The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a business and self-help book written by Stephen Covey. Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls "true north" principles based on a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless. Covey defines effectiveness as the balance of obtaining desirable results with caring for that which produces those results. He illustrates this by referring to the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs.
He further claims that effectiveness can be expressed in terms of the P/PC ratio, where P refers to getting desired results and PC is caring for that which produces the results. Covey's best-known book, it has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since its first publication. The audio version became the first non-fiction audio-book in U.S. publishing history to sell more than one million copies. Covey argues against what he calls "the personality ethic", that he sees as prevalent in many modern self-help books. He promotes what he labels "the character ethic": aligning one's values with so-called universal and timeless principles.
In doing this, Covey is deliberately and mindfully separating principles and values. He sees principles as external natural laws, while values remain internal and subjective. Our values govern our behavior, while principles ultimately determine the consequences. Covey presents his teachings in a series of habits, manifesting as a progression from dependence through independence on to interdependence.
1 - Be proactive Take responsibility for your reaction to your experiences, take the initiative to respond positively and improve the situation. Recognize your Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern. Focus your responses and initiates on the center of your influence and constantly work to expand it. Don't sit and wait in a reactive mode, waiting for problems to happen (Circle of Concern) before taking action.
2 - Begin with the end in mind Envision what you want in the future so you can work and plan towards it. Understand how people make decisions in their life. To be effective you need to act based on principles and constantly review your mission statement. Are you - right now - who you want to be? What do I have to say about myself? How do you want to be remembered? If habit 1 advises to change your life to act and be proactive, habit 2 advises that you are the programmer! Grow and stay humble. All things are created twice. Before we act, we should act in our minds first. Before we create something, we measure twice. This is what the principle is about. Do not just act; think first: Is this how I want it to go, and are these the correct consequences?