2. Begin with the end in mind: The second habit of Highly Effective People

By Dr. Biju G Pillai and Prof. Omkar Bapat, Assistant Professor, BIMHRD



The first habit of highly effective people is that they are ‘proactive’. The second habit of highly effective people is that they ‘begin with the end in mind’ as they visualize the ultimate goal or the target, and marshal their efforts and resources into achieving it.

This being the case, what should we do or refrain from doing in life? What will be our legacy in life? Will we be remembered as Steve Jobs whose name resonates in the world of technology? Or, will we end up like Ozymandias, whose legacy is left to decay before the shattered visage of his face as the shifting sands spread far away?

An answer to these questions has been given by Dr. Covey wherein he asks one to imagine oneself attending one’s funeral and is listening to one’s eulogy where all of one’s achievements, milestones, and major events in life were recalled by the speaker to the assembled family members, friends, relatives and prominent people one met and knew in life. Based on this imagination, we will be in a position to act in the way we should.

A good example for the above can be given in the form of Alfred Nobel, the noted chemist, entrepneur and scientist made famous as the inventor of dynamite and other explosives who had a major paradigm shifting after reading a misprinted obituary announcing his legacy as a ‘merchant of death’ to the ‘man of science and mankind’ he is known after his death today.

Beginning with the end in mind:

The crux of the second habit is based on the principle of personal leadership. Leadership is different from management as the latter follows the former. Leadership is concerned with the top line, i.e. ‘What is my objective or goal which I want to accomplish?’ As stated by Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis the difference in management and leadership lies in their fundamental nature wherein ‘Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.’ In other the purpose of management is to climb the wall whereas the purpose of leadership is to verify whether the wall is the right wall.

As stated before, the second habit arises from the mind as it has the ability to envision the future outcomes (achievement of goals, targets and so on). This can be done by the ‘measure twice and cut once’ principle wherein one creates the output in the mind and then transforms the output into physical creation. The man who made the best usage of this principle was Dr. Nikola Tesla a.k.a the inventor of the modern world. Dr. Tesla claimed that he ‘built his inventions in his mind’ stating that he was able to identify the safe operational limits of his devices to make sure that they ran safely and flawlessly when built in real life.

Vision is required for transforming efforts into success. Effective people employ the first habit in addition to the second habit as they see themselves responsible for their creations. Driven by this belief they motivate and empower other people into achieving the goal. Thus one can begin with the end in mind by envisioning each day, task, work or project by seeing a clear vision of the desired direction, resources and work effort and the destination so that one can employ one’s resources into achieving one’s objectives into reality.

In other words:

  • Mental creation paves the way for physical creation
  • An individual can choose his own future and create a vision about it
  • An individual can create and visualize the results of his activities before transforming them into reality



Effective people begin their tasks by visualizing the end goal in mind as it helps them in directing their efforts, resources and people for the achievement of their goals.

One of the ways effective people employ this habit in their daily lives is by creating and following a ‘personal mission statement’ as it helps them in focusing where they want to be and what they wish to achieve as the statement puts their goals in focus and helps them in moving their ideas into the real world, thereby enabling them to be more successful and productive in life.



  1. Dr. Stephen. R. Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  2. Wikipidea. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  3. Greg McKeown, Stephen R. Covey Taught Me Not to Be Like Him
  4. Dan Schawbel, Stephen R. Covey Revisits The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  5. Kevin Ohannessian, Leadership Hall of Fame: Stephen R Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’
  6. Douglas Martin, Stephen R. Covey, Herald of Good Habits, Dies at 79
  7. Stephen. R. Covey, About Stephen R. Covey
  8. Brianna Whilting, Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Chapter 5  /  Lesson 9
  9. Tom Butler-Bowdon, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  11. Dr. Stephen. R. Covey, Quotes

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Dr. (Col.) A. Balasubramanian is a classic example of courage, commitment and intimate relationship with the corporate world. His love for Knowledge and perfection is unimaginable he has created more than 30000 successful MBA's all throughout this Lifetime.
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