Most success books published in the last century make more or less the same argument – you need to revamp your personality to achieve success. On the other hand, Stephen Covey in his bestselling book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ says that it is not your personality ethic but your character ethic that is going to take you a long way. His super-practical ‘Inside-Out’ approach has rewarded readers all over the world.
But what is this ‘Inside-Out’ approach? Imagine an iceberg. The personality ethics are above water while the character is below the water. The character forms the foundation. It is where the greatest impact over the long term is. It’s where you sow the seeds. The problem is that people don’t focus on the foundation, they focus on their appearance. They are looking for shortcuts and quick fixes, but for Covey, there are no shortcuts. This is not a quick fix program. But if you endure and apply the following habits, you will absolutely achieve your goals and it will help you develop better relationships.
The first and most fundamental habit of an effective person is to be proactive. More than just taking the initiative, being proactive means taking responsibility for your life. Consequently, you don’t blame your behavior on external factors such as circumstances but own it as part of a conscious choice based on your values. Where reactive people are driven by feelings, proactive people are driven by values
Begin With the End in Mind
You must start creating your reality. Beginning with the end in mind means being clear about who you want to be and where you want to go. And then travel that path. The mental creation of your reality comes first, and the physical creation follows the mental one. Covey recommends that as much as you think about your life goals, you also think about who you want to be.
Put First Things First
Ask yourself the following questions:
A. What one thing could you do regularly, that you aren’t currently doing, that would improve your personal life?
B. Similarly, what one thing could you do to improve your business or professional life?
So, habit three is the implementation of the first two habits. It focuses on the practice of effective self-management through an independent will. By asking yourself the above questions, you become aware that you have the power to significantly change your life in the present.
Think Win / Win
There are 6 types of personal and business relationships. Lose-win and win-lose. This is the typical mentality of most. There is also the lose-lose relationship, which of course is no good for anybody. Next, there is a win. This is not really a relationship at all. This is you just getting what you want and not providing value to anyone else. It’s pretty much selfish. Then there is no deal. If you can’t come to a deal where you both benefit, then there is no deal.
And lastly, there’s what Covey says is the best one – win-win. We want to look for win-win relationships. We want to search for mutual benefit and have the mindset that there is plenty out there. There is abundance. We can share knowledge, gain, and profit.
We don’t need to crush each other – we can work together instead. Life isn’t a zero-sum game, so, look at every situation with a win-win mentality.