Being a teenager has its challenges. There’s no question it can be hard. Friends, family, school, and pressure about the future might keep you feeling stuck inside your own life, your own community, and school culture. Yet, there are teens are who are making a huge difference. They are not only creating ripples in the entertainment industry – such as those we see on American Idol – but they are also affecting the fields of politics, athletics, art, gymnastics, and professional chess-playing.
How do they do it? How did the young Ashritha Eswaran beat the international master at the United States Women’s Chess Championship while still a middle schooler? How did the American 16-year old lead his soccer team in beating the British at the World Cup this year? And how did 17-year old Simone Biles become a star athlete with 10 gold medals draped around her neck? How do these teens make their mark and affect the world with their passions?
Sean Covey, the son of the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, has many answers to these questions. In his book, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective TEENS, he compares the habits of defective teens and effective teens. In order to make his point that forming positive habits are essential in becoming the person you want to become, Sean Covey lists the habits that teens tend to get into but that might get in the way of success:
Habit One: React
Habit Two: Begin with no end in mind.
Habit Three: Put first things last.
Habit Four: Think win-lose.
Habit Five: Seek first to talk, then pretend to listen.
Habit Six: Don’t cooperate.
Habit Seven: Wear yourself out.
On the other hand, take a look at the following habits that teens can develop so that they can become who they want to be:
Habit One: Be proactive. Be a force of life, one who chooses to take the remote control of your life back into your own hands.
Habit Two: Begin with the end in mind. Know where you are going. In this way, you’ll have control over your own destiny.
Habit Three: Put first things first. Do first what is important in your life.
Habit Four: Think win-win. Make your decisions based upon the best for all.
Habit Five: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. It’s common for teens to want to be heard and understood. Yet, part of success is learning how to listen to others.
Habit Six: Synergize. Synergy is one word for saying that the sum is greater then it’s parts. When people work together, the teamwork can become so powerful that it’s greater than each person working on his or her own.
Habit Seven: Sharpen the saw. In order to continue to build the person you want to become, you must continue to sharpen your skills….and your habits.
In addition to these effective habits, outlined in Sean Covey’s book, there is something else to remember. Your success and getting to where you want to be is going to take action. All of it is going to require a step by step plan. This means that you must recognize the self-responsibility it takes to make things happen. The people who reach their goals are those that have taken responsibility for where they are now and where they want to be. This pertains to you too.
Where do you want to be? What is your vision? That will tell you where you’re going. Create a plan for getting where you want to be, using the positive habits listed above.
Lastly, there’s something that Sean’s father, Stephen Covey, points out in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He says that everything starts first in the mind. That if we are going to create something – a new business, an innovative solution to a problem, a career filled with athletic achievement – it begins first in the mind. Whatever you want to accomplish in your life, begin it first in your mind. Then follow the above suggestions given by Sean Covey and you’re surely going to succeed. You’re surely going to make your mark.