Book Summary: The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey

Gandhi once said there is a difference between what we are doing and what we can do. This is a book on how to use our hidden strengths to make the world better. Finding one's voice is an important goal of life and the 8th Habit of highly effective people, Covey says.

Here are the habits for those who haven't read Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

1. Take the initiative.

2. Always start with the end in mind.

3. Prioritize your tasks.

4. Think, win, and win some more.

5. Seek first to comprehend, then to be comprehended.

6. Create a synergy.

7. Make sure the saw is sharp.

The 8th Habit

A support team always ready to help. Just like the 8th habit, you already know what you want to do in life while helping others.

The 8th Habit is essentially doing more of the previous seven habits because you'll know what you want to do with your life and helping others figure it out as well. Covey's teachings are straightforward. To do this well, follow these seven habits on steroids.

We need to understand that when we came into this world, we were given some pretty special gifts. Some notable ones are those listed below:

One of the powerful things we have is the freedom to choose. Covey says that regardless of what happens in your life, there's always a place between stimulus and response. World War II hero and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower said an important quote that encompasses the importance of voting: "The history of free men is never written by chance but by choice; their choice."

We have also been given the four bits of intelligence, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual intelligence. Similarly, we must take care of four aspects of our lives and over which we have control. Here's how we recommend taking care of them.

Assume you've had a heart attack for the sake of the body, and live accordingly. Assume that your career has a two-year half-life, and then plan appropriately. For the sake of the heart, consider that everyone you say about someone can be overheard. Now tell it like it is. Finally, for the spirit, imagine having a one-on-one meeting with your creator every quarter, and then live appropriately.

The main takeaway point is that it's worth acknowledging the amazing gifts we were all born with, but ultimately how you use them is what matters.

Find your voice

A male with his megaphone wanting his voice heard - showing that its not easy to find your voice. Through passion, discipline, vision, and conscience, your voice will be found.

It seems to reason that if you have complete control over every element of your life, you should also have full control over your voice. Right? You'll find your voice here, according to Covey. Therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul's code; when you participate in something that taps your skill and fires your passion, that arises out of a huge need in the world that you feel pulled by conscience to address.

It's a simple equation, but its ramifications are profound. You might not find the answer to this question today, and you may never do so in one year. However, finding the "magic sweet spot" is difficult. It may take some time and trial-and-error to find that intersection point you are most content with.

Colonel Sanders didn't discover his voice until he was sixty-five years old, for those of you who believe you're too old for this stuff. So take a deep breath and get to work.

If you just regained your voice, the most important thing to do is express it. According to Covey, if you have a voice but don't use it well, you'll be wasting potential and achieve nothing in life.

First and foremost, you must continue to remain motivated by your passion. In this world, we are controlled by several basic laws: if you want to make a difference, you must put in the effort. To genuinely become an expert at something, according to Malcolm Gladwell, takes at least 10,000 hours of practice. Have you ever seen someone put 10,000 hours on something they don't care about?

Second, you must have a clear vision. In this universe, everything is produced twice. First in your head, then outside in the real world. As a result, you'll need a vision for how your voice will affect change in the world and how it will be brought to reality.

Third, discipline is paramount. It's not always easy to maintain a vision, but you have to learn how to persevere. Success, according to Albert E.N. Gray, boils down to one basic principle. He claims that successful people have developed the habit of doing things that failures dislike. Keep it in mind.

Finally, although vision, discipline, and passion control the world, one final component distinguishes individuals who make a lasting contribution from those who do not. Take a look at these two historical personalities, both of whom possessed vision, discipline, and zeal.

George Washington dreamed of creating a nation unified and free from outside interference. He instilled discipline in himself to learn how to recruit soldiers and resolve any supply issues. He was blind to the discrimination against colonial military officers, British land policies, and restrictions on US expansion. But when he saw injustice, George Washington acted with passion.

Vision, discipline, and passion were his guiding principles.

Consider Adolf Hitler for a moment. Hitler eloquently articulated his idea of a 1000-year third-Reich reign and a superior Aryan race. He created one of the most well-organized military-industrial machines the world has ever seen. You can't deny his enthusiasm if you've ever seen him talk.

The distinction between these two men is clear: conscience. Without conscience, vision, discipline, and passion will inevitably fail. So keep in mind that to convey your voice, you must have vision, discipline, passion, and conscience.

How to help your organization

A male boss training her employee on finding her voice through integrity and the seven habits.

We've spoken about how to discover and develop your unique voice. Now let's look at how you may assist your company and its employees realize their full potential. If you're a leader, you know how important it is to model the behavior you want to see in others.

Every day, you're on stage, and people look to you for direction. According to Covey, a leader who encourages people to find their voice must behave with integrity. So, how do you act in a trustworthy manner? According to Covey, here is when the first seven habits come into play. Here's the lowdown on those habits.

You can summarize the first three habits simply as a four-word expression: make and keep promises. Making a promise entails being proactive; the content of the pledge involves starting with the goal in mind, and fulfilling the promise involves prioritizing.

The next three habits may also be summed up in a few words. Involve people in the problem and collaborate on a solution. This necessitates reciprocal respect, which is a win-win situation, and mutual understanding, which is seeking to understand before being understood. Finally, there is synergistic creative collaboration.

Sharpening the saw is when you increase your competency in the four areas of life: body, mind, heart, and spirit.

Building trust is another important aspect of becoming a role model for people around you. You may accomplish this in two simple but effective methods.

You start by making trust a verb. When Covey expresses it like this, that's the greatest way to explain it. "Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly, that they come to see it themselves." You will earn more people's trust when they see that you believe in them.

Second, you are always looking for the third option. Ask this easy inquiry if you find yourself in a scenario where you disagree with someone or debate on an issue. Would you be prepared to look for a better answer than the one provided by either of us? If you do all of these things, you'll be well on your way to being a good role model and assisting others in their search for their voice.

Speaking up is great; you'll be a role model. But keep in mind that an organization needs money to function, and as its leader, you can't ignore the financials.

As Covey says, any team will fail without the proper margin. Here are the things you need to do to work toward the same goals for every member of the team.

Covey calls this first thing Path Finding. It's self-evidently important to include your team in creating your shared vision, values, and strategy—this is easy!

The difficult part begins with alignment. From the corner office to the front line, great companies figure out how to have everyone pushing in the same direction. The fact is that you won't be able to accompany everyone through every decision they must make. Here are four disciplines that can assist you in bridging the focus-execution gap.

At first, focus on one thing that's essential to your success. Our brains can only do one thing at a time with excellence. So have several goals, but don't spread yourself too thin by focusing on everything instead of just the crucial things to achieving your dream job or purpose.

Second, create a scoreboard of the company's goals so that everyone knows what is expected. The bottom line is that people work harder when they know they are being watched.

Third, turn those high objectives into concrete actions. And the four of them are always holding each other responsible. Covey has reduced the formula to something very basic but quite difficult to implement. It will take all of your willpower and discipline to put these four recommendations into action. But it is what is required.


A male boss motivating his employee by becoming a servant leader- asking her what is she learning, what are her goals?

Finally, let us discuss empowerment. Things are different in this time and place, which is referred to as the information age. One of the most significant distinctions is how we maximize the value of our employees.

It was all about efficiency in the industrial period and distilling down a day's worth of labor into a basic work instruction. However, as the work evolves, so must our approach. According to Covey, with knowledge workers, we must relinquish control and become servant leaders. It entails holding people responsible for outcomes but not for their acts.

He claims that as a servant leader, you'd be running alongside your soldiers and asking the five questions below. What's the situation (what's the score? )? What exactly are you learning? What are your objectives? What can I do to assist you? And, as a helper/leader, how am I doing?

The most important thing to remember about empowerment is that you don't have a monopoly on the greatest ideas or the best means to get things done. You may keep their feet to the fire when it comes to results, but allow them to choose their path when it comes to how things are done.

And that, my friend, is how you discover your voice and encourage others to do the same.

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