Hey guys I found my old summer assignments on the 7 Habits, and I hope they help!

Part one: Get in the Habit
Habits are a big part of a teenager’s life. They can either balance out a teen’s complicated and busy life or make life harder and make it into a disaster. Kids always complain that they don’t have time for anything because of all their schoolwork, friends, family, sports, etc. Some kids even go through
depressions and drugs, so Covey has created the 7 habits of highly effective teens to help accommodate to these kid’s hectic schedules. These habits are: Be proactive, Begin with the end in mind, Put first things first, think win-win, Seek to understand, Then to be understood, synergize, and sharpen the saw. To be successful, you must apply these habits onto everyday life. By doing so, this will help you to overcome the problems within yourself. Then it will help you to create good relationships with others, and lastly these habits will help you to renew yourself. On the other hand, there are also habits that will lead you downhill; these are: React, begin with no end in mind, thin win-lose, put first things last, seek to talk then pretend to listen, don’t cooperate, and wear yourself out. As you can see habits can lead you in the right or wrong direction.

Chapter one: Paradigms and Principles
Chapter one describes how paradigms and principles can either make you or break you. First off, a paradigm is a perception or a point of view on a certain matter, and often times our paradigms can put limitations on ourselves. For example, if I go into high school thinking that i have no confidence and don’t have an outgoing personality, that idea would be slowly be engraved on to my mind, and I would always be living in the shadows because those negative ideas are like walls that narrow the mind. In conclusion, it is always important to have a positive paradigm on yourself because having a positive paradigm can determine how happy, successful, and confident you are. There are also other kinds of paradigms like paradigms on others. This book explains that you should never judge a person without knowing all the facts because there’s always a chance that you don’t know the complete story. For instance, if there is this one teacher at school who I think is so mean to the whole class, I might go and badmouth about him/her with my friends when in reality, he/she is just trying to prepare us for college and make us have a good work ethic. Last but not least is the paradigm of life, and this is where principles come into play. Your paradigm should be based on the principles because being too obsessed with only one life center can lead to the downfall of another. For example, if your life revolves around school, you will lose enjoying your youth. Living by principles is like being the jack of all trades because you can solve all problems by honesty, hard work, responsibility, love, and more.

Chapter 2: The Personal Bank Account
Your personal bank account is how you feel about yourself, so if you have a rich PBA, you are most likely to have a positive relationship with yourself, and if you are poor, you will probably go through a rollercoaster of emotions and will self-destruct easily.  So how do you get rich or poor?  The answer is through deposits and withdrawals. Deposits are when you earn and gain money, so it could be keeping promises to yourself, being honest, being kind, renewing yourself, and more. At the other end of the rope are withdrawals which are acts such as breaking personal promises, beating yourself up, neglecting your talents, etc. The book states that all deposits don’t always have to be big. For example, for one of my new year’s revolution I made a promise to myself to give up drinking soda, and I’ve kept the promise ever since. Keeping this promise makes me “richer” and feel better about myself. Although it may seem that being kind to others only benefits the person receiving the kindness, it can also makes the person doing the generous act feel great about themselves. One time at a restaurant, I found a phone under the table, and it hadn’t been long since the lady who had been sitting at our table had left, so I hurriedly ran to find her and gave her her phone. She checked to see if it was hers, and replied with a heartwarming thank you and a smile. This may seem like nothing to you, but I felt like I had saved the woman the trouble of coming all the way back to the restaurant to see if her phone was still there or even stolen. As you can see making PBA deposits leads to a better life!

Chapter 3: Habit 1- Be Proactive
There are two kinds of people in the world: proactive and reactive people. The proactive people are people who take responsibility, take control of themselves, and take action. On the other hand, the reactive people blame things on others, wait for things to happen, and complain about everything. Although being reactive is the easier route and requires no willpower, being proactive will be more beneficial. For example, instead of laying around begging my parents for money, I should babysit the kids around the neighborhood, walk their dogs, and have bake sales. Also this book really emphasizes that the one thing you are in control of is yourself, and that proactive people don’t let rude comments and fights affect your attitude and decisions.  From this, I learned that if I have a bad day at school because of my teachers, I shouldn’t lash out at my friends or family, instead I should try to work it out with my teachers and work harder in class. To help be proactive, this book gives you four handy dandy power tools: self-awareness, conscience, imagination, and willpower. These tools help you to think about the situation instead of reacting on impulse, so if I go back to the situation with my teachers, I would use self-awareness to recognize that a bad test grade is affecting how I act with my teacher. Then I would listen to my conscience saying that it is wrong to be mad at my teachers when it was me who made the bad grade. Next, I would imagine myself going to a good college in a couple of years, and in order to do so I would use my willpower to get over that one bad grade and work harder to get into a great school. All people (including me) 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 and the things they can’t control such as their race or the weather, and so many other aspects that make life more enjoyable and successful.

Chapter 4: Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind
Without having an end in mind, you won’t know which path to take and won’t know if you’re decisions are going in the right direction. The book tells you to imagine your future self and imagine what your future self has done over the past year. I imagined myself making good grades, being a good friend, student, and daughter. Since I have an end in mind and know what my values are, I will know that working hard, staying up late studying, listening in class, being kind, doing chores, and being respectful will all be decisions that I know are right. 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. For example if a person doesn’t know what their values are, he/she might just take the same interests as his/her friends which may get the person into drugs or determine what career path they choose. To reach an end, Covey states 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. Covey gives you 4 methods that you can use to develop a mission statement, and I have gone with his first method which uses quotes. The quote I have chosen goes: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” –Albert Einstein. I chose this quote because I shouldn’t dwell on the negative stuff and disagreements or look back on the past. Next the book moves on to goals, and Covey lists some tips on how to make goals. One of the tips listed was to count the cost, so if I had a goal to successfully finish a school project with my friends, I should know that I will have to sacrifice some of my ideas and incorporate the other’s ideas. This would cause less disagreements, and I also should know that if I’m not 100% committed and don’t do my equal share of work, my friends will be very annoyed with me. 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 favorite part about this chapter was when it expressed that life is too short, so we should make it extraordinary!

Habit 3 – Put First Things First
Urgent, not urgent, important and not important. Which combination is the best for organizing and planning out your life?!?! Well the answer is the combination of not urgent and important, the prioritizer. The prioritizer plans ahead does all the important things that need to get done, and they don’t wait until the last minute to do it, so prioritizers have got it together and live their life as stress-free as possible. However not all people can spend 100% of their time being in the prioritizer quadrant because in the end we are all just humans. We all slack off at times, procrastinate, and don’t have the willpower to say no. Slackers waste their time doing unimportant stuff such as watching too much TV or sleeping too much, so these people are just pouring their life down the drain. 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. From this I learned that I need to make myself into a prioritizer and in order to do so, I must plan ahead so I know what’s coming. So from now on, I will plan my weeks and make sure to reserve my days for the important events such as studying for a test or attending my friend’s game. Then after I have organized the important things, I can fit in all the little things such as relaxing or painting a picture. Also I learned that I should step out of my comfort zone. For instance if I go into a class where none of my friends are in, I should go out and talk to someone and make a friend, and I shouldn’t let the fear of her not liking me stop me from making friends with her. This book has also taught me about discipline and how I should be strong and get myself to get myself in certain habits such as waking up on time and not falling into peer pressure.

The Relationship Bank Account
Before we learned about the PBA, now we learn about the Relationship Bank Account or the RBA. The RBA has the same concepts as the PBA but instead of having a relationship with yourself, the RBA is about relationships with others. Every time you met a new person, you opened another bank account with him/her. Now it your choice if you want to make a positive or negative account. To do this, just like PBA, you have to make deposits or withdrawals. Deposits would be acts such as keeping promises, being kind, being loyal, listening and saying sorry. For example, if I want to have a good relationship with my parents, I have make sure to keep promises such as doing all the chores before dinner or be kind and make them a special dinner. Another big concept I found in this chapter was loyalty. I found loyalty very important because I shouldn’t bad mouth my friend behind her back and expect her to be okay with it. Plus, if I were to stick up for my friend, I know she would do the same for me. Also I found that the best way to avoid arguments is to say you’re sorry, so from now on I will say sorry and admit my mistakes, and if I do that, I know the other person will too. On the other hand, there are withdrawals which break down relationships. Withdrawals are acts such as breaking promises, keeping to yourself, gossiping, being arrogant, and setting false expectations. Setting false expectations can lead into disasters! This is like leading someone on because they truly believe in what you say. For instance, if I tell my friend that the cookies she baked were delicious when in reality they were really horrible, she would really believe that they were good. Then because she thought they were really good, she would bake cookies for the whole school, and the kids would talk behind her back saying that those cookies were awful. As a result I would get accused of lying to her. This problem would have never started if I had told her nicely that those cookies were the greatest and instead gain her trust. As you can see relationships can determine how successful and happy you are. I know I will be making deposits into every account whenever I can!

Habit 4 – Think win-win
They say winning isn’t everything but who really wants to lose? 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 or insist of getting it done their way without even considering the 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 into a lose-lose situation. Since both people are trying to beat one another, none of them is going to win, and they end up losing. Also lose-lose teens think that if they can’t get it, no one can! As you can tell, these situations won’t help build your RBA. 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. So the next time my friend gets the better grade, I will congratulate her, or if my family is arguing over whether to order Chinese or Japanese food, we will order both.  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!

Habit 5 – 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. For instance, if I were to give advice to my friend, before even understanding what she needs, my advice would be full of crap to her. Other bad listening styles besides advising would be spacing out, pretending to listen, selective listening, word listening, self-centered listening, judging, and probing. An example of selective listening would be like if my friend was telling me a problem she was having with her brother and how he was always annoying her when she is doing her homework, I might have just listened to the word homework and start a whole new conversation about tonight’s homework. This probably made my friend feel like I don’t care about her and felt like I ignored her when she needed me. To avoid these bad listening skills, the book states that when you are listening, don’t just listen to the words but feel the emotion they express and look at their body language to get the full meaning behind what they are trying to say. Also it is important to see the story from their point of view, and another tip that was mentioned was to practice mirroring. 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. From now on, I will make a huge effort to be certain that I will listen to the people who need it, and by doing so I will also be making RBA deposits!

Habit 6 – synergize
Habit 6 focuses on how 2 can be better than 1 or in other words how synergy can create a better solution. To get to synergy, you must celebrate diversity instead of shunning it or just tolerating with it. People who celebrate diversity see differences as ways to get more creative which then opens up more opportunities. 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-kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal, or intrapersonal. Since we all think differently, we may also see and interpret things differently as well. On top of this, we also have different styles, traits, and characteristics. As you can see no two human can be alike, so why doesn’t everyone just accept it and synergize? Well like always, there are barriers. One of them is being ignorant. This means that you know how others feel, what they believe in, etc. Then there are cliques who don’t value anything that’s not in their group, and there is also prejudice. People judge others from their physical appearance without even getting to know them. Although these kinds of people exist, there are many who celebrate and embrace diversity. To get to synergy, there are 5 steps: define the problem or opportunity, their way, my way, brainstorm, high way. For example, let’s say my friend and I are arguing about a biology project. First I would identify that we are having a problem. Next I would listen to her saying that she want to do a 2-D model of the cell because we don’t have much time to do 3-D model and it would put too much stress on us. Then I would state my ideas and say that a 3-D model would earn us more points in creativity and give us an overall better grade. Fourthly we would brainstorm for new options and look for the best solution, the highway. The best solution would be to incorporate both ideas by drawing some of the features of the cell onto a poster, but also adding 3-D objects that can be made with pipe cleaners, string, etc. This way our cell model has a new awesome effect that none of the other projects had. Plus we got plenty of time to finish and got the extra creative points. With good teamwork and synergy, we can all accomplish things more successfully than ever before!

Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw
The last habit talks about how the “sharpening” yourself allows you to excel in all the other habits which results in dealing with life better. To sharpen or rejuvenate yourself, the book lists 4 key components that you should regularly renew and strengthen: the body, brain, heart, and soul. It is important to distribute your effort into the 4 areas evenly because if you don’t, it equals to an unbalanced life. Covey explains that 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 because in reality not everyone can have the perfect body or look. 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. This section discusses that you shouldn’t ruin your chances to learn or get an education because if you do, you might end up having to live off your parent’s retirement funds unable to support yourself. So in order to care for the brain, you can read, write, learn how to play an instrument, listen to the news, and research your ancestors and so much more. Taking time to really sharpen your brain will open up many more opportunities than people who will spend days and days on the computer and watching TV or people who don’t study because they’re afraid others might think its lame. Even if you don’t like learning, there will always be something that interests you and you will have to work hard for it. What are teens full of? That’s right; its emotions. To keep yourself from bursting like a bubble, you have to nourish your heart. You do this by making PBA and RBA deposits whenever you can. 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, so you should never even think about ending your life. Instead find something that makes you laugh because laughing can help reduce stress and helps us cope with hard times. Lastly, care for the soul. By doing this, you will be able to get in touch with your inner self and find what inspires you such as meditating, writing, drawing, etc. Although this seems like a lot and consumes a lot of time that we don’t have, as Covey states, “there is a time for everything.”

Keep hope Alive.
This book is jam-packed with information, so it is common for teens to say, “I can’t do all of this”, but Covey expresses to have hope. It is true that a regular teen won’t be able to 100% master all of these habits right away, but you can always start off little by little and work your way up. Furthermore, don’t get discouraged if things aren’t going the way you want it to or if you find it difficult to apply these habits to your life, because there will always be a way. Even if you have to work harder than the people around you, it will all be worth it because all your hard efforts will pay off, and you will be able to sprint across your finish line with a smile!