# Stephen Covey

American educator, author, businessman and motivational speaker
(Redirected from First Things First)
Courage is not the absence of fear but the awareness that something else is more important.

Stephen R. Covey (October 24, 1932July 16, 2012) was an American author of the bestselling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, as well as other books.

## Quotes

We don't invent our missions, we detect them.

The power to distinguish between person and performance and to communicate intrinsic worth flows naturally out of our own sense of intrinsic worth.

Live the law of love.

This is a principle-centered approach. It transcends the traditional prescriptions of faster, harder, smarter, and more. Rather than offering you another clock, this approach provides you with a compass — because more important than how fast you're going, is where you're headed.

Integrity in the Moment of Choice
Quality of life depends on what happens in the space between stimulus and response.

A moment of choice is a moment of truth. It's the testing point of our character and competence.

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.
• As quoted in Wake-up Calls : You Don't Have to Sleepwalk through your Life, Love, or Career! (1992) by Eric Allenbaugh, p. 65
• We don't invent our missions, we detect them.
• As quoted in What Matters Most : The Power of Living Your Values (2001) by Hyrum W. Smith , p. 111
• Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.
• As quoted in Teaching Sport and Physical Activity : Insights on the Road to Excellence (2003) Paul G. Schempp, p. 79
• Courage is not the absence of fear but the awareness that something else is more important.
• Foreword to Prisoners of our Thoughts : Viktor Frankl's Principles at Work (2004), by Alex Pattakos, p. x
• This statement has also been attributed to James Neil Hollingsworth (AKA: Ambrose Redmoon) in an article entitled "No Peaceful Warriors!" for Gnosis Magazine #21, in 1991.

### The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People (1989)

The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People : Restoring the Character Ethic (1989)
• Remember, to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.
• p. 12
• ...when you get a good night's sleep and wake up ready to produce throughout the day.
• p. 59
• Self growth is tender; it's holy ground. There's no higher investment.
• p. 62
• Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
• p. 101
• The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
• p. 161
• Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
• p. 239

• In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.
• Ch. 4 : Primary Greatness, p. 58
• The power to distinguish between person and performance and to communicate intrinsic worth flows naturally out of our own sense of intrinsic worth.
• Ch. 11 : Thirty Methods of Influence
• Perform anonymous service. Whenever we do good for others anonymously, our sense of intrinsic worth and self-respect increases. … Selfless service has always been one of the most powerful methods of influence.
• Ch. 11
• Unless we exercise our power to choose wisely, our actions will be determined by conditions. Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.
• Ch. 11
• Live the law of love. We encourage obedience to the laws of life when we live the laws of love.
• Ch. 11
• Give no answer to contentious arguments or irresponsible accusations. Let such things "fly out open windows" until they spend themselves.
• Ch. 11
• Prepare your mind and heart before you prepare your speech. What we say may be less important than how we say it.
• Ch. 11
• Let natural consequences teach responsible behavior. One of the kindest things we can do is to let the natural or logical consequences of people's actions teach them responsible behavior. They may not like it or us, but popularity is a fickle standard by which to measure character development. Insisting on justice demands more true love, not less. We care enough for their growth and security to suffer their displeasure.
• Ch. 11

### First Things First (1994)

First Things First : To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy (1994)
• We present a dramatically different approach to time management. This is a principle-centered approach. It transcends the traditional prescriptions of faster, harder, smarter, and more. Rather than offering you another clock, this approach provides you with a compass — because more important than how fast you're going, is where you're headed.
• p. 12
• It's not enough to have values without vision; you want to be good, but you want to be good for something. On the other hand, vision without values can create a Hitler. An empowering mission statement deals with both character and competence; what you want to be and what you want to do in your life.
• p. 113
• Integrity in the Moment of Choice
Quality of life depends on what happens in the space between stimulus and response.
• p. 167
• THE MOMENT OF CHOICE
A moment of choice is a moment of truth. It's the testing point of our character and competence.
• p. 169
• 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.
• p. 243

#### Disputed

These quotes were added into an article for First Things First and then transferred here, but many originally among them have already been found to have been paraphrases, rather than exact quotations.
• Make your life work instead of making life full of work.
• Instead of looking at fragments, try to see the whole picture.
• Our life is result of our choices.
• Until you live, learn how to live.
• No gardener, no garden!
• Often we are so busy with sawing that we forget to sharpen the saw..
• Wisdom is synergy of mind and heart.
• Our choices make the legacy to our children.
• ${\displaystyle \textstyle {\frac {3}{4}}}$  of world problems and bewilderment would be lost if we understood our opponents.
• There will be real happiness, peace of mind and balance, when living by heart and right-mindedly.
• Change happens at the speed of trust. (cf. The SPEED of Trust, 2008)

### The 8th Habit : From Effectiveness to Greatness‎ (2004)

Principles are universal — that is, they transcend culture and geography. They're also timeless, they never change...

Spiritual Intelligence represents our drive for meaning and connection with the infinite.
• Principles are universal — that is, they transcend culture and geography. They're also timeless, they never change — principles such as fairness, kindness, respect, honesty, integrity, service, contribution. Different cultures may translate these principles into different practices and over time may even totally obscure these principles through the wrongful use of freedom. Nevertheless, they are present. Like the law of gravity, they operate constantly.
• p. 47
• Values are social norms — they're personal, emotional, subjective, and arguable. All of us have values. Even criminals have values. The question you must ask yourself is, Are your values based upon principles? In the last analysis, principles are natural laws — they're impersonal, factual, objective and self-evident. Consequences are governed by principles and behavior is governed by values; therefore, value principles!
• p. 49
• 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
• Because of the space between stimulus and response, people have the power of choice; therefore, leaders are neither born nor made — meaning environmentally trained and nurtured. They are self-made through chosen responses, and if they choose based on principles and develop increasingly greater discipline, their freedom to choose increases.
• p. 62
• Our capacity for production and enjoyment is a function, in the last analysis, of our character, our integrity.
• The 8th Habit : From Effectiveness to Greatness‎ (2004), p. 63
• Retire from your job but never from meaningful projects. If you want to live a long life, you need eustress, that is, a deep sense of meaning and contribution to worthy projects and causes, particularly your intergenerational family.
• The 8th Habit : From Effectiveness to Greatness‎ (2004), p. 63

## Misattributed

• We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
• Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, in The Phenomenon of Man [Le Phénomène Humain] (1955); Covey quotes this in Living the 7 Habits : Stories of Courage and Inspiration (2000), p. 47
• Variant: We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
• A paraphrase of De Chardin's statement which has also become misattributed to Covey.
• Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
• Peter Drucker, and Warren Bennis, as quoted by Covey, in The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People (1989), this has sometimes become misattributed to him.
• Best's enemy is Good.
• Russian proverb