Sean Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, revolutionized the way teachers, parents and students thought about navigating the pressures of teenager-hood. When these seven simple tips to leading a more efficient and effective life are instituted in daily life by teens, their success levels jump exponentially. They are ideas everyone can grasp and utilize, and they help teens blossom.
Being proactive is the first step to putting the other six ideas into place. Take responsibility for your actions and your situation. Thinking ahead is the best way to get ahead. Proactive people take responsibility for their own happiness or unhappiness, their own success or failure. Being proactive means making decisions based on values rather than emotions. It especially means not blaming others or being a victim.
Begin With the End in Mind
Think about your goals, hopes and dreams. Then work to make them a reality. Creating your own mission statement for life will help you live each day to the fullest as you work to achieve these goals. Decide what you believe and what you want. Then live by these tenets day in and day out.
Put First Things First
Learning to prioritize is perhaps the most important step to becoming an effective teen. Consider your goals, vision and values as you organize your priorities. Choose what is most important and put that at the top of your to-do list. Living like this can also help shift your mind into "big picture thinking." Know what is important to you and don't let the ups and downs of daily life distract you from that.
Thinking win-win means to approach your relationships with a sense of mutual respect based on the idea of compromise. Believe that it is possible to arrive to a solution that benefits all parties involved, and you will arrive at such a solution. This is opposed to selfish win-lose thinking and martyr like lose-win thinking. Speak in terms of "we" and not in terms of "me."
Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood
You cannot expect someone to focus on your ideas and thoughts if you cannot afford them the same opportunity. This step is the first and biggest in developing effective communication and relationship skills. Make the effort to understand where the other party is coming from, what they are thinking. When it is clear that you have grasped their world view, regardless of whether you agree, it is easier to ask them to try to understand your point of view.
The phrase "two heads are better than one" is really true. Rather than arguing between "your way" and "my way," work together to come up with a solution that falls under "our way." Nine times out of ten, the solution you create together will be better than anything created individually. Learn to appreciate that everyone brings something different to the table. With combined efforts, the overall outcome will be more successful.
Sharpen the Saw
Taking time for yourself is key. It is impossible to live by these tenets with a stressed mind and body. Find your relaxation habits. If it's watching a movie, reading a book, going for a walk or anything else you come up with, be sure to schedule "me time." By renewing yourself, you will be able to approach others with an open mind and live a more highly effective life.
- teens image by Sandra Henderson from Fotolia.com