"I'm not doing too well in school right now. If I don't get my grades up I'll never get into college."
"I'm moody and get depressed often and I don't know what to do about it."
These problems are real, and you can't turn off real life. So I won't try. Instead, I'll give you a set of tools to help you deal with real life. What are they? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens or, said another way, the seven characteristics that happy and successful teens the world over have in common.
By now, you're probably wondering what these habits are so I might as well end the suspense. Here they are, followed by a brief explanation:
Habit 1: Be Proactive Take responsibility for your life.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Define your mission and goals in life.
Habit 3: Put First Things First Prioritize, and do the most important things first.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win Have an everyone-can-win attitude.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood Listen to people sincerely.
Habit 6: Synergize Work together to achieve more.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw Renew yourself regularly.
As the above diagram shows, the habits build upon each other. Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. We call it the "private victory." Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with relationships and teamwork. We call it the "public victory." You've got to get your personal act together before you can be a good team player. That's why the private victory comes before the public victory. The last habit, Habit 7, is the habit of renewal. It feeds all of the other six habits.
The habits seem rather simple, don't they? But just wait till you see how powerful they can be! One great way to understand what the 7 Habits are is to understand what they are not. So here are the opposites, or:
The 7 Habits of Highly Defective Teens
Habit 1: React Blame all of your problems on your parents, your stupid teachers or professors, your lousy neighborhood, your boy- or girlfriend, the government, or something or somebody else. Be a victim. Take no responsibility for your life. Act like an animal. If you're hungry, eat. If someone yells at you, yell back. If you feel like doing something you know is wrong, just do it.
Habit 2: Begin with No End in Mind Don't have a plan. Avoid goals at all costs. And never think about tomorrow. Why worry about the consequences of your actions? Live for the moment. Sleep around, get wasted, and party on, for tomorrow we die.
Habit 3: Put First Things Last Whatever is most important in your life, don't do it until you have spent sufficient time watching reruns, talking endlessly on the phone, surfing the Net, and lounging around. Always put off your homework until tomorrow. Make sure that things that don't matter always come before things that do.
Habit 4: Think Win-Lose See life as a vicious competition. Your classmate is out to get you, so you'd better get him or her first. Don't let anyone else succeed at anything because, remember, if they win, you lose. If it looks like you're going to lose, however, make sure you drag that sucker down with you.
Habit 5: Seek First to Talk, Then Pretend to Listen You were born with a mouth, so use it. Make sure you talk a lot. Always express your side of the story first. Once you're sure everyone understands your views, then pretend to listen by nodding and saying "uh-huh." Or, if you really want their opinion, give it to them.
Habit 6: Don't Cooperate Let's face it, other people are weird because they're different from you. So why try to get along with them? Teamwork is for the dogs. Since you always have the best ideas, you are better off doing everything by yourself. Be your own island.
Copyright © 1998 by Franklin Covey Co.
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