The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Summary – A Secret of Success

Author: Stephen R. Covey

Short Summary
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1969) by Stephen R. Covey is considered one of the most successful self-help books. The book is written on the belief that one can only change his/her situation after changing his/her perception. It helps to self-examine in-depth to get success in life. Moreover, it helps to increase the growth of one’s development and leadership by practicing effective habits.
the 7 habits of highly effective people summary

A detailed summary of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Do you want to know the secret of success?

This book will change your attitude toward life. It is entirely focused on how you can develop positive habits that will truly be beneficial for you to maintain your relationships with others, improve your future, and accomplish your goals.

The essence of this book is that “We must develop some habits with good precepts to succeed in life.”

Small actions and shortcuts can helpful, but it is far more beneficial to grasp the positive principles, make the habits to adhere to them, and implement them into life.

Paradigms and principles

Stephen Covey explained the two paradigms on which these perceptions are based. A paradigm is how someone perceives reality. The author goes into detail, explaining why it is important to understand that everybody has different paradigms and that the way they perceive reality would differ from your own. He also explained the paradigm shifts by giving an example of a man sitting on a train and some students running around the train being very loud, disturbing everybody on the train. This man was sitting next to the student’s father, thinking that this guy would do anything or just sit there.

This guy must be an irresponsible father, but after some time, he told him to look after his children; they were really disturbing the train, and at that moment, that man slowly responded, “Yes, I’m sorry about that.” I just came from the hospital. My mother died an hour ago. So at that moment, this man’s paradigm shifted completely because, for the last 10 minutes when he was sitting in his perception of reality, he lacked social skills. But then, he thought that this man was completely different.

The author also describes that the quickest way to change someone’s behavior is to change their paradigm.

Throughout this book, you can think of these 7 habits as principles. This book is really about the principles of tactics and tricks to be incorporated into your life. These habits are simple, but they do take time to implement and invade your psyche because “simple” doesn’t mean “easy.”

Curious to find out what those habits are? You’ll find them below.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Key Points

Be proactive

First, you need to know that your life is a product of your values and choices, not your feelings or conditions. You are the creative force of your own life. The author said the best way to predict your future is to be a proactive person, and the opposite of that would be a reactive person.

The reactive person is a slave to their feelings or emotions, and this is what you shouldn’t be. The other thing is to take full responsibility for everything that happens in your life and separate yourself from your past and other external influences in your life.

Begin by Keeping an End in Mind

This habit is all about taking personal leadership of your life, and the opposite of this would have no focus or objective in your life, just going with the flow and letting life happen to you.

The next thing from this habit is that everything is created twice, just like cars or houses. It is then created twice in physical reality. It’s important to know here how powerful your thoughts are because everything initially resides in the mind. So, don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts.

Put first things first

This habit starts with the quote, “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

You may have many different goals in your life, but you need to think about every goal to know your priorities. Priorities are usually the last thing on people’s minds. The second thing explained in this habit is that you need to be effective with people and efficient with things. Never try to systematize or be efficient in your relationships.

Think win-win

You need to develop an abundant mindset to get a win-win situation. The opposite of this would be a scarcity mindset. You should be a person with an abundance mindset.

The next thing the author mentioned is that most people think that a win-win situation isn’t possible. You have to think it’s possible first; then you need to have real discipline with yourself to not settle for anything less than a win-win to succeed in life.

In solving the win-win, there are two factors that we must consider; Consideration and Courage.

Stephen Covey described it as “To go for win-win, you not only have to be nice, you have to be courageous.

Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood

Before you start to give advice to others and suggest some exceptional solutions it is important to seek their objective, and perception through listening.

This habit refers to empathic listening because most people don’t listen for understanding. They listen to answer back, either speak or prepare to speak. So, don’t listen to the motive to reply. You shouldn’t manipulate people to think that your opinion is better than theirs.

What you should do is ask the right question so you can better enable yourself to put yourself in their shoes and better understand what their paradigm is.

According to Stephen Covey “You’ve spent years of your life learning how to read and write, years learning how to speak. But what about listening?”


Synergy can be difficult to define, but it is the force that different people bring together in harmony. Synergy enables us to develop fresh solutions and widen our options. It enables us to decide as a group to throw out the old scripts and generate fresh ones.

This habit is tied together and works together with habits four, five, and six. So, this habit is to understand each other’s paradigms to work together to produce the best alternative solutions despite their differences.

When these habits are implied in the environment, then people are more likely to share their thoughts and ideas and value the skills of others.

“Without a doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness.” Stephen Covey

The Synergy allows you to:

  • Consider other people’s differences as a way to broaden your outlook.
  • Avoid negativity and seek out the best in others.
  • Use your courage, to be honest, and to inspire others to be honest in situations requiring interdependence.
  • Find a better solution for everyone by searching for a third option to inspire creativity.

Sharpen the Saw

This habit is all about making sure that you always continue to improve your habits and yourself to have efficient. We must dedicate some time to rebuilding ourselves mentally, socially, and spiritually.

“Not a day goes by that we can’t at least serve one other human being by making deposits of unconditional love.” Stephen Covey

The following are four dimensions of nature and each of them must be practiced regularly.

  • Physical Dimension
  • Spiritual Dimension
  • mental Dimension
  • Social/Emotional Dimension

To whom would I recommend “The 7 habits of highly effective people”?

Would recommend this book to those teens who want to get motivated towards achieving their goals and lead a worthwhile life. These 7 habits teach them to set motives, develop a good character, and teach what to prioritize.