The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

in relationships, the little things are the big things

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.12

leadership is communicating others’ worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.12

Principles are the territory. Values are maps. When we value correct principles, we have truth—a knowledge of things as they are.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.43

If you don’t let a teacher know at what level you are—by asking a question, or revealing your ignorance—you will not learn or grow. You cannot pretend for long, for you will eventually be found out.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.45

My experience has been that there are times to teach and times not to teach. When relationships are strained and the air charged with emotion, an attempt to teach is often perceived as a form of judgment and rejection.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.48

Albert Einstein observed, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.50

Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make. Dependent people cannot choose to become interdependent. They don’t have the character to do it; they don’t own enough of themselves.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.59

Effectiveness lies in the balance—what I call the P/PC Balance. P stands for production of desired results, the golden eggs. PC stands for production capability, the ability or asset that produces the golden eggs.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.62

PC work is treating employees as volunteers just as you treat customers as volunteers, because that’s what they are. They volunteer the best part—their hearts and minds.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.66

“No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.69

Animals do not possess this ability. We call it “self-awareness” or the ability to think about your very thought process. This is the reason why man has dominion over all things in the world and why he can make significant advances from generation to generation.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.74

Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.77

The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values—carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.79

It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.81

Of course, things can hurt us physically or economically and can cause sorrow. But our character, our basic identity, does not have to be hurt at all.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.81

Of course, the maturity level of the individual has to be taken into account. We can’t expect high creative cooperation from those who are deep into emotional dependence. But we can, at least, affirm their basic nature and create an atmosphere where people can seize opportunities and solve problems in an increasingly self-reliant way.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.83

In the great literature of all progressive societies, love is a verb.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.87

Proactive people make love a verb. Love is something you do: the sacrifices you make, the giving of self, like a mother bringing a newborn into the world.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.87

Whether a problem is direct, indirect, or no control, we have in our hands the first step to the solution. Changing our habits, changing our methods of influence and changing the way we see our no control problems are all within our Circle of Influence.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.93

I know this idea is a dramatic paradigm shift for many people. It is so much easier to blame other people, conditioning, or conditions for our own stagnant situation. But we are responsible—“response-able”—to control our lives and to powerfully influence our circumstances by working on be, on what we are.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.97

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it. This literally turns a failure into a success. “Success,” said IBM founder T. J. Watson, “is on the far side of failure.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.98

It is not what others do or even our own mistakes that hurt us the most; it is our response to those things. Chasing after the poisonous snake that bites us will only drive the poison through our entire system. It is far better to take measures immediately to get the poison out.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.99

At the very heart of our Circle of Influence is our ability to make and keep commitments and promises. The commitments we make to ourselves and to others, and our integrity to those commitments, is the essence and clearest manifestation of our proactivity.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.99

We don’t have to go through the death camp experience of Frankl to recognize and develop our own proactivity. It is in the ordinary events of every day that we develop the proactive capacity to handle the extraordinary pressures of life. It’s how we make and keep commitments, how we handle a traffic jam, how we respond to an irate customer or a disobedient child. It’s how we view our problems and where we focus our energies. It’s the language we use.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.100

Knowing that we are responsible—“response-able”—is fundamental to effectiveness and to every other habit of effectiveness we will discuss.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.100

The most fundamental application of “begin with the end in mind” is to begin today with the image, picture, or paradigm of the end of your life as your frame of reference or the criterion by which everything else is examined.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.104

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.108

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.108

Effectiveness—often even survival—does not depend solely on how much effort we expend, but on whether or not the effort we expend is in the right jungle.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.108

These four factors—security, guidance, wisdom, and power—are interdependent. Security and clear guidance bring true wisdom, and wisdom becomes the spark or catalyst to release and direct power. When these four factors are present together, harmonized and enlivened by each other, they create the great force of a noble personality, a balanced character, a beautifully integrated individual.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.117

The personal power that comes from principle-centered living is the power of a self-aware, knowledgeable, proactive individual, unrestricted by the attitudes, behaviors, and actions of others or by many of the circumstances and environmental influences that limit other people.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.131

The only real limitation of power is the natural consequences of the principles themselves. We are free to choose our actions, based on our knowledge of correct principles, but we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions. Remember, “If you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.131

By centering our lives on timeless, unchanging principles, we create a fundamental paradigm of effective living. It is the center that puts all other centers in perspective.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.131

I find the process is as important as the product. Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behavior with your beliefs.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.137

One of the main things his research showed was that almost all of the world-class athletes and other peak performers are visualizers. They see it; they feel it; they experience it before they actually do it. They begin with the end in mind.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.142

Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. No involvement, no commitment.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.151

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do,” he observed. “They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.157

To paraphrase Peter Drucker, effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems. They think preventively.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.163

The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.165

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.170

Again, you simply can’t think efficiency with people. You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.178

An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship. It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.198

If you suddenly run into an old high school friend you haven’t seen for years, you can pick up right where you left off because the earlier deposits are still there. But your accounts with the people you interact with on a regular basis require more constant investment.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.199

People are very tender, very sensitive inside. I don’t believe age or experience makes much difference. Inside, even within the most toughened and calloused exteriors, are the tender feelings and emotions of the heart.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.203

Competition, not cooperation, lies at the core of the educational process. Cooperation, in fact, is usually associated with cheating.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.219

Anything less than Win/Win in an interdependent reality is a poor second best that will have impact in the long-term relationship. The cost of that impact needs to be carefully considered. If you can’t reach a true Win/Win, you’re very often better off to go for No Deal.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.225

Win/Win or No Deal provides tremendous emotional freedom in the family relationship. If family members can’t agree on a video that everyone will enjoy, they can simply decide to do something else—No Deal—rather than having some enjoy the evening at the expense of others.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.225

Maturity is the balance between courage and consideration.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.228

When I say empathic listening, I mean listening with intent to understand. I mean seeking first to understand, to really understand. It’s an entirely different paradigm.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.252

Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy is a form of agreement, a form of judgment. And it is sometimes the more appropriate emotion and response. But people often feed on sympathy. It makes them dependent. The essence of empathic listening is not that you agree with someone; it’s that you fully, deeply, understand that person, emotionally as well as intellectually.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.252

Satisfied needs do not motivate. It’s only the unsatisfied need that motivates. Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival—to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.253

When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. And after that vital need is met, you can then focus on influencing or problem solving.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.253

Empathic listening is also risky. It takes a great deal of security to go into a deep listening experience because you open yourself up to be influenced. You become vulnerable. It’s a paradox, in a sense, because in order to have influence, you have to be influenced. That means you have to really understand.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.254

The key to good judgment is understanding. By judging first, a person will never fully understand.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.256

Seek first to understand is a correct principle evident in all areas of life. It’s a generic, common denominator principle, but it has its greatest power in the area of interpersonal relations.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.256

When people are really hurting and you really listen with a pure desire to understand, you’ll be amazed how fast they will open up. They want to open up.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.263

When you can present your own ideas clearly, specifically, visually, and most important, contextually—in the context of a deep understanding of other people’s paradigms and concerns—you significantly increase the credibility of your ideas.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.268

Don’t push; be patient; be respectful. People don’t have to open up verbally before you can empathize. You can empathize all the time with their behavior. You can be discerning, sensitive, and aware and you can live outside your autobiography when that is needed.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.270

The essence of synergy is to value differences—to respect them, to build on strengths, to compensate for weaknesses.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.275

Could synergy not create a new script for the next generation—one that is more geared to service and contribution, and is less protective, less adversarial, less selfish; one that is more open, more trusting, more giving, and is less defensive, protective, and political; one that is more loving, more caring, and is less possessive and judgmental?

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.275

As Carl Rogers taught, “That which is most personal is most general.” The more authentic you become, the more genuine in your expression, particularly regarding personal experiences and even self-doubts, the more people can relate to your expression and the safer it makes them feel to express themselves.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.278

Like the Far Eastern philosophy, “We seek not to imitate the masters, rather we seek what they sought,” we seek not to imitate past creative synergistic experiences, rather we seek new ones around new and different and sometimes higher purposes.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.280

The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through interaction with the hearts and minds of other human beings. That person values the differences because those differences add to his knowledge, to his understanding of reality. When we’re left to our own experiences, we constantly suffer from a shortage of data.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.288

You can be synergistic within yourself even in the midst of a very adversarial environment. You don’t have to take insults personally. You can sidestep negative energy; you can look for the good in others and utilize that good, as different as it may be, to improve your point of view and to enlarge your perspective.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.295

You can value the difference in other people. When someone disagrees with you, you can say, “Good! You see it differently.” You don’t have to agree with them; you can simply affirm them. And you can seek to understand.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.295

When you see only two alternatives—yours and the “wrong” one—you can look for a synergistic third alternative. There’s almost always a third alternative, and if you work with a Win/Win philosophy and really seek to understand, you usually can find a solution that will be better for everyone concerned.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.295

“In a flash of certainty,” he wrote, “I saw that if one’s motives are wrong, nothing can be right. It makes no difference whether you are a mailman, a hairdresser, an insurance salesman, a housewife—whatever. As long as you feel you are serving others, you do the job well. When you are concerned only with helping yourself, you do it less well—a law as inexorable as gravity.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.304

Continuing surveys indicate that television is on in most homes some thirty-five to forty-five hours a week. That’s as much time as many people put into their jobs, more than most put into school. It’s the most powerful socializing influence there is. And when we watch, we’re subject to all the values that are being taught through it. That can powerfully influence us in very subtle and imperceptible ways.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.306

It is extremely valuable to train the mind to stand apart and examine its own program. That, to me, is the definition of a liberal education—the ability to examine the programs of life against larger questions and purposes and other paradigms. Training, without such education, narrows and closes the mind so that the assumptions underlying the training are never examined. That’s why it is so valuable to read broadly and to expose yourself to great minds.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.307

There’s no better way to inform and expand your mind on a regular basis than to get into the habit of reading good literature. That’s another high leverage Quadrant II activity. You can get into the best minds that are now or that have ever been in the world. I highly recommend starting with a goal of a book a month, then a book every two weeks, then a book a week. “The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.307

If we use our own autobiography to make early judgments before we really understand what an author has to say, we limit the benefits of the reading experience.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.307

Writing is another powerful way to sharpen the mental saw. Keeping a journal of our thoughts, experiences, insights, and learnings promotes mental clarity, exactness, and context. Writing good letters—communicating on the deeper level of thoughts, feelings, and ideas rather than on the shallow, superficial level of events—also affects our ability to think clearly, to reason accurately, and to be understood effectively.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.307

Some day, in the years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now… Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.308

The social and the emotional dimensions of our lives are tied together because our emotional life is primarily, but not exclusively, developed out of and manifested in our relationships with others.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.308

Goethe taught, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.312

Achieving unity—oneness—with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our friends and working associates, is the highest and best and most delicious fruit of the Seven Habits. Most of us have tasted this fruit of true unity from time to time in the past, as we have also tasted the bitter, lonely fruit of disunity—and we know how precious and fragile unity is.

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.328

You can pretty well summarize the first three habits with the expression “make and keep a promise.” And you can pretty well summarize the next three habits with the expression “involve others in the problem and work out the solution together.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, P.333

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