In my college years, there was one book that I read that has been considered a life-changing and inspiring read: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. This book delves into essential principles for personal and professional success, emphasizing concepts such as putting first things first, beginning with the end in mind, being proactive, thinking win-win, fostering synergy, and continually renewing oneself through self-improvement. It is an accessible book to pick up, but its teachings require a lifetime commitment to truly achieve success in one’s own definition.
Covey’s book served as the foundation for a series of books that expand upon its content, culminating in “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.” I can still vividly remember the time when Microsoft Schedule+ featured tools based on the 7 Habits, aiding individuals in applying these principles in their daily lives. Later on, during the Outlook era, the FranklinCovey Planner integrated these tools with the software. However, with the evolution of technology, these tools became obsolete, and it is uncertain how many people are aware of their existence today. Personally, I have nostalgic memories of using them alongside my Palm PDA.
Throughout our lives, the outcomes we experience are largely a result of the decisions we make, both in terms of what we choose to do and what we choose not to do. Our actions today shape our future. We often have countless “if” scenarios in our minds, but we rarely put in the effort required to make them a reality. For instance, we may wish to learn a foreign language, but unless we dedicate regular time to practice it, progress will be limited. This principle applies to many areas of our lives, and our habits play a critical role in either accelerating or impeding lasting change. The 8th Habit serves as a complement to the first book, introducing new ideas and completing the framework. While reading the content may be relatively straightforward, the true challenge lies in developing a system that reinforces and applies these habits in our daily lives.
Sadly, many people go through life like “dead men walking,” simply going through the motions of work and then seeking entertainment to pass their leisure time at home. They fail to awaken to the fact that their lives lack purpose and meaning until it is too late. It is surprising that the most important subjects for living a meaningful and successful life, in one’s own definition, are often not taught in families or schools. If you ask me to recommend a book that can truly transform and have a profound impact, this series would be my top choice. However, it is crucial to adapt and implement these teachings to your unique life situation and context, finding a way to make them work for you.
To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy—these words hold immense inspiration for those who truly grasp their meaning. They serve as a powerful reminder of what truly matters in life and the profound impact we can have if we embrace these principles wholeheartedly.