Saturday, July 21, 2012

20 Favorite Quotes from Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012)

Stephen R. Covey
The man is gone, but we still have his wisdom.

Back in 1989, I guess I was one of the first of the millions of people who bought and read Stephen Covey's classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. As I began reading, my first thought was: Only seven?

But I discovered that he was really writing about the full range of personal strengths. He wrote to help people grow stronger as human beings. And he did it so well that even managers and employers purchased the book for their employees, and the book became an all-time best-seller. Probably it will never, ever be out of print.

The most thorough student of personal development who ever lived, what he wrote always rang true, because it was true. And he shared his wisdom in a way that made it stick in the mind, so today as I browse through my collection of favorite Stephen Covey quotes, I see that I have over 40. Here are my top favorites. 

Covey on self-development...

“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.

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

"We are limited but we can push back the borders of our limitations."

If you've read any of his books, you know that what he was trying to do was to help people get their act together - so they'd be able to work on the important things first and get them done. But in doing that, he had a lot to say about character, values and the principled life, because you have to be strong as a person to do the hard things involved in achievement.

Covey on character...  

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

“Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”

Covey on accountability...

"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."

"Accountability breeds response-ability."

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

“You can't talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into!”

“My behavior is a product of my own conscious choices based on principles, rather than a product of my conditions, based on feelings.

More favorites...

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

CREATIVITY - "Live out of your imagination, not your history."

DECISIVENESS - "We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice."

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

OPEN-MINDEDNESS - "Seek first to understand and then to be understood."

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

PROACTIVITY - “Start with the end in mind.”

SELF-DISCIPLINE - "It's easy to say 'no!' when there's a deeper 'yes!' burning inside."

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

VISION - “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Do they ring true? Pass them along to the people you care about...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2012. Building Personal Strength .


Unknown said...

I love his creativity one the best. I really enjoyed his books especially the 7 Habits....He will be missed.

thanhtungk4c said...

Thank you, sir.

Stacey Mayo said...

I didn't know her passed. Thanks for sharing this. I was trained in Utah many years ago as a facilitator of 7 Habits.
He was a great man and I learned a lot from him.

Unknown said...

Thanking for sharing the quotes..i like these quotes.Learn more STEPHEN COVEY quotes

Beth said...

Excellent refreshers on this Monday morning, Denny. Covey really moved the ball down the field for a lot of folks.