12 Stephen Covey Quotes From the Seven Habits Books

Stephen Covey


I first heard of Stephen Covey when I read the book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ in 2007. That was one of the books that changed my life forever. That was the first ever book after reading which I really sat down and started making changes in my own life rather than just reading and forgetting.

I am thankful to Stephen Covey for the wonderful impact he had on my life. I’m sure he had a great impact on the life of so, so many others too.

Stephen passed away on July 16, 2012. I am sending him peace and gratitude in this moment.

Here are 12 Stephen Covey quotes that remind us of some of the important things he talked about in his books – “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.”

Anytime we think the problem is “out there”, that thought is the problem.


Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation. It’s not what they are 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.


The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, ‘Wrong Jungle!’

But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? ‘Shut up! We’re making progress.’


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


Most people say their main fault is a lack of discipline. On deeper thought, I believe that is not the case. The basic problem is that their priorities have not become deeply planted in their hearts and minds.


Maturity is the balance between courage and consideration. If a person can express his feelings and convictions with courage balanced with consideration for the feelings and convictions of another person, he is mature…


But remember: if we search deeply enough within ourselves – beyond the scripting, beyond the learned attitudes and behaviors – the real validation of …every correct principle, is in our own lives.


If you really seek to understand, without hypocrisy and without guile, there will be times when you will be literally stunned with the pure knowledge and understanding that will flow to you from another human being.


Think about it: Why do people shout and yell at each other? They want to be understood. They’re basically yelling, “Understand me! Listen to me!”….People do not care about anything you have to say when they’re gasping for psychological air – to be understood, the first evidence of caring.


The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available through the hearts and minds of other human beings. That person values the differences because those differences add to his knowledge, his understanding of reality.


When you see only two alternatives – yours and the ‘wrong’ one – you can look for a synergistic third alternative. There’s almost always a third alternative…if you work with a Win/Win philosophy and really seek to understand…that will be better for everyone concerned.