The 7 Habits and Coronavirus – Be Proactive


By Diane Braun – June 10, 2020 –

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold over 30 million copies in over 40 languages, is one of the most significant business books of all time. Dr. Stephen Covey’s lifelong mission was to “unleash the human potential.”  The 7 Habits are the accumulated wisdom he blended into a comprehensive framework that allows one to be effective in their work and personal life.

The 7 Habits have the ability to introduce skills like goal setting, organization, time management, team work, conflict management, collaboration and communication. Those already familiar with the habits can also strengthen these skills.

There are steps to create habits that help you personally, and there are other steps that help you deal with and understand others. Ultimately the hope is that the participant will experience renewal – knowing that to be your best you need to feel your best mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The 7 Habits were developed to help people deal with issues that can hamper their productivity, creativity and personal health.  But can they also apply to dealing with the coronavirus? Let’s examine the first habit – BE PROACTIVE.  

Being proactive simply means being a “Can Do” person instead of a “No Can Do” person.  A “Can Do” person takes initiative to make things happen, thinking about options and solutions, and most importantly, acting.  The “No Can Do” person waits for something to happen to them, always thinking about the problems and barriers waiting to be acted upon.

In your mind visualize two bottles, one containing soda (reactive) and one containing water (proactive). If you shake them up, what happens?  The soda reacts by fizzing, bubbling, and if opened, showering everything in sight.  The water doesn’t change.  It remains the same with no threat if the lid is opened. 

Proactive people can brush things off without getting offended and take responsibility for their choices. They think before they act and bounce back if something bad happens. They always find a way to move forward. They focus on things they can do something about and don’t worry about things they can’t control. 

Part of this habit is recognizing the “Circle of No Control.” Simply put, we can’t control everything that happens to us. What we CAN control is how we respond.

Right now everyone is being forced to think ahead.  Do we have enough food, toilet paper, books and games to get through the next week or two and not keep running to the store?  Do we have our mask and hand sanitizer with us before we leave the house? We’re hearing stories of people sharing resources, planting gardens and raising chickens—all examples of thinking ahead and making a plan on how to keep going.

We can all strive to be proactive for those around us, using language that is positive.  I’ll do it, I can do better, let’s look at all the options, there’s got to be a way, I’m going to keep trying.

Being proactive and setting a positive example can truly help get people through any situation, including a worldwide pandemic.