The 7 Habits: Put First Things First

Read this summary excerpt of the third habit from Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Covey’s first two habits are big picture and abstract.

Habit #1 — “Be Proactive” — is about changing your mindset from someone who is acted upon to someone who acts. It’s about reminding yourself that you are in charge of your life and how you respond to it.

Habit #2 builds off of the first. It instructs you to marshal the power of personal agency and “Begin With the End in Mind” — the “end” here being nothing less final than the grave. When you look back on your life from your deathbed, what do you want to see and how do you want to feel? Once you know that, you create a personal mission statement based on timeless principles and your own core values that helps you develop and practice these “eulogy virtues.”

Habit #3 is where the rubber meets the road.

As Covey argues, Habits 1 and 2 are about personal leadership — figuring out where you want to go and what you want to do in life — while Habit #3 is about personal management. It’s about taking the big picture, the abstract, the idealistic, and turning them into the day-to-day, the concrete, the practical. It’s about taking external actions that match your internal convictions.

As Covey puts it, “While leadership decides what ‘first things’ are, it is management that puts them first.”

Read the rest of this summary at The Art of Manliness.

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