By Diane Braun – July 7, 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 not only introduce skills like goal setting, organization, time management, team work, conflict management, collaboration and communication, but those already familiar with the habits can also strengthen these skills.

There are steps to help 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 4th habit—THINK WIN-WIN.

Before we can truly have a win-win attitude, we need to have mastered the first three habits, known collectively as the “Private Victory.”  If we’re insecure and feel threatened by other people’s success, it will be hard for us to ever feel happiness for someone else or share recognition and praise.

We need to remember two things. First, competition can be healthy. It drives us to improve, to reach and stretch. Without it we might never know how far we can push ourselves. Competition becomes dark when you tie your self-worth to winning or use it to place yourself above others. Second, comparing ourselves to others is always a bad idea. We’re all on different levels—socially, emotionally, physically. 

The benefit of thinking win-win is that it creates a foundation for getting along with others. It begins with the belief that we are all equal, that no one is inferior or superior to anyone else.  Most of us can remember being in a win-lose situation where someone else got the glory and although we did our best, we didn’t get recognized for it with an award or praise. There may be a time where we know we can’t handle a situation and have a lose-lose attitude, which means that if I’m going down, I’m taking you with me.  Or knowing that we never seem to be the best at something, we may feel we’re definitely the loser so we allow others to go ahead and walk all over us.

You can feel the shift in thinking when ALL OF US can win in any situation.  Given the world’s current concerns, how can we have a win-win attitude?  If I just stocked up on toilet paper and my sister needs several rolls for her family, do I say no? Should I perhaps arrange a trade? How can I share and feel like I didn’t lose in this? How can I take care of myself and my family and still make sure others have that same security? 

A quote by author George Elliot sums up habit 4: “What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?”