20 Inspiring Quotes from “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey


Covey’s seven habits are comprised of core character traits that drive happiness and success. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People advocates a principles-based approach to personal and interpersonal success. It aims to change your inner core, character, and objectives rather than your external manifestations of behavior and attitudes.

The seven behaviors indicated in this book will help you go from reliance to independence, and then to interdependence. While society and the bulk of self-help books on the market emphasize independence as the ultimate goal, Covey believes that interconnection generates the best results. 

Notable quotes

  • “But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”
  • “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
  • “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.”
  • “Start with the end in mind. ”
  • “To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.”
  • “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it.”
  • “Two people can see the same thing, disagree, and yet both be right. It’s not logical; it’s psychological.”
  • “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”
  • “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
  • “It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.”
  • “If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself.”
  • “to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”
  • “It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another thing not to admit it. People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistakes of judgment. But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.”
  • “Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice.”
  • “Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).”
  • “Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.”
  • “At some time in your life, you probably had someone believe in you when you didn’t believe in yourself.”
  • “The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.”
  • “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it is the awareness that something else is important”
  • “Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential.”