214. Critical Thinking: 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People

09 takeaways from this video:

From the late Stephen Covey‘s book The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People, as illustrated by  FightMediocrity:

1. Be Proactive

00:00:12 The human brain naturally likes to do the least amount of work possible, and it is easier to complain than it is to do something about the reason why you are complaining.

  • Reactive people focus on the things they  cannot control rather than focusing on the reasons why those negative things are happening or on the things they can control.
  • Proative people fight this urge to lazily complain, realizing that complaining, no matter how legitimate, is futile, and instead prudently focus their energy on taking advantage of the things they can control.

00:00:56 As an entrepreneur, rather than reactively focusing on how consumers don’t like to pay for content or have no respect for craft, how government regulations make it nearly impossible to sell a product and make a good profit and how your business will fail, proactively focus on how you can create a branding strategy and product or service so superior in quality that people will download your buggy beta-version, pre-order it before its ready, or stand in line for days just to be able to say they were one of the few first proud owners before everyone else bought it.

2. Begin with the end in mind

00:01:34 Cognitive dissonance is “the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.”

How you want to be known as, compared to how your actions define how you are known, is important to your self-esteem and force you to (re)examine your actions and what you want your legacy to be.

  • If you want to be known as a morally just person, do your actions confirm that?
  • If you want to be known as someone who makes the world a better place, do your actions confirm that?

3. Put first things first

00:02:23 When asked what is most important to you, your answer will probably not be “cleaning your office, pointlessly surfing the internet, playing with a phone application, or watching television,” yet this is precisely what people spend most of their time unconstructively doing.

  • If you want to be physically fit, would you spend your time watching television, or exercising and eating healthy?
  • If you want to deepen your professional network, would you play a free download game application, or going to social events and befriending people?
  • If you want to deepen your relationship with your husband or wife, would you spend most of your time at your office, or spending time with the person you love?

Ask yourself what is most important to you in life, and then make sure that you spend your time working towards that goal.

4.  Think Win-win

00:02:58 Assuming you and I have the similar credentials, similar backgrounds, offer quality products and services, and have a social network of approximately 1,000 different people:

  • If we both actively share each other’s high-quality products and services with our respective social networks, not only will both you and I benefit, but the 2,000 people in our social networks will also benefit from each other’s knowledge and insight. Everybody wins.
  • If we both actively take to the professional networks and discredit and troll each in the comments sections and online community boards other like jerks and assholes, attempting to convince your social network to choose me over you, not only will you and I both appear petty and incompetent, but the 2,000 people in our social networks will not have the benefit from our respective knowledge and insight. Everybody loses*.

[*EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in John Oliver‘s show The Dangers Of Not Challenging Junk Science that mainstream and online media’s monetization business model of glorifying makes discrediting other people quite a lucrative business.]

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

00:03:58 You want more consumers, clients, and followers? Don’t try to win them over by telling them how much you sacrificed to make your product or service, because they could care less how much time it takes you to make it; they only care about whether what you offer makes their lives better, helps them solve a problem, or fulfills one of their needs or wants.

6. Synergize

00:04:35 Synergy is “the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.” By collaborating and working together, everyone accomplishes much more than they would by working individually. The more synergistic relationships you create, the greater your chances of putting luck on your side and accomplishing your goals.

7.Put in the work

00:05:11 Everybody is looking for simple tips, tricks, and ‘hacks’ to be more effective at doing something, but can’t be bothered when those tips, tricks, and ‘hacks’ involve putting time and effort that ‘you don’t have the time or energy to do.’

  • Reading 10 pages a day from competent negotiation and communication strategy books would result in approximately 12 books being read each year, and those strategies could then be used to negotiate substantial compensation packages and career moves. But you don’t have 15 minutes a day to read 10 pages and want somebody’s tips, tricks, and ‘hacks’ to magically progress in your career?
  • Spending 30 minutes a day learning a foreign language with a competent system such as Pimsleur or Assimil could make you conversationally fluent in another language within 6-8 months, which would broaden your horizons and improve your desirability as a job candidate. But you don’t have 30 minutes a day to follow a lesson and want somebody’s tips, tricks, and ‘hacks’ to magically learn a foreign language? Especially while you’re sitting in your car in traffic?