Stephen Covey Quotes

Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.

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Live out of your imagination, not your history.

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A transition person is one who breaks the flow of bad - the negative traditions or harmful practices that get passed from generation to generation, or from situation to situation, whether in a family, a workplace, a community, or wherever. Transition persons transcend their own needs and tap into the deepest, most noble impulses of human nature. In times of darkness, they are lights, not judges; models, not critics. In periods of discord, they are change catalysts, not victims; healers, not carriers. Today's world needs more transition persons. Trust yourself to become one of the best, and watch your influence grow.

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

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

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

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While I believe in the power of positive thought, I do not believe that you or I can simply psyche ourselves into success or peace of mind.

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While values drive behaviors, principles govern consequences.

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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.

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To receive gratitude with grace is a form of gratitude by itself, and not always an easy art to master.

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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.

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

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We must not let the actions or words of others determine our responses. Magnanimous people make the choice to respond to the indignities of others based upon their own principles and their own value system rather than their moods or anger.

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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.

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It is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving ourselves.

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Be sure that, as you scramble up the ladder of success, it is leaning against the right building.

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Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation. It's not what they're not doing or should be doing that's the issue. The issue is your own chosen response to the situation and what you should be doing. If you start to think the problem is "out there," stop yourself. That thought is the problem.

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

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Keep in mind that you are always saying 'no' to something. If it isn't to the apparent, urgent things in your life, it is probably to the most fundamental, highly important things. Even when the urgent is good, the good can keep you from your best, keep you from your unique contribution, if you let it.

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Humility is the mother of all virtues: the humble in spirit progress and are blessed because they willingly submit to higher powers and try to live in harmony with natural laws and universal principles. Courage is the father of all virtues; we need great courage to lead our lives by correct principles and to have integrity in the moment of choice.

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If you want to achieve your highest aspirations and overcome your greatest challenges, identify and apply the principle or natural law that governs the results you seek. How we apply a principle will vary greatly and will be determined by our unique strengths, talents, and creativity, but, ultimately, success in any endeavor is always derived from acting in harmony with the principles to which the success is tied.

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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.

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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.

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Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are - or, as we are conditioned to see it.

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If we want to make relatively minor changes in our lives, we can perhaps appropriately focus on our attitudes and behaviors. But if we want to make significant, quantum change, we need to work on our basic paradigms.

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There are principles that govern human effectiveness - natural laws in the human dimension that are just as real, just as unchanging and unarguably "there" as laws such as gravity are in the physical dimension.

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The inside out approach says that private victories precede public victories, that making and keeping promises to ourselves precedes making and keeping promises to others. It says it is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving ourselves.

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

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

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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.

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Until we take how we see ourselves (and how we see others) into account, we will be unable to understand how others see and feel about themselves and their world. Unaware, we will project our intentions on their behavior and call ourselves objective.

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As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values.

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The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values - carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

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Anytime we think the problem is "out there," that thought is the problem. We empower what's out there to control us. The change paradigm is "outside-in" - what's out there has to change before we can change.

The proactive approach is to change from the inside-out: to be different, and by being different, to effect positive change in what's out there - I can be more resourceful, I can be more diligent, I can be more creative, I can be more cooperative.

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While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions. Consequences are governed by natural law.

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

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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.

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As we make and keep commitments, even small commitments, we begin to establish an inner integrity that gives us the awareness of self-control and the courage and strength to accept more of the responsibility for our own lives. By making and keeping promises to ourselves and others, little by little, our honor becomes greater than our moods.

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Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation. It's not what they're not doing or should be doing that's the issue. The issue is your own chosen response to the situation and what you should be doing. If you start to think the problem is "out there," stop yourself. That thought is the problem.

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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.

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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.

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All things are created twice, but not all first creations are by conscious design. In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances outside our Circle of Influence to shape much of our lives by default. We reactively live the scripts handed to us by family, associates, other people's agendas, the pressures of circumstance - scripts from our earlier years, from our training, our conditioning.

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Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we are in control of it or not, there is a first creation to every part of our lives. We are either the second creation of our own proactive design, or we are the second creation of other people's agendas, of circumstances, or of past habits.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Effective management is putting first things first. While leadership decides what "first things" are, it is management that puts them first, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Management is discipline, carrying it out.

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If you are an effective manager of your self, your discipline comes from within; it is a function of your independent will. You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source. And you have the will, the integrity, to subordinate your feelings, your impulses, your moods to those values.

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

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"Efficient" scheduling and control of time are often counterproductive. The efficiency focus creates expectations that clash with the opportunities to develop rich relationships, to meet human needs, and to enjoy spontaneous moments on a daily basis.

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

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

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You can't talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.

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If you don't know yourself, if you don't control yourself, if you don't have mastery over yourself, it's very hard to like yourself, except in some short-term, psych-up, superficial way.

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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.

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Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

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Communication is the most important skill in life. We spend most of our waking hours communicating. But consider this: You've spent years learning how to read and write, years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training or education have you had that enables you to listen so that you really, deeply understand another human being from that individual's own frame of reference?

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Whether or not we belong to a church or service organization or have a job that provides meaningful service opportunities, not a day goes by that we can't at least serve one other human being by making deposits of unconditional love.

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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.

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Just as the education of nerve and sinew is vital to the excellent athlete and education of the mind is vital to the scholar, education of the conscience is vital to the truly proactive, highly effective person. Training and educating the conscience, however, requires even greater concentration, more balanced discipline, more consistently honest living. It requires regular feasting on inspiring literature, thinking noble thoughts and, above all, living in harmony with its still small voice.

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Once we are self-aware, we must choose purposes and principles to live by; otherwise the vacuum will be filled, and we will lose our self-awareness and become like groveling animals who live primarily for survival and propagation. People who exist on that level aren't living; they are "being lived." They are reacting, unaware of the unique endowments that lie dormant and undeveloped within.

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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.

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Principles are natural laws that are external to us and that ultimately control the consequences of our actions. Values are internal and subjective and represent that which we feel strongest about in guiding our behavior.

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Everyone has values; even criminal gangs have values. Values govern people's behavior but principles govern the consequences of those behaviors.

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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.

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

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