The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families Book Summary - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families Book explained in key points
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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families summary

Stephen R. Covey

Creating Powerful & Positive Relationships Within the Family

4.6 (421 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey teaches families effective strategies to grow closer, communicate better, and work together with greater efficiency. It explains how to create a harmonious family culture through the implementation of seven essential habits.

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    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Habit 1 of 7. Be proactive.

    Almost everyone has heard of the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. He spent World War II in a Nazi concentration camp. There, he endured horrific experiments at the hands of his captors and witnessed the deaths of family members. Many captives understandably gave up in the face of such conditions, but, he observed, others were carrying out acts of kindness. Some even gave fellow inmates their last scraps of food. He realized there was one thing that couldn’t be taken away from any man or woman: their freedom to choose how they respond to their circumstances.

    Between anything that happens to us and our response, there’s a “space.” In that time, we’re free to choose how we respond. What we choose ultimately affects how we grow – and our happiness.

    As newborn babies, we don’t have much possibility to choose. But as we grow, we develop what Covey calls “four unique human gifts” – These gifts are: self-awareness, or the ability to evaluate our thoughts, actions, and lives; conscience – our “inner voice” of what is ethical and moral; imagination – our ability to envision a future different from our past; and independent will – how we respond to our genes and our environment.

    Instead of simply being responsive, we can use these gifts to make what we can from life, take responsibility for how we respond, and take steps toward shaping our own future. In short, be proactive.

    To be proactive is the first and most important of the seven habits. Mastering it is key to unlocking the power of the others. So let's cover some techniques to optimize your proactivity.

    First, focus on things you can do something about rather than on things outside of your control. Think of the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    Then, make sure you always use proactive language. Instead of saying or even thinking things like, “My grandfather and father behaved like that, so I do too,” change your whole attitude and say, “They acted like that, but I choose not to.”

    Remember to pause, think, and choose. Press the “pause button” between anything that happens to you and how you respond. Think about the possible proactive responses. And choose the response with the best consequences.

    And don’t forget the gift of humor. Laugh, smile, and have fun when you can. You can even laugh at your own mistakes and clumsiness.

    Finally, as Gandhi said, we should be the change we want to see in others. So, start by being proactive yourself and then inspire your family to be proactive too.

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    What is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families about?

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (1997) was written by Stephen R. Covey with, as he says, “such a passion . . . because family is what I care about most.” It’s a very personal book that talks about how the author, his wife, and nine children apply each of the habits in their family life. It can also be your guide to solving the problems you face in your family as you strive, individually and together, to become more effective.

    Who should read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families?

    • Self-improvement seekers who want to understand how effective families work
    • Couples who want to raise their family in a nurturing environment
    • Fans of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

    About the Author

    Dr. Stephen R. Covey was a respected leadership authority, teacher, organizational consultant, and – most importantly for this title – a respected authority on family life. He authored the internationally best-selling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which has sold over 50 million copies worldwide and has been published in over 40 languages. He was also a father to nine and grandfather to 55.

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