Title Image - Quotes by Author Stephen CoveyPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Stephen Covey. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Stephen Covey

Stephen Richards Covey (October 24, 1932 – July 16, 2012) was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. His most popular book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His other books include First Things First, Principle-Centered Leadership, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, The 8th Habit, and The Leader In Me — How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time. In 1996, Time magazine named him one of the 25 most influential people. He was a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University at the time of his death.

What is common sense isn't common practice.

--Stephen Covey

Seek first to understand and then to be understood.

--Stephen Covey

The call and need of a new era is for Greatness. Tapping into the higher reaches of human genius and motivation requires leaders to have a new mind-set, skill-set, and tool-set.

--Stephen Covey

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage?pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say ?no? to other things.

--Stephen Covey

Make small commitments and keep them. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

--Stephen Covey

Interdependence is a higher value than independence.

--Stephen Covey

Effective interdependence can only be built on a foundation of true independence.

--Stephen Covey

Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make.

--Stephen Covey

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.

--Stephen Covey

But until a person can say deeply and honestly, œI am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,  that person cannot say, œI choose otherwise.

--Stephen Covey

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

--Stephen Covey

We accomplish all that we do through delegation -- either to time or to other people.

--Stephen Covey

To judge individuals before understanding them is a form of human rejection and feeds upon itself.

--Stephen Covey

Without exception, empathy is always appropriate.

--Stephen Covey

Through real-life stories, Kristin Kaufman illustrates the core idea of being present in the moment and opening oneself up to new ideas in order to become an authentic leader in life.

--Stephen Covey

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

--Stephen Covey

I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,.

--Stephen Covey

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of
thinking we were at when we created them. -- Albert Einstein.

--Stephen Covey

People simply feel better about themselves when they're good at something.

--Stephen Covey

Churchgoing is not synonymous with personal spirituality. There are some people who get so busy in church worship and projects that they become insensitive to the pressing human needs that sourround them, contradicting the very precepts they profess to believe deeply.

--Stephen Covey

It's not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.

--Stephen Covey

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

--Stephen Covey

Two people can see the same thing, disagree, and yet both be right. It's not logical; it's psychological.

--Stephen Covey

People can't live with change if there's not a changeless core inside them.

--Stephen Covey

Being is seeing in the human dimension.

--Stephen Covey

We are product of neither nature nor nurture; we are a product of choice, because there is always a space between stimulus and response. As we wisely exercise our power to choose based on principles, the space will become larger.
(p. 62).

--Stephen Covey

The PC principle is to always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.

--Stephen Covey

If you want to have a more pleasant,cooperative teenager, be a more understanding, emphatic, consistent, loving parent.

--Stephen Covey

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

The reflection of the current social paradigm tells us we are largely determined by conditioning and conditions.

--Stephen Covey

The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand.
We listen to reply.

--Stephen Covey

Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.

--Stephen Covey

Is it logical that two people can disagree and that both can be right? It's not logical: it's psychological. And it's very real.

--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

What lies behind us is nothing compared to what lies within us and ahead of us.

--Stephen Covey

It's incredibly easy to get caught up in the thick of thin things.

--Stephen Covey

Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.

--Stephen Covey

The core of any family is what is changeless, what is going to be there──shared vision and values.

--Stephen Covey

People who end up with the good jobs are the proactive ones who are solutions to problems, not problems themselves, who seize the initiative to do whatever is necessary, consistent with correct principles, to get the job done.

--Stephen Covey

Do what is important rather than what is urgent.

--Stephen Covey

Perhaps a sense of possessing needs to come to come before a sense of genuine sharing.

--Stephen Covey

Attending church does not necessarily mean living the principles taught in those meeting. You can be active in a church but inactive in its gospel.

--Stephen Covey

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

--Stephen Covey

When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.

--Stephen Covey

The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions.

--Stephen Covey

To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.

--Stephen Covey

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

What you do has far greater impact than what you say.

--Stephen Covey

Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).

--Stephen Covey

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.

--Stephen Covey

You have to water the flowers you want to grow.

--Stephen Covey

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.

--Stephen Covey

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.

--Stephen Covey

Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender, it's holy ground. There's no greater investment.

--Stephen Covey

Most leaders would agree that they'd be better off having an average strategy with superb execution than a superb strategy with poor execution. Those who execute always have the upper hand.

--Stephen Covey

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage -- pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically -- to say 'no' to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside.

--Stephen Covey

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

--Stephen Covey

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

--Stephen Covey

Time management is a misnomer, the challenge is to manage ourselves.

--Stephen Covey

Let's talk about vision and mission, roles, and goals. I want to make a meaningful contribution.

--Stephen Covey

Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.

--Stephen Covey

Deep disappointment and disillusionment repressed by the Lose Win mentality. Disproportionate rage or anger, overreaction to minor provocation, and cynicism are other embodiment's of suppressed emotion.

--Stephen Covey

As you live your values, your sense of identity, integrity, control, and inner-directedness will infuse you with both exhilaration and peace.

--Stephen Covey

The key to success is dedication to life-long learning.

--Stephen Covey

In relationships, the little things are the big things.

--Stephen Covey

Love is a verb. Love -- the feeling -- is a fruit of love, the verb.

--Stephen Covey

Longer Version:

Love is a verb. Love is something you do: the sacrifices you make, the giving of self. If you want to study love, study those who sacrifice for others. Love -- the feeling -- is a fruit of love the verb.


Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition -- such as lifting weights -- we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.

--Stephen Covey

Self awareness is our capacity to stand apart from ourselves and examine our thinking, our motives, our history, our scripts, our actions, and our habits and tendencies.

--Stephen Covey

I believe in this concept that you learn by teaching.

--Stephen Covey

Every time I see high-trust cultures, I see a lessening of adversarialism.

--Stephen Covey

What air is to the body, to feel understood is to the heart.

--Stephen Covey

The key to growth is to learn to make promises and to keep them.

--Stephen Covey

It is unpleasant and disturbing to be rejected. It is deeply satisfying to be accepted.

--Stephen Covey

Don't cheat people of their growth. Empower them to solve problems and generate ideas. Watch them grow!

--Stephen Covey

Be governed by your internal compass, not by some clock on the wall.

--Stephen Covey

We value the clock for its speed and efficiency. The clock has its place, efficiency has its place, after effectiveness. The symbol of effectiveness is the compass a sense of direction, purpose, vision, perspective, and balance. But the empowerment process itself is not efficient.

--Stephen Covey

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.

--Stephen Covey

You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.

--Stephen Covey

Patience is emotional diligence.

--Stephen Covey

Compliance does not foster innovation, trust does. You can't sustain long-term innovation, for example, in a climate of distrust.

--Stephen Covey

It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it and appropriately act on it.

--Stephen Covey

Where there's no gardener, there's no garden.

--Stephen Covey

Trust is the glue that holds everything together.

--Stephen Covey

Longer Version:

Trust is the glue that holds everything together. It creates the environment in which all of the other elements win-win stewardship agreements, self-directing individuals and teams, aligned structures and systems, and accountability can flourish.


It is extremely ironic that the more we care about what people think about us the less we care about people, and the less we care about what people think about us the more we begin to care for others.

--Stephen Covey

Both times I was in India, I could not get people to listen to each other. I had to literally tell people to listen to each other and tell them that they can't get creative and find alternate solutions if they don't listen to each other. There's a lot of arguing and justifying.

--Stephen Covey

We do make a difference -- one way or the other. We are responsible for the impact of our lives. Whatever we do with whatever we have, we leave behind us a legacy for those who follow.

--Stephen Covey

The key to motivation is motive.

--Stephen Covey

Above all, success in business requires two things: a winning competitive strategy, and superb organizational execution. Distrust is the enemy of both. I submit that while high trust won't necessarily rescue a poor strategy, low trust will almost always derail a good one.

--Stephen Covey

Live the law of love. We encourage obedience to the laws of life when we live the laws of love.

--Stephen Covey

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

--Stephen Covey

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it. This literally turns a failure into a success.

--Stephen Covey

Highly proactive people don't blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice.

--Stephen Covey

Proactive people carry their own weather with them.

--Stephen Covey

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

Everyone must be proactive and do all they can to help themselves to stay employed.

--Stephen Covey

Through it all I have learned that parenting is basically a life of self sacrifice.

--Stephen Covey

Creating a warm, caring, supportive, encouraging environment is probably the most important thing you can do for your family.

--Stephen Covey

In the long run, you can never accomplish a worthy end with an unworthy means.

--Stephen Covey

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