It’s been 30 years since Stephen Covey released his groundbreaking book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Since then over 25 million copies have been sold and people are still mining its wisdom. I remember reading this book when I was still in college and it was fresh water from a deep well for me. Personally, I love productivity hacks and organizing my schedule for a greater return, but up until this book, most of us were using scraps of paper for lists and strings around our fingers to just remember to get gas in the car.
Recently a friend told me that this book was hitting its 30-year mark, so I thought…what are the 3 habits I still use the most?
1. Begin with the end in mind.
In this particular habit, Covey takes us on a journey to our own funeral. What are people saying about us? How are we remembered by our children, by our spouse, or by our coworkers? As Andy Stanley reminds us no one at funerals talks about what a great car that person had… or what a cool office view they landed. It all comes down to relationships. How did we make a difference in people’s lives?
In my new book Justice. Mercy. Humility I take a stab at 3 qualities that the prophet Micah points us to in regards to how to live in this world and follow God. If people at my funeral say “He acted Justly. He loved Mercy. He walked Humbly with God.” I’ll be satisfied. I’ll be dead, but I’ll be satisfied.
2. Seek first to understand, then be understood.
You never know the true value of this principle until you practice it a few times. In fact, most of us upon hearing it think, “Of course you should LISTEN to me FIRST before you try to SPEAK to ME!” But this starts with us. Once we find out where the person is coming from, impact and understanding skyrocket. In fact, James, the half-brother of Jesus, tips us off to this years prior:
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
3. Sharpen the Saw.
This quality became a defining mechanism for what to do with the many facets of your life. How do I get better physically, relationally, and spiritually? What are the roles that I play and how can I get a little better every week? For me, no one has taken the baton from Covey than Michael Hyatt. The tools his team provides for clarity, productivity and measurable results truly do help you win and work and at life.
So what about you? What things are you doing today that will still have an impact 30 years from now? Or a year from now? Or even a week? Maybe dusting off a copy of 7 Habits can help.