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Stephen Covey Quotes

Stephen Covey Sayings

Stephen Covey quotes: these are my favorite quotes from the late author of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen R. Covey.

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

“Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you.”

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

“Live out of your imagination, not your history.”

“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it.  That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.”

“Be a light, not a judge.  Be a model, not a critic.”

“Many people seem to think success in one area can compensate for failure in other areas.  But can it really?  True effectiveness requires balance.”

“A life of pretense is a torturous task.”

“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.”

“You can’t talk your way out of a problem you behaved yourself into.”

“Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”

“Life is not accumulation; it’s about contribution.”

“If we do not teach our children, society will.  And they, and we, will live with the results.”

“Many people believe that the only things we need for success are talent, energy, and personality.  But history has taught us that, over the long haul, who we are is more important than who we appear to be.”

“There are three constants in life: change, choice, principles.”

“It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another thing not to admit it.  People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistakes of judgment.  But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.”

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

“Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.”

“Management works in the system; leadership works on the system.”

“If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude.  If you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.”

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

“In relationships, the little things are the big things.”

“Effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity-minded.  They feed opportunities and starve problems.”

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

“You can retire from a job, but don’t ever retire from making extremely meaningful contributions in life.”

“You cannot hold people responsible for results if you supervise their methods.”

“Stop setting goals.  Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them.”

“In becoming all things to all people, one eventually becomes nothing to everybody – particularly to oneself.”

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

“Your economic security does not lie in your job; it lies in your own power to produce – to think, to learn, to create, to adapt.  That’s true financial independence.  It’s not having wealth; it’s having the power to produce wealth.”

“Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning; it is affirming.”

“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.”

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

“The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.”

“Each of us guards a gate of change that can be opened only from the inside.”

“We live in a shortcut world.  Can you imagine a farmer ‘cramming’ in the fall to bring forth the harvest, as students have done, and still do, to pass examinations?  Can you imagine a mile runner ‘pretending’ to have speed and endurance, or a concert pianist ‘putting on the appearance’ of skill and proficiency?”

“How you treat the one reveals how you regard the many, because everyone is ultimately a one.”

“Loyalty must not be a higher value than integrity; in fact, real integrity is loyalty.  You want your doctor to tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it.”

“Synergy is better than my way or your way.  It’s our way.”

“Every human being has four endowments: self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination.  These give us the ultimate human freedom – the power to choose, to respond, to change.”

“It is possible to be busy, very busy, without being very effective.”

“Moral authority comes from following universal and timeless principles like honesty, integrity, treating people with respect.”

“How many people on their deathbeds wish they’d spent more time at the office?”

“Leadership is a choice that lies in the space between stimulus and response.”

“We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind.”

“If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

“The deepest desire of the human spirit is to be acknowledged.”

“If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results.  You have to water the flowers you want to grow.”

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

“Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.”

“If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself.”

“Is it logical that two people can disagree and that both can be right?  It’s not logical, it’s psychological.  And it’s very real.”

“Most entrepreneurs have a tendency toward independence.  They like to do things on their own.  But if you go to the entrepreneur of the year meetings every year, you’ll see that those who win consistently win as a team.”

Most people who read these Stephen R. Covey quotes checked out Brian Tracy quotes next.  Hint, hint.

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.