Stephen Covey Quotes

I just love Stephen Covey quotes. There is so much insight and wisdom especially in living a principle centered life.

Stephen was most famous for his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".

Below is a summary of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Stephen Covey Quotes Index

Adversity/Mistakes
Affirmations
Beautiful
Change
Character
Courage
Effectiveness
Endowments
Family
Forgiveness
Good Advice
Insightful
Love
Management/Leadership
Motivation

People Skills
Pleasure Centered Person
Power of Choice
Principled Life
Priorities
Proactive
Profound
Scarcity Mentality
Self-Discipline
Selling
Spirituality
Success
Victim Mentality
Work/Life Balance

Adversity/Mistakes

Not to acknowledge a mistake, not to correct it and learn from it, is a mistake of a different order. It usually puts a person on a self-deceiving, self-justifying path, often involving rationalization (rational lies) to self and to others. This second mistake, this cover-up, empowers the first, giving it disproportionate importance, and causes far deeper injury to self.
~ Stephen Covey

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.
~ Stephen Covey

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.
~ Stephen Covey

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Affirmations

A good affirmation has five basic ingredients: it's personal, it's positive, it's present tense, it's visual, and it's emotional.
~ Stephen Covey

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Beautiful

To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.
~ Stephen Covey

Live, love, laugh, leave a legacy.
~ Stephen Covey

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Change

To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

People can't live with change if there's not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.
~ Stephen Covey

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Character

Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.
~ Stephen Covey

Public behavior is merely private character writ large.
~ Stephen Covey

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Courage

Courage isn't absence of fear, it is the awareness that something else is important
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Effectiveness

True effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset (the goose).
~ Stephen Covey

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Endowments

Every human 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.
~ Stephen Covey

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Family

The core of any family is what is changeless, what is going to be there──shared vision and values.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I think the most significant work we'll do in our whole life, in our whole world is done within the four walls of our home.
~ Stephen Covey

If you organize your family life to spend even ten or fifteen minutes a morning reading something that connects you with these timeless principles, its almost guaranteed that you will make better choices during the day--in the family, on the job, in every dimension of life. Your thoughts will be higher. Your interactions will be more satisfying. You will have a greater perspective. You will increase that space between what happens to you and your response to it. You will be more connected to what really matters most.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

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Forgiveness

Stephen Covey was asked after a speech about how to forgive someone who has committed adultery. He said the question made him think of the old prayer, "Oh Lord, let me forgive those who sin differently than I do."
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Good Advice

Live out of your imagination, not your history.
~ Stephen Covey

Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic.
~ Stephen Covey

Start with the end in mind.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.
~ Stephen Covey

We can't live without eating, but we don't live to eat.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

There's no better way to inform and expand you mind on a regular basis than to get into the habit of reading good literature.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Insightful

Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
~ Stephen Covey

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.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

We're responsible for our own lives.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.
~ Stephen Covey

There are three constants in life... change, choice and principles.
~ Stephen Covey

Those who get the most out of life and those who give the most are those who make the choice to act.
~ Stephen Covey

While values drive behaviors, principles govern consequences.
~ Stephen Covey

You can't talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into!
~ Stephen Covey

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

It's not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.
~ Stephen Covey

To know and not to do is really not to know.
~ Stephen Covey

Through imagination, we can visualize the uncredited worlds of potential that lie within us.
~ Stephen Covey

As long as you think the problem is out there, that very thought is the problem.
~ Stephen Covey

People simply feel better about themselves when they’re good at something.
~ Stephen Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions.
~ Stephen Covey

How you treat the one reveals how you regard the many, because everyone is ultimately a one.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

When air is charged with emotions, an attempt to teach is often perceived as a form of judgment and rejection.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Happiness - in part at least - the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want for what we want eventually.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Frustration is a function of our expectations, and our expectations are often a reflection of the social mirror rather than our own values & priorities.
~ Stephen Covey

Lose/Win people bury a lot of feelings. And unexpressed feelings come forth later in uglier ways. Psychosomatic illnesses often are the reincarnation of cumulative resentment, deep disappointment and disillusionment repressed by the Lose/Win mentality. Disproportionate rage or anger, overreaction to minor provocation, and cynicism are other embodiments of suppressed emotion. People who are constantly repressing, not transcending feelings toward a higher meaning find that it affects the quality of their relationships with others.
~ Stephen Covey

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Love

Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Management/Leadership

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.
~ Stephen Covey

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

Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.
~ Stephen Covey

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Motivation

Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.
~ Stephen Covey

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 Covey

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

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Parenting


If we do not teach our children, society will. And they-and we-will live with the results.
~ Stephen Covey, 7 habits Family Collection

If you want to have a more pleasant, cooperative teenager, be a more understanding, emphatic, consistent, loving parent.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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People Skills

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
~ Stephen Covey

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.
~ Stephen Covey

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

When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

As you care less about what people think of you, you will care more about what others think of themselves.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

All the well-meaning advice in the world won't amount to a hill of beans if we're not even addressing the real problem.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Involve people in the problem and work out the solution together.
~ Stephen Covey

It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize quickly out of one's heart rather than out of pity. A person must possess himself and have a deep sense of security in fundamental principles and values in order to genuinely apologize.
~ Stephen Covey

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Pleasure Centered Person

Innocent pleasures in moderation can provide relaxation for the body and mind and can foster family and other relationships. But pleasure, per se, offers no deep, lasting satisfaction or sense of fulfillment. The pleasure-centered person, too soon bored with each succeeding level of "fun," constantly cries for more and more. So the next new pleasure has to be bigger and better, more exciting, with a bigger "high." A person in this state becomes almost entirely narcissistic, interpreting all of life in terms of the pleasure it provides to the self here and now.
~ Stephen Covey

Too many vacations that last too long, too many movies, too much TV, too much video game playing - too much undisciplined leisure time in which a person continually takes the course of least resistance gradually wastes a life. It ensures that a person's capacities stay dormant, that talents remain undeveloped, that the mind and spirit become lethargic and that the heart remains unfulfilled.
~ Stephen Covey

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Power of Choice

We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice.
~ Stephen Covey

The first choice we make each and every day is, "Will we act upon life, or will we merely be acted upon?"
~ Stephen Covey

While we cannot always choose what happens to us, we can choose our responses.
~ Stephen Covey

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."
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
~ Stephen Covey

Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.
~ Stephen Covey

Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

In the space between stimulus (what happens) and how we respond, lies our freedom to choose. Ultimately, this power to choose is what defines us as human beings. We may have limited choices but we can always choose. We can choose our thoughts, emotions, moods, our words, our actions; we can choose our values and live by principles. It is the choice of acting or being acted upon.
~ Stephen Covey

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Principled Life

Begin each day with the blueprint of my deepest values FIRMLY in mind then when challenges come, make decisions BASED on those values.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Our behavior is governed by principles. Living in harmony with them brings positive consequences; violating them brings negative consequences.
~ Stephen Covey

As you live your values, your sense of identity, integrity, control, and inner-directedness will infuse you with both exhilaration and peace. You will define yourself from within, rather than by people's opinions or by comparisons to others. "Wrong" and "right" will have little to do with being found out.
~ Stephen Covey

As a principle-centered person you try to stand apart from the emotion of the situation and from other factors that would act on you, and evaluate the options. Looking at the balanced whole--the work needs, the family needs, the other needs that may be involved, and the possible implications of the various alternatives -- you'll try to come up with the best solution taking all factors into consideration. We are limited but we can push back the borders of our limitations.
~ Stephen Covey

Principles always have natural consequences attached to them. There are positive consequences when we live in harmony with the principles. There are negative consequences when we ignore them. But because these principles apply to everyone, whether or not they are aware, this limitation is universal. And the more we know of correct principles, the greater is our personal freedom to act wisely.
~ Stephen Covey

You can't live principles you can't understand.
~ Stephen Covey

Honesty is telling the truth - in other words, conforming our words to reality. Integrity is conforming reality to our words - in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.
~ Stephen Covey

I believe that a life of integrity is the most fundamental source of personal worth. I do not agree with the popular success literature that says that self-esteem is primarily a matter of mind set, of attitude - that you can psych yourself into peace of mind.
~ Stephen Covey

Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.
~ Stephen Covey

Humility is the mother of all virtues. Humility says we are not in control, principles are in control, therefore we submit ourselves to principles. Pride says that we are in control, and since our values govern our behavior, we can simply do life our way.
~ Stephen Covey

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Priorities

The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
~ Stephen Covey

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, 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.”
~ Stephen Covey

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.
~ Stephen Covey

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
~ Stephen Covey

How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.
~ Stephen Covey

The essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities.
~ Stephen Covey

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Proactive

If you're proactive, you don't have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. You can consciously create your own.
~ Stephen Covey

The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Profound

Words are like eggs dropped from great heights. You could no more call them back then ignore the mess they left when they fell.
~ Stephen Covey

I teach people how to treat me by what I will allow.
~ Stephen Covey

...people are working harder than ever, but because they lack clarity and vision, they aren’t getting very far. They, in essence, are pushing a rope...with all of their might.
~ Stephen Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Empathy takes time, and efficiency is for things, not people.
~ Stephen Covey

It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy - very busy - without being very effective.
~ Stephen Covey

We are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions.
~ Stephen Covey

The way we see the problem is the problem.
~ Stephen Covey

Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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 Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

We hear a lot about identity theft when someone takes your wallet and pretends to be you and uses your credit cards. But the more serious identity theft is to get swallowed up in other people's definition of you.
~ Stephen Covey, The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life's Most Difficult Problems

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Scarcity Mentality

People with a scarcity mentality think there is only so much in the world to go around. It's as if they see life as a pie. When another person gets a big piece, then they get less. Such people are always trying to get even, to pull others down to their level so they can get an equal or even bigger piece of the pie.
~ Stephen Covey

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Self-Discipline

If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control - myself.
~ Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Time management" is really a misnomer - the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.
~ Stephen Covey

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Selling

The amateur salesman sells products; the professional sells solutions to needs and problems.
~ Stephen Covey

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Spirituality





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We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
~ Stephen Covey

I believe that there are parts to human nature that cannot be reached by either legislation or education, but require the power of God to deal with.
~ Stephen Covey

I believe that correct principles are natural laws, and that God, the Creator and Father of us all, is the source of them, and also the source of our conscience. I believe that to the degree people live by this inspired conscience, they will grow to fulfill their natures; to the degree that they do not, they will not rise above the animal plane.
~ Stephen Covey

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Success

The character ethic, which I believe to be the foundation of success, teaches that there are basic principles of effective living, and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character.
~ Stephen Covey

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.
~ Stephen Covey

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Victim Mentality

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.
~ Stephen Covey

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Work/Life Balance

How many people on their deathbed wish they'd spent more time at the office?
~ Stephen Covey

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