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Notes from Stephen Covey

Some notes that I have taken from another one of my favorite personal development authors–Stephen Covey

1) Synergy can be an exhilarating process of creativity in which ideas flow almost of their own accord, and we feel more alert and aware than normal.

2) Our attitude toward differences determines the value that we will gain from them.

3) Trust is absolutely indispensable to all win-win relationships. With trust, we might make some unpopular win-lose decisions because of time pressures or other contingencies without losing faith with people. Without trust, even the smallest win-lose decision can throw things all out of proportion, greatly limiting our ability to work effectively with others.

4) Effective people don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg; they take care of it. The meaning here is that we are the goose producing our own golden eggs. Taking time to sharpen the saw is the way we take care of ourselves and protect our ability to keep those golden eggs coming.

5) Mission statements serve organizations, just as they serve individuals, a giving direction and clarifying choices. Organizations, as well as individuals, can have integrity by defining their values and principles and in making choices that are in line with them.

6) It’s not easy reach win-win agreements. Sometimes it gets frustrating, and we are tempted to give up and break off the negotiation. The only way to reach win-win is to say, “Let’s agree to keep talking and to refine an option that we both feel good about.”

7) Out of character flows trust, and trust is the foundation of healthy human relationships. Without trust, there’ll be no basis for win-win activities and agreements, no medium for the expressions of an abundance mentality. Relationships then deteriorate.

8) When you have no deal is an option in your mind, you feel liberated because you have no need to manipulate people, to push your own agenda, to drive for what you want. You can be open. You can really try to understand the deeper issues underlying the positions.

9) Language may seem a trivial matter, does not. Language can reveal where we are from moment to moment and by changing our language, we can move somewhere else. When we consciously choose to speak collectively, we remind ourselves that we’re free, responsible, Value-driven people.

10) Interpersonal leadership is built on trust. Trust, which builds strong relationships, flows from trustworthy people.

11) To be truly effective in any area, a person must have a balance of high character and high competence. As people balance these two elements, they build their personal trustworthiness and their trust with others.

12) Habit six, synergize, means seeing and appreciating that differences in a relationship can be a source of information and creativity. Using other points of view can multiply the effectiveness of an interaction; creating synergy is an experience in true interdependency.

13) In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say.

14) Our mind pays less attention to things as they get used to them. Change helps bring it back to alertness.

15) People sometimes confuse kindness with weakness, apologies was giving in, deposits with permissiveness. This comes from looking at form alone. If we intend to manipulate someone, it doesn’t matter what our actions look like, they won’t work.

16) Achieving goals is never as simple, straightforward process. We try things, discover that they don’t work, and try something else. Our actions, in other words, will vary continually.

17) Among the various human assets, relationships are particularly important. Weak relationships cause poor communication, tension, disagreements, jealousy, backbiting, and criticism. These are negative elements that are costly, both to the organization and to us as individuals. They drain time, energy, and resources that we might otherwise turn into corporate profit and personal fulfillment.

18) We learn more completely when we teach someone else. Our attention can’t wonder. We can get by with partial understanding. Knowing that we are to teach someone else makes us more alert when we are taught.

19) In a sense, even daily planning can be a spiritual activity if we recognize that we express our values through the daily activities that we choose.

20) Personal leadership grows out of trustworthiness. To lead others effectively, individuals must first be able to lead themselves effectively. As individuals demonstrate trustworthiness (a balance of high competence of strong character), other people will begin to trust them as leaders.

21) Visualizing something organizes one’s ability to accomplish it.

22) In the end, the only thing really have control over is ourselves.

23) We’re not in control, principles control. We control our actions, but the consequences that flow from those actions are controlled by principles.

24) It’s actually a frightening thought that what we are and do and have is up to us, and that we cannot blame other people or our circumstances for our problems. So it is tempting to believe, when things are not as we would like to, that we do not have the power to change them. The problem with that approach to life is that thinking that we are powerless causes some profound and destructive effects.

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