Habits for Lifelong Success

An individual’s habits serve as a mirror of their personality. Habits shape one’s character, subsequently impacting how far one will progress.
In the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, author Stephen Richards Covey outlines the seven common habits among successful people based on his observations.
According to him, competence alone is not enough to achieve lasting success. People also need the ability to lead themselves, interact and collaborate with others, and continuously work on self-development.
Effective people are generally proactive. They focus on the things they can control and don’t stress over things they cannot control. They know that regardless of how the people around them treat them or how bad their circumstances get, they have control over their response. Examples of some of the things they can control, i.e., their Circle of Influence, are their physical fitness and self-improvement. Some things they cannot control- which is referred to as Circle of Concern- are the weather, terrorism, national debt, recession, etc.
They visualize their goals mentally before achieving them. Just like the blueprint of a building is designed before its construction, individuals should also picture themselves as the person they aspire to be. When people don’t draw a mental image of their future selves, they let their surroundings and the people around them shape their lives.
After drawing a mental image of their future selves, i.e., after setting their goals, effective people prioritize their most important goals and tackle those first. They commit themselves to achieving their goals instead of constantly reacting to tasks that come up.
Effective people also look for mutual benefits in all of their interactions. This is called having a “win-win” mindset. They seek to benefit themselves and others, which is possible only when they have empathy, sensitivity, confidence, and courage. One has to be considerate of others while pursuing one’s well-being.
There are four basic types of communication- reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In our childhood, we are taught to read, write and speak, but we are never taught to listen. Effective people cultivate the habit of empathic listening. When they listen to others, they listen to understand instead of reply.
Most people listen to other people’s problems to offer solutions based on their biased perspectives. This is as counterproductive as an ophthalmologist prescribing his own glasses to all his patients regardless of their specific problem.
How can empathic listening be applied in real life? A salesperson can practice empathic listening when talking to his customers. If the salesman listens attentively and empathically to his customer’s needs, he can suggest the most suitable products for the customer. If he doesn’t have the product/service the customer needs, he must be honest about it.
Another trait of effective people is they recognize that they can create far better output when collaborating with others than working alone.
When people with different fortes interact, they learn from each other’s differences. For example, at my office, our colleague from the tech department often teaches the rest of us in different departments how to use various software more productively.
Lastly, effective people care for themselves mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They realize that lack of self-care weakens the mind and body, so they prioritize physical fitness and a healthy diet. They engage in charity and social service as it contributes to their emotional well-being and also occupy themselves with religious worship or meditation for their spiritual well-being.
Instilling these habits take time and effort and should be pursued as a lifelong commitment by those who want long-term success.

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