Reflecting on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


When I read Getting Things Done by David Allen I was blown away by how much nuance it brought to my thinking and I kinda feel down a rabbit-hole of the self-help, self-management arena.

The next book I picked up was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It was another book that galvanized my thinking in certain areas and filled some of the gaps as well.

When I started living in my car and before I read the book I started exploring similar ideas and even challenging them; even though I wasn’t familiar with their presentation in the The 7 Habits book.

I was proactive in that I took responsibility for choosing to live in my car instead of an alternative and feeling like there was nothing I could do. I began with the end in mind insofar as I was able to see into the future; at the time it was about one year and I didn’t look beyond that year until I was no longer living in my car. I put first things first as I continued exploring my roles in life and my goals. I needed to reacquaint myself with my self to recapture all of the private victories I had experienced during my youth and early adulthood.

I adopted the idea of seeking to understand before being understood as I started with on the United States 2010 Census; even saying out loud, “Remember, you don’t know shit” as I entered the building for the training. I adjusted my understanding of think win-win, which for me at the time was more lose-win, where I was willing to give up or comprise what I wanted in order for others to get what they wanted. I synergized with my team on the United States 2010 Census and we kicked ass; becoming one of the highest performing teams in our region—for better and worse. The public victories from the The 7 Habits book.

Every night I would sharpen the saw.

One year later, I would read the book. Cynicism about confirmation bias aside, it was an amazing lift to my mental health.

I always thought I was someone strange or abnormal in my thoughts and actions in life. The 7 Habits book gave me faith and reassurance that, while I might be out of the ordinary, that didn’t mean I was bad or broken in some way.

I can probably give credit to The 7 Habits book for helping me come to a synthesis of individualism and collectivism; the majority may not actually be correct.