How to Be an Effective Person

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is a classic self-help book that I read for the first time when I was a high-school student. Back then, I just read it without fully understanding the context of Stephen Covey's principles. I still remember all those seven habits, but didn't realize how to apply it optimally in the real world until I re-read this book again recently.

This blog post is my collection of paragraphs from Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits" as a reminder. I also add some other insightful talks that I learned in my life, which also related to these seven principles.


The P/PC Balance – P stands for production of desired results, the golden eggs. PC stands for production capability, the ability or asset that produces the golden eggs.

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. When people fail to respect the P/PC Balance in their use of physical assets in organizations, they decrease organizational effectiveness and often leave others with dying geese. There are organizations that talk a lot about the customer and then completely neglect the people that deal with the customer — the employees.

You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm, his loyalty is. You can buy his back, but you can’t buy his brain. That’s where his creativity is, his ingenuity, his resourcefulness. PC work is treating employees as volunteers just as you treat customers as volunteers, because that’s what they are. They volunteer the best part — their hearts and minds.

Effectiveness lies in the balance. Excessive focus on P results in ruined health, worn-out machines, depleted bank accounts, and broken relationships. Too much focus on PC is like a person who runs three or four hours a day, bragging about the extra ten years of life it creates, unaware he’s spending them running.

#1 - Be Proactive

Principles of Personal Vision

Reactive vs. Proactive – Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and their performance. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn’t a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not.

It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us. Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, whether physical, social, or psychological. But their response to the stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response.

Listen to your language and to the language of the people around you. Our language is a very real indicator of the degree to which we see ourselves as proactive people.

Reactive Language vs. Proactive Language

Review the situation in the context of your Circle of Influence. Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.

Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control. The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they could do something about, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.


The problems we face fall in one of three areas: direct control (problems involving our own behavior); indirect control (problems involving other people’s behavior); or no control (problems we can do nothing about, such as our past or situational realities). The proactive approach puts the first step in the solution of all three kinds of problems within our present Circle of Influence.