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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stephen R. Covey

October 24, 1932 - July 16, 2012  

Stephen Richards Covey, a former business professor and co-founder of FranklinCovey (a multimillion-dollar business and leadership consulting firm) was best known for his 1989 leadership manifesto The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which sold more than 20 million copies on the way to becoming one of the most highly effective volumes in the history of self-help publishing. His other books included First Things First, Principle-Centered Leadership, Everyday Greatness and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.

Dr. Covey articulated a philosophy that transcended business and spoke to the centuries-old American values of self-improvement and self-reliance. Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn said that Covey challenged readers and listeners to think about their “character and integrity and a sense of one’s place not only relative to . . . one’s professional standing but one’s place in the cosmos.”
Here are some of his words of wisdom to remember him by:

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”


“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise’.”


“The way we see the problem is the problem.”


“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”


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


“I teach people how to treat me by what I will allow.”


“To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.”


“Start with the end in mind.”


“We are free to choose our actions, . . . but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions.”


“Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”


“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”


“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”


“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”


“Don't argue for other people's weaknesses. Don't argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it / immediately.”


“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.”


“Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential.”


“The only person I know, is the person I want to be.”


“Treat them all the same by treating them differently.”


“Wisdom is the child of integrity—being integrated around principles. And integrity is the child of humility and courage. In fact, you could say that humility is the mother of all virtues because humility acknowledges that there are natural laws or principles that govern the universe. They are in charge. Pride teaches us that we are in charge. Humility teaches us to understand and live by principles, because they ultimately govern the consequences of our actions. If humility is the mother, courage is the father of wisdom. Because to truly live by these principles when they are contrary to social mores, norms and values takes enormous courage.” 


“...to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”


“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

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