In the previous post, I was super amazed by Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” book and recommended everyone read it. And today I’ll explain why.

A brief introduction

Why am I so inspired by this book? Only because it answers the most challenging question in my life:

“How to make the right decisions and not to regret about the wrong ones.”

Life is choice. Every day we face many decisions: starting on what to wear and ending with life-changing decisions. I firmly believe that if you have something inside to rely on — you’ll be fine. But now the question is how to choose the right core basis?

You may care about money, friends, company, even family — you’ll be not fully satisfied with it. It doesn’t work. You will still be suffering from your relatives’ misunderstanding, not the highest salary on the market, or achievements of your colleagues.

The only option here is to define your own principles and develop your mission.

This book teaches us how to do it. Stephen Covey described 7 habits that’ll help you achieve success and satisfaction with your life and your decisions. I summarized those habits to give you a quick intro to the book. Take a look.

Be proactive

“It is our willing permission, our consent to what happens to us, that hurts us far more than what happened to us in the first place.”

How many times did you hear from people phrases like: “I can’t figure it out,” “There’s nothing I can do about this,” “It’s just the way I am”? A lot. These guys are reactive. They react to the problems that happen to them as they can do nothing to fix it. The result is they feel anxious and lost.

Otherwise, some folks react to the problems proactively (personally, I try to be among these guys). By this word, I mean they focus on things they really can do something about.

Effective people are not struggling with politics or lousy weather because these things are just out of their control.

As a result, they achieve much more than reactive guys and widen their circle of influence — the place where they can change something.

I draw an image for you to illustrate it better.

Reactive vs proactive focus in life.

Let’s sum up the first habit:

If you want to change, you should focus on problems you can do something about.

Begin with the end in mind

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

Start with the end in mind. I bet you’re asking yourself: “What the hell does he mean?”. I’ll explain it.

Imagine that you’re attending your own funeral. That’s it. The end. No place further. Are you scared? Let’s just pass the thing that you’re dead and go on. Who is there? What are they saying about you? About how you lived your life? About your relationships? What do you want them to say?

So this is precisely what I mean by beginning with the end in mind.

You should think about your own priorities in this life and what you would change if you only had 30 more days to live.

Write these priorities down and start living by them.

Put first things first

“The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.”

I think most of you’re familiar with the situation like this:

You start to do something that matters, and half an hour later, you detect yourself watching giant pigeons videos on YouTube (omg, they’re really gorgeous).

The one thing that worked for me here is the Eisenhower matrix.

All our activities can be categorized based on two factors: urgent and important. The matrix looks like this:

The Eisenhower matrix.

If you focus on managing urgent crises and problems, they keep getting bigger and finally swallow you. Neither Quadrant 3 nor 4 can bring you happiness and self-satisfaction.

To be effective, you need to delegate stuff from Quadrant 3, avoid time-wasters from the fourth Quadrant, and focus on Quadrant 2.

The secret here is if you’ll be focused on Quadrant 2 — you’ll be thinking ahead, working on the roots, planning, and preventing crises! The Pareto principle works here.

You should always maintain a primary focus on long-term goals, relationships, and results, and a secondary focus on time.

Also, I highly recommend you to read this article about procrastination by Tim Urban — he really cracked this thing: http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/11/how-to-beat-procrastination.html.

So, that’s it. Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed it! Read the full book and start making things differently. Good luck!