Have you ever thought about a list of successful tips handed over to you that can help you be a pioneering teenager? Yes. I am suggesting Sean Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens which is of great command for teenagers to lead a life of triumph. It is an international bestseller updated for the digital age. “It’s a true gift for the teenage soul,” Jan Canfield says of the book. The seven main guidelines suggested are as following. The first rule says to be a proactive. It means there are two kinds of people in the world: proactive and reactive people. The proactive people take responsibility and take control of themselves. On the other hand, the reactive people blame others, wait for things to happen and complain about everything. Although being reactive is the easier route and requires no willpower whereas being proactive is more beneficial. Also this book emphasises that one thing you are in control of is yourself and that proactive people don’t let rude comments and fights affect their attitude and decisions. Everyone should strive to be more proactive because they have a can-do attitude; bounces back from bad events and don’t dwell upon the misfortunes whereas reactive people have reversed natures. The second rule says to begin with the end in mind. Without having an end in mind, you won’t know which path to take. The book articulates you to imagine your future self and imagine what your future self has experienced in past. Also the book states that if we are not in control of our own destiny, we will often follow anyone who is willing to lead. A person should know about his/her values to not imitate the same interests as friends which may get the person into drugs or determine what career path they choose. Sean Covey expresses that the best way he found to do this is to write a mission statement. A mission statement can be anything from poems to songs and uncovering your talents can help develop it. There were also many other great tips such as writing your goals down and roping up with people who can help you or have the same goal. Lastly my desired part about this habit was, it expressed that life is too short, so we should make it extraordinary! The third rule suggests put first thing first. Few things are important and some are not. Well the answer to the perfect combination includes the priorities. The prioritiser plans ahead does all the important things that need to get done, and they don’t procrastinate. We all slack off at times, procrastinate, and don’t have the willpower to say no. Slackers waste their time doing unimportant stuff. Then there are procrastinators who do everything important at the last second like cramming in for a test or finishing the book report that’s due tomorrow. Lastly there is the yes-man who caves into peer pressure or says yes to things he really not interested in. This made us learn that we need to make myself into a prioritiser category. This also helps us learn that stepping out of comfort zone leads to step ahead. This book has taught about disciplines of how to be strong and get oneself in certain habits such as waking up on time and not falling into peer pressure. The fourth rule advises think win-win. This chapter talks about how everyone can win and be happy. Besides the win-win situations, covey also explains win-lose, lose-win and lose-lose situations. Win-lose situations often involve one person outdoing another or “I’m better than you” attitudes. Sometimes people may even put other down to get ahead denying other’s feelings. Usually these kinds of people may find themselves winning, but they are alone and friendless. Lose-win situations are sort of like the opposite of win-lose. In a lose win situation, one person usually allows the other to win, and they keep their true thoughts to themselves because they don’t want to cause a big scene. They lack willpower and allow others to get it their way on important matters. It is crucial that people shouldn’t get trapped in the lose-win cycle or else they will get stepped on. When two win-lose people get together, it equals to lose-lose situation. Since both people are trying to beat one another, none of them wins. Also lose-lose teens think that if they can’t get it, no one can! As you can tell, these situations won’t help you grow. The solution is to win-win. This is where you care about yourself but also want others to succeed. You share the success and treat everyone the same which results in victory for all. Getting into the win-win habit may sound easy, but there are obstacles that you need to overcome. The two obstacles presented in this chapter are competing and comparing. Competition is a great motivation to push ourselves to the next level, but it can become your enemy when you use it as a way to outdo someone else. Then there is competition’s twin, comparison. Comparing yourself can make you feel very unstable and can make you feel inferior to others which is very unhealthy. Although having a win-win attitude is difficult, let’s get into the habit of it because it can do wonders with a relationship! The first rule says to be a proactive. It means there are two kinds of people in the world: proactive and reactive. The proactive ones take responsibility and control of their lives The fifth rule recommended seek first to understand, then to be understood. You may think listening is as easy as talking, but there are many steps to being a genuine listener. The first thing you must do is listen with your eyes, heart, and ears before opening your mouth. People want to be understood, and if they feel love and understanding from you, they’ll open up, but if you try to rush into the situation before knowing anything, they’ll feel let down. To avoid these bad listening skills, the book states that when you are listening, don’t just listen to the words but feel the emotions. Also it is important to see the story from their point of view. Mirroring is putting the person’s word into your own. This method is great because it really makes the other person feel like you’re listening and understanding them. Seeking to understand is very important but so it seeking to be understood; you have to make sure to give feedback after listening to someone. The sixth rule is to synergise. Habit 6 focuses on how to get to synergy; you must celebrate diversity instead of shunning. People who celebrate diversity see differences as ways to get more creative which then opens up more chances. They realize that their differences are beneficial to each other, and they can accomplish great work with it. Also people learn differently they may learn to be linguistic, logical, bodily-kinaesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal or intrapersonal. Since we all think differently, we may also see and interpret things differently. We also have different styles, traits, and characteristics. As you can see no two human can be similar, so why doesn’t everyone just accept it and synergise? Well, there are barriers. One of them is being ignorant. Then there are cliques who don’t value anything. People judge others from their physical appearance without even getting to know them. Although these kinds of people exist, there are many who celebrate. To get to synergy, there are five steps: define the problem or opportunity, their way, my way, brainstorm, high way. With good teamwork and synergy, we can all accomplish things more successfully than ever before! Lastly, sharpen the saw. The last habit talks about how the “sharpening” yourself allows you to excel in all the other habits. To rejuvenate yourself, four key components are: the body, brain, heart and soul. It is important to distribute your effort into the 4 areas evenly. Covey explains to take care of the body; you must exercise, eat healthy, sleep well, and relax. Also he stresses that you shouldn’t be obsessed with getting the perfect body you see in magazines and movies. Being too obsessed with this can lead to eating disorders or straining yourself out with too much exercise. Another thing he pointed out was that drugs are very addicting and is hard to quit, so never start because of peer pressure or curiosity because in the end, you are just destroying yourself. Next he moves onto the caring for the brain. It is said not to ruin your chances to learn. Taking time to really sharpen your brain will open up many more opportunities. Even if you don’t like learning, there will always be something that interests you. What are teens full of? Emotions. To keep yourself from bursting like a bubble, you have to nurture your heart. Sometimes teens will also undergo depression, and Covey explains that no matter how bad things may be, there will always be a happy future waiting for you. Find something that makes you laugh because laughing can help reduce stress and helps us cope with hard times. Lastly, care for your own soul. By implementing this you will be able to get in touch with your inner self and be inspired. Do acts such as meditating, writing and drawing. The writer is a Mass Communication student at Forman Christian College and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, February 9th 2019.