Professor Belli | Spring 2022 | City Tech | ENG 3402: Topics in Literature

The 7 Habit of Highly Effective People Analysis

Front Matter

               The front matter is majorly built upon countless people praising the book and the effectiveness of the 7 Habits for the first 20 pages. Based on the statements made the 7 habits allow a person to reflect on themselves to become a better person. Not only that but can help strengthen skills like teamwork, productivity, and leadership. For instance, Senator Orrin G. Hatch states the following “The blueprint it has provided for principled living and leadership is a timeless message that has never been more important” (page 11). Somethings I have noticed throughout the front matter is the wide range of audience who have read the 7 Habits, by Dr. Convey is how thankful they are for him the provide such method and how it impacted their lives personally or company. For instance, there is a retired CFO from Walmart who is grateful for the 7 habits because it made him “a better leader, mentor, and spouse” (page 16). There are countless people who have high regard for the 7 habits ranging from teachers, CEO of PepsiCo, and Navy worldwide.

Meanwhile, the foundation of the book was already in existence by other sources, like The Secret. The author Stephen Covey’s purpose in writing the book was just to pass along the technique to people who may not have known its identity. The following states the intended reasoning for the book as “about building character, not about ‘achieving success’-and thereby helped people become not just more effective individuals, but better leaders” (page 30). The way he is successful in doing so is by ensuring people start with a morally strong principle and follow such morals to obtain growth. The author emphasizes building character than success like Smile who focused on the journey toward such success. The author begins to talk about the 7 steps by using the success of Bill Gates to depict the cause of actions which being (Be proactive, begin with the End in Mina, and Put First things First, think to win/win, Synergize, and Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood). Additionally mentioned how his father was a source of inspiration in terms of leadership and character. His father would help people at any moment and followed a set principle that led to him being a wonderful being, father, and spouse.

Part One; Paradigms and Principles

               The author begins by providing many scenarios where a person is battling their thoughts of either improving their situation or other yet find the matter difficult. To put into perspective, he introduces a conflict with his son of feeling inadequate because of the skills he lacked. Yet when the parents encourage the kid or praise him for the little growth it made matter worse, “We stopped trying to kindly, positively manipulate him into an acceptable social mold” (page 6), this is defined as a Pygmalion effect. Over the course of the text, the author describes the concept of a Paradigm shift, which is defined as a theory of how one interprets something. In this case, the way a human reacts to a given situation. He mentions the role “realities” and “values” play a part in our decision-making skills and our reaction to a given situation is based on experience. For instance, on page 11, the two images of a “young woman” can be interpreted as two different things but under one image. The debate on page 14 allows us the reader to have a better sense of how dangerous conditioning a person’s mind can be for a mere sec can be more severe if it was a lifetime. Therefore, to escape from such a mindset, we as individuals should take time to reflect on our thoughts and process to obtaining such thoughts, we are then able to see from multiple perspectives.

A quote that connects to paradigms is the ability to “read the room”, depending on how a person interprets the atmosphere will lead to a person needing to act a certain way. For instance, on page 18 the author describes his experience in the NYC subway and feeling annoyed by the children and confronted the father about it. Yet, when he is told that the mother died, and the father is at a loss the thought flips from annoyed to concern. On the other hand, the author discusses the role of principles and how it’s the fundamentals to being able to see progress in the change of attitudes and behavior, yet it is a slow process that cannot be cheated. For the states, “It is contrary to nature and attempting to seek such shortcut only results in disappointment and frustration” (page 24). Another concept the author discusses is parenting and how it connects to shaping a person’s paradigms. He mentions on page 26 the danger of being controlling or minding another opinion than those who are close (like family) “It builds weakness in the person forced to acquiesce, stunting the development of independent reasoning, growth, and internal discipline”. Additionally, the author goes in-depth on how habits can also play a role in a person’s ability. After all to be considered a habit it must be done with wanting and developing over time to obtain something as a result, like happiness.

Part two; Private Victory

               The author mentions the importance of being self-aware, not only does it allow for a person to reflect on themselves but towards others without forcing a moral onto the next person. He compares when relying on others’ assumptions of you is like a “crazy mirror room at the carnival” (page 4). Like the concept of conditioning, the author introduces three “maps” that act as the cause of how we respond to a given situation. They are genetic determination, Psychic determinism, and Environmental determinism. Other types of people that exist are the reactive people, who I would like to refer to as “going with the flow” types of people because of feeding off the environment currently in. Another form of action addressee is taking the initiative that allows for progress to be made rather than waiting for something to happen.  However, a natural result that often occurs is “victim-blaming” or minimizing responsibility to a certain situation. For instance, it states the following, “They feel increasingly victimized and out of control. Not in charge of their life or their destiny. They blame outside forces-other people, circumstances even the stars-for their own situation” (page 16). This connects with the circle of influence and the circle of concern. The one that causes a person to feel negative and drowning in thought tends to act in a denial matter is called the circle of concern. While for the one to be able to self-reflect on self in a positive matter is called the circle of influence.

It is important to know when one is at fault, simply because it can impact a person’s entire perception of thoughts and deal with situations. For instance, it states the following, “It is important to immediately admit and correct our mistakes so that they have no power over that next moment, and we are empowering again” (page 28). To counteract such action, at the end of the text the author has a section called Application Suggestions which is a task that lasts for about a month in self-reflecting and catching moments the thought process of either a circle of influence or a circle of concern and how to resolve such matter using circle on influence. That way by the end of the test one has changed their entire thinking process and response to hard situations.

1 Comment

  1. dmondel

    Hi Olga ! I enjoyed reading your response. I like the structure of it, the way you put it into words and showed evidence from the text for almost all key points, which by the way, you highlighted many; and that’s what the analysis is about. Keep it up!

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