individual ideas from different people and collaborating to create a third, innovative idea. To collaborate with others, you must value their differences. Teamwork and being open to new ideas are crucial regardless of your career path. This habit emphasizes the strength that comes with working in a group.

Finally, the last habit of highly effective people is the continuous growth and improvement. To plan your growth, Farrah distinguishes between physical, mental, spiritual, and social/emotional growth. Physical growth includes daily exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep. Mental growth is about learning, reading, and writing. Spiritual growth can be achieved by spending time in nature or meditation. Lastly, social/emotional growth involves building meaningful relationships. This habit is about constantly improving yourself in order to live a balanced life.

Farrah leaves us with the quote, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce,” to remind us that our effectivity depends on us and what we choose to do. We can all be as amazing as Beyonce if we truly learn how to take on the 7 habits of highly effective people.

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