Insights from “The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey” – Renewal process

This is the last part of 4 articles on the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R Covey”. During the last 3 posts, I have discussed in Part 1, Few principles and paradigms to be gained in order to tackle the next sections of the book.
In Part 2, I have detailed what are the private victories, how to master yourself by implementing the habits 1,2 and 3. In Part 3, we moved into relationships with the public victories, and we majorly talked about the transition from independence into interdependence. Finally in this last part, we will review the process of renewal with the help of habit 7, Sharpening the saw. A continuum process of renewal to live with the 6 other habits.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln : ” Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”.

Now that we mastered ourselves and our interactions with our environment, what’s left is to keep this commitment to the 6 habits of private and public victories. Sharpening the saw is about examining yourself, reaffirming your commitment and planning the 7 habits.

In order to keep this commitment, Stephen defined four dimensions for renewal that we need to invest into for effectively living with the 6 habits.

First dimension  is physical. Health helps you live a productive life, our achievements are directly proportional to our production capacity. Keeping a healthy body is essential to extend our production capacity. How to invest in our health ? by practicing sport regularly. Now there is so many ways to train and the choice of the activity to do is related to  our professional activity. For example a carpenter, will be wise to invest in developing muscles through weight training. A reporter should be more incline to invest into endurance training like running and cycling. If the training is not directly related to your professional occupation, you can always balance your training between endurance, power and resistance. Baseline is to invest some hours into keeping your body fit. Ideally about 6 to 8 hour per week.

Another point is to have a balanced diet. For those who need to stay at the top of their game, they can always consult a nutritional specialist to help design their diet. For the average man, few rules, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, 5 per day, and  avoiding industrialized  aliments as they are very poor in term of biological value. Eating with moderation is the key.

Second dimension is spiritual. No matter what is your spirituality. As human being we have a need to believe in a almighty power that can take care of things we aren’t able to do. Practicing our spirituality individually and our community comes with big benefices. It refuel our batteries, reinforce our enduring capacity, and teach us so many other values like loyalty, tolerance and self control.

Third dimension is mental. I see a similarity between the mind and the lottery game. The more pieces involved into the draw, the more combinations are possible. The mind is the fabric of thoughts, each thought is in fact an electric impulsion across various synapses. Like playing notes on a piano, each sequence can create a unique melody, a new idea. Increasingly developing your thoughts is, consequently, increasing the versatility of the notes you can play. How ? by reading, writing, traveling, being curious about new insights and new paradigms.

The fourth dimension is social. This is the emotional dimension. The interaction dimension. While the first 3 dimensions are related to the habits of private victories. This last one is related to the public victories. This dimension is about practicing the 3 habits of win win, seeking first to understand and synergizing in a daily basis. “We are what we constantly do, Excellence then is not an act but a habit”.

All the four dimensions are interrelated. Health affects mental, mental plays on emotion, emotions  revives spirituality. Their work is complementary, they influence each others and create a synergy that reinforces your inner security, sharpens your vision, helps your better manage, cooperates, and work creatively with your environment. Nevertheless, we need to pay attention to this synergy, because it goes both ways, negative and positive. While, the dimensions could empower each others, they can also jeopardize the equilibrium if neglected.

By reference to Abraham Lincoln’s quote, it is essential then to spend every other day an hour or saw to work on sharpening the axe. This is how we can  be more effective in choping down the tree.

This was a series of 4 articles on the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R Covey”. I tried to convey as much information as clearly as I could. This book requires a lot of reflection and self-examination. I see it more as a personal development partner than a one read materiel.

Implementing the 7 habits of effective people is a progression process that starts from within to the outside then into people. Each step of the 7 habits may require a certain amount of time and an emotional investment.  Mastering each of the 7 habits, without going through the proper motions and emotions, is no use. Re-using the same example I used previously. The 7 habits are an edifice to climb, we need to go through each floor to attain the top.

This was the last post from the series of article on the book of “The 7 habits of highly effective people”. I hope you enjoyed it. As usual, don’t hesitate to give me your feedback.

What do you think about the process of renewal ?
Did these posts encouraged you to give it a look ?
Do you have any thoughts on this book ?

If you already have read the book, please share with me your insights.


References :

“The Seven habits of highly effective people” – Stephen R. Covey


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