Stand Out Quotes from Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”

Stephen Richards Covey was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. 

He was known for his words on success, with his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People became one of the most well-known business pieces of the twentieth century.

His words are powerful and effective. And even if you can’t find the time to read the book in its entirety, there are still a ton of lessons to be learned from Covey’s words. 

That’s why we’ve summarized each of the 7 habits with some of our favorite quotes from Covey himself.

If you find this information extra interesting, you may wish to purchase the book and take some time to conquer the whole thing. 

Stephen Covey Quotes On His 7 Habits 

Habit 1: Be Proactive

When Covey says to be proactive, he means to take responsibility for your life. 

Stop blaming everything on external circumstances and recognize your own ability to be “response-able.” 

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

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

Habit 2: Begin With the End In Mind 

Beginning with the end in mind means that we need to understand our destination clearer before we start our journey to get there. 

“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.”

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

Habit 3: Put First Things First 

Spend your time on things that are important and eliminate that which does not serve you. 

Set priorities and make a plan. 

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”

Habit 4: Think Win-Win 

All of your interactions should be more than just a quick one-and-done. Always seek out ways for relationships to be mutually beneficial. 

“When one side benefits more than the other, that’s a win-lose situation. To the winner it might look like success for a while, but in the long run, it breeds resentment and distrust.”

“If I focus on my own win and don’t even consider your point of view, there’s no basis for any kind of productive relationship.” 

Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood 

Listen to others and seek out viewpoints that are different from your own. This is the best way to grow. 

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.”

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Habit 6: Synergize 

Synergy is the concept that two ideas are always better than one. Find ways to collaborate with others, especially those who think differently than you. 

“Synergy: The combined effect of individuals in collaboration that exceeds the sum of their individual effects.”

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

“When mutual understanding and respect are present, the spirit of synergy inevitable starts to develop.”

Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

To sharpen the saw is to always seek improvement. Recognize the skills and assets you do have, and enhance them with practice. 

“Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you”

“We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.”

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