Seven habits of highly effective teens

(Iqra Ashiq, Karachi)

Parents always complain about their children. ‘They mess up their school lives.’ ‘They have very poor relationship with their family, teachers and friends.’ ‘They ruin their lives by their passion in internet games.’ In addition, teachers are also urged to adopt different strategies--- either to regulate various school rules or to ask advices from therapy professionals, in order to help correcting the misbehaviors of their students. Both parents and teachers required to solve their children’s problems but often with little success. Why? Because parents or teachers are in the wrong direction ---- they attempt to use external forces to change the students. But nobody will change if they do not want to.

Sean Coney, through “The 7 habits of highly effective teens”, gives teens a real-life guide to be powerfully successful by their own. Of course, if teachers and parents use this guide, they can help the students develop their positive and happy life. It is not magic! The changing forces are inside the students. It is the habit that makes or breaks the life of students. To change our students is to help them to change their hearts by their own efforts.

Being proactive is the first and most important habit the students should acquire. We are the captains of our own life. We are the force. We can choose our own attitudes. Hence we choose to be happy or unhappy. No one can hurt my feeling and no one can take away our respect without our own permission. We can control how we respond to what happens to us. The problem itself is not the problem. The way we see the problem is the problem. Facing troubles is treated as challenging. Sickness or mourning is regarded as the lead to be closer to God.

The second meaningful habit is to form a clear picture of where we want to go. We have to decide what our values are and what our goals are. Habit 1 reminds us that we are the driver of our life. Habit 2 says, since we are the driver, decide where we want to go and draw up a map to get there. We can make up our personal life mission statements to state our values or goals. One teenage writes “RESPECT” as his mission, stating that religion, education, succeed, productive, exercise, caring and truthful are his life goals. Another suggests, “Life is a mission, not a career.” (A career is a profession. A mission is a cause.) The book gives us many mission examples to help us to clarify ours. While reading this chapter, I wrote my own mission statement on the bookmark, “I live not for achieving great things, but for doing small things in a great way.”

Sometimes, we may have many excuses to stop planning our life picture. One excuse may be we are not smart enough to find our own talents. Sean Covey would quote idioms of many great men to inspire us. Such as, “we do not invent our talents in life but rather we detect them”, said Victor Frankl, a famous Jewish-Austrian psychiatrist. Covey would use a thought-provoking story: after carving a beautiful sculpture, Michelangelo was asked how to do it. He replied by saying that the sculpture was already imbedded in the big rock from the very beginning, he just had to cast out everything else around it. It reveals that to be successful, we have to eliminate the bad habits.

Put first things first is the third habit. It means we have to put important things first. Prioritize and manage our times so that our important things come first. We have a nice list of goals and good intentions, but doing them and putting them first is the hard part. Habit 3 is the habit of will-power and won't-power. The will-power is the strength to say yes to your most important things. The won't-power is the strength to say no to the less important things and peer pressure. Putting first thing first takes courage and will often cause us to stretch outside our comfort zone. Comfort zone includes the things that we enjoy doing, such as safety and security areas and freedom from risk etc. Courage zone are things that I am afraid of, things that I have not tried, hard moments, unexplored territory, risk and things are difficult etc. If our perception of winning means rising each time you fall, then we will have the courage to adventure and try.

Habit 4 is Think Win, Win. Nowadays, we live in a quite competitive world. Sometimes we may get too obsessed with being the best and we end up in a terrible rat race. As the actress Lily Tomlin perfectly said: “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat”. Therefore, make an effort and try to open your mind allowing and helping other people in order to achieve goals together, it would be easier, healthier and totally more fun!
Habit 5 is Seek First to Understand, then to Be Understood. In many situations, we could feel as if no one is paying attention to what we’re trying to say, so that, we could also start listening what others are saying, homing in on their body language and tone. As a result we’d be going through with genuine listening, and people will also do it since they really notice that our interest.

Habit 6 is Synergize. How would you react if I told you that 1+1 could be 3? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going gaga, although it might seem that. Celebrating our differences, working together and gathering our ideas will let us to create extraordinary things in contrast to the ones we could do without teamwork.
Habit 7 is The Renewal. Do not stop here! Keep getting ahead caring for your body, mind, heart and soul. All of them are essential to, simply, be happy and succeed in whatever you want!

There are far more secrets to be found in the book. A self-development training guide would be bored. But I think Covey’s writing style would attract teenagers. He avoids the sounding like preachy or parental. Instead, the book is in an entertaining style accompanied by many visually attractive and amazing cartoons. Teenagers would enjoy reading the book just like reading a magazine or comic book. I highly recommend this book to all. I found the book highly engaging and a must-read for any teenager looking for inspiration and motivation to succeed.
This book is a compass to guide us through the land mines of adolescence and into a value-driven adulthood. Being a teenager is both wonderful and challenging. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey applies the timeless principles of the 7 Habits to teens and the tough issues and life-changing decisions they face. In an entertaining style, Covey provides a step-by-step guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, get along with their parents, and much more. In addition, this book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens will engage teenagers unlike any other book.

A vital book for teens, as well as parents, grandparents, and any adult who influences young people, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is destined to become the last word on surviving and thriving as a teen and beyond.

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