I cannot but share this masterpiece by Stephen R. Convey about 7 habits of Highly Effective People. A holistic, integrated approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness. We are not our habits and we have the control to make or break them.
Means, we are responsible for our lives, and we have the ability to choose how we will respond in any situation. The opposite of proactive is reactive. A reactive person puts the blame on conditions, conditioning, etc. for their behaviour. The language of a proactive person is "I will", "I choose to", etc. A reactive person says, "I can't", "I have to," "That is just the way I am".
Begin with the end in mind
Means to begin each day or task with a clear understanding of your desired directions and destination. It is based on the principle that all the things are created twice. There is a mental creation followed by a physical creation. It is in this habit that you begin to develop a personal mission statement. It focusses on what you want to be (character) and do (contribution). It examines your roles in life in a much deeper meaning.
Put first things first
What are the first things? Things, you find most worth doing. This habit involves organising and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in habit two - Begin with the end in mind. This habit looks a the time matrix in detail determining where you spend the majority of your time and how to change based on effective planning and preparation.
Most of us base our self-worth on comparison and competition. We think of ourselves succeeding when we win, and the other person fails. Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Communication is the most important skill in life. Seek first to understand or "diagnose before you prescribe" is a correct principle manifest in many areas of life. We typically seek first to understood. We listen autobiographically and respond by evaluating, probing, advising and interpreting. In contrast, empathetic listening gets inside another person's frame and reference and allows you to see the world the way he or she sees it.
The concept of synergy is that the whole is greater than its parts. It is teamwork, team building, the development of unity and creativity with others. The essence of synergy is valuing differences and bringing those perspectives together in the spirit of mutual respect. It represents a win-win scenario for both parties.
Sharpen the saw
Sharpening the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest assets you have - YOU! It is about balanced, systematic program for self-renewal in four areas of life: physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual. These four areas need to be exercised to keep us effective in all of the habits.