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Begin with the end in mind
Chelsea Archer
Antelope Staff
Photo by staff
"How can you overcome your fears? Get out of your comfort zone every day. Ask that girl out. Audition for the lead in the play, even if you’re not a senior. Stand up for yourself," Archer said, summarizing part of Covey's book.
Book cover courtesy of

Snowed in my house during Christmas break, I began cleaning my room in an attempt to escape the ever-persistent cabin fever. While going through a box of high school yearbooks and pictures, I came across my journal. Curious, I opened the pages from more than four years ago and began reading. And it made me laugh, cry and reflect.

Then I came across a note: “Mr. Weeks was the craziest teacher I ever had, but the book, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ was probably the best thing he could have done for us.”

I vaguely remembered what it was about and, after some searching, I borrowed a copy from a friend. While flipping through the pages, I began to think about the information contained in this book. It isn’t only for teens, it can be used for everyone.

The book teaches basic life skills such as self-esteem, getting along with others, resisting peer pressure and taking time for yourself. It doesn’t matter how old a person gets, everyone is constantly building on these basic skills and a little reminder never hurts. So here it is, a summary of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey.

Habit #1: Be proactive
Being proactive is the key to unlocking all the other habits listed within the book. Habit #1, “I am the force. I am the captain of my life. I can choose my attitude. I’m responsible for my own happiness or unhappiness. I am in the driver’s seat of my destiny, not just a passenger.”

Basically speaking, it’s all about how we react to a situation. Remember the first time you got a UNK parking violation? How did you feel? Chances are, if you were ticked and you went into the office with that attitude, the staff wouldn’t be so sympathetic on your request to appeal it. The more you worry about a situation, the more you are out of control.

Habit #2: Begin with the end in mind
Where do you see yourself in five years? I bet most of you are thinking, “graduated and in a successful career.” I bet none of you thought, “whatever my parents or friends decide for me.” Habit #2: “Begin with the End in Mind” helps you develop a clear picture of where you want to go with your life. Decide what your values are and set goals by thinking beyond today to decide what direction you want to take with your life so each step is in the right direction.

The paths you choose today can shape you forever. If you don’t create a vision of yourself, someone else will. Take some time to write a personal mission statement. This will open your eyes to what’s really important and help you make decisions. Remember, it takes 30 days to make something a habit. “A goal not written is only a wish,” states Cooney.

Habit #3: Put first things first
All students have been there: In class, taking notes but not really listening. Instead, they’re so preoccupied with what they have to do for the rest of the day that they can’t even utter a syllable when the instructor calls on them. Habit #3: “Put First Things First” emphasizes prioritizing and putting the most important things first.

But this is more than just time management with a planner, it’s about learning to overcome your fears and to be strong during your most hard moments.

How can you overcome your fears? Get out of your comfort zone every day. Ask that girl out. Audition for the lead in the play, even if you’re not a senior. Stand up for yourself.

Never let fear make your decisions. Putting first things first takes disciple, just look at the successful people you’ve met in your life. “Successful people are willing to suck it up from time to time and do things they don’t like. Why? Because they know these things will lead them to their goals,” Cooney wrote.

Habit #4: Think Win-Win
Life is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Seriously. Just ask those who have a win-win attitude. Think win-win is the foundation for getting along well with other people. It begins with the belief that we are all equal, that no one is inferior or superior to anyone else and no one really needs to be.

“Life really isn’t about competition, or getting ahead of others, or scoring in the 95th percentile,” Cooney writes. “It may be that way in business, sports and school, but those are merely institutions that we’ve created. It’s certainly not the way in relationships. And relationships are the stuff life is made of.”

Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
You may have heard this phrase a lot, “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” Habit #5 is the key to communication. Why? Because it’s the deepest need of the human heart to be understood. Have you ever talked with a friend about a problem you were facing only to find them texing the whole time you spoke? I bet it made you feel frustrated. Poor listening styles include spacing out, pretend listening, selective listening, word listening and self-centered listening. This is one of my favorite quotes from the author: “We have two ears and one mouth, hel-lo!” Genuine listening involves more than your ears, though. About seven percent of communication is contained in the words we use. The rest comes from body language (53 percent) and how we say words, or the tone and feeling reflected in our voice (40 percent.)

Habit #6: Synergize
Have you ever watched a flock of geese heading south flying in a V formation? (If you haven’t yet, wait until the cranes come this spring). Scientists have learned some amazing things about why they fly that way:

By flying in formation, the whole flock can fly 71 percent farther than if each bird flew alone. When a goose flaps its wings, it creates an updraft for the goose the follows.

As the lead goose gets tired, he will rotate to the back of the V and allow another goose to take the lead.

The geese in the back honk to encourage those in the front.

When one the geese gets sick or is wounded and falls out of formation, two geese will follow it down to help and protect it. They will stay with the injured goose until it is better or dies and then will join a new formation or create their own to catch up with the group.

The geese accomplished more as a group than they would if alone. This is synergy. Habit #6: Synergize, is achieved when two or more people work together to create a better solution that either could alone. It’s not your way or may way but a better way, a higher way. This concept can be applied beyond your group projects or co-workers, you can use it (and probably already do) with your friends and family.

Haibt #7: Sharpen the Saw
Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw is about keeping your personal self sharp so that you can better deal with life. It means regularly renewing and strengthening the four key dimensions of your life: body, brain, heart and soul. This is by far one of the easiest habits to learn, but can prove to be the most difficult.

If a person takes on too much, there is no “me time.” Remember to take time to rejuvenate all four dimensions because how you do in one dimension of life will affect the other three. It’s like having a car with an unbalanced tire. Although it’s only one tire, it will unevenly wear out all four and can lead to some serious and costly damage over time.

So there you have it, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.” I hope that you will take some of these habits into consideration and apply them into your own life as I have. “You can’t make footprints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?”- Bob Moawad.


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