It was quite a shock for me this morning to discover the passing of the great Dr. Stephen R. Covey. Considered as one of the pioneers in the self-help genre, Covey has impacted many lives including mine.
Best known for his best-selling 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit, his wisdom and teachings have rocked my world and shifted my paradigm of what real personal growth is all about. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the great man.
Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.
Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.
Live out of your imagination, not your history.
We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice.
We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.
The first choice we make each and every day is, “Will we act upon life, or will we merely be acted upon?”
Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.
The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak. They’re filtering everything through their own paradigms, reading their autobiography into other people’s lives.
The real beginning of influence comes as others sense you are being influenced by them – when they feel understood by you – that you have listened deeply and sincerely, and that you are open.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
The way we see the problem is the problem.
We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
Between stimulus and response is our greatest power – the freedom to choose.
When life does not go our way or we inadvertently make a mistake, it is so easy to make excuses, place blame on others, or argue that circumstances were against us. But we only progress in life to the extent that we take responsibility for our actions and attitudes, and put forth the initiative necessary to create our own circumstances.
When we succumb to believing that we are victims of our circumstances and yield to the plight of determinism, we lose hope, we lose drive, and we settle into resignation and stagnation.
Live, love, laugh, leave a legacy.
What a legacy this man has left behind! I can’t believe that I’m not going to read new books from Covey. I’ll miss this man, but his inspiring wisdom lives on and will continue to affect many lives including mine.