The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 1 > Be Proactive

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
By Stephen R. Covey

[The following is a synopsis of The 7 Habits]

The First Three Habits deal with moving from dependence to independence:

HABIT 1: Be Proactive: It means you must take responsibility for your own life. Responsibility means: the ability to choose your responses. Effective people are proactive. Their behaviour is the product of their own decisions rather than being a product of their condition. You need a proactive personality.

[IMAGINE THIS SITUATION]: You are planning a picnic with your family, but it becomes stormy. Proactive people will find a solution by having a picnic in their basement, or using the preparations in an other way. Reactive people say this is stormy weather is so upsetting and that all this planning was a waste of time; negativism will be reactive. When you are proactive you tend not to blame others. You cannot blame your misery on fate. When you become proactive it will have profound consequences.

Covey argues that you can choose to not be miserable. You don’t have to empower the weakness of others who want to control you and make you miserable: take control of your own life.

Being proactive means = wanting to act and not be acted upon. That means being true to your human nature. Determinism/Fatalism says that you cannot control outcomes and are completely subservient to others, your world, and society. Determinism means believing that you respond to choices but your actions are programmed by an external authority/higher power.

Three Types of Determinism:
1) Blame the family: your grandparents did it to you. That’s why your have a short fuse.
2) Psychic determinism: your parents did it to you. You are always late because your parents are late, and your Mom left you waiting 45 minutes after symphony practice ON repeated occasions.
3) Environmental determinism: it is your boss that did it to you. That bratty teenage, or it’s the economics, stupid or the national policies.

Reactive people always blame the conditions around them: they say, I can’t do it. It’s my nature. I am not responsible. This is self-fulfilling prophecy< they will produce their results they believe will occur: I can’t be a great ninja so I won’t be a great ninja. They are not in touch with taking responsibility at all.

A proactive person exercises free will. In that way you gain control of your circumstances.

Victor Frankl, the Austrian concentration camp survivor, discovered the last personal vision: the last ultimate freedom, the Nazis could not hurt his mind only his body. He was tortured but was able to gain the highest value through that suffering. He was able to be free under the duress of a concentration camp. Remember you are responsible for your own happiness and effectiveness.

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