Good Words for a New Week

Free your heart from hatred — forgive. Free your mind from worries — most never happen. Live simply and appreciate what you have. Give more. Expect less.                   – Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey entered life eternal on July 16, 2012. I’ve been so busy that I just read about it today, two weeks later. I still remember reading his best-selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People shortly after it was published in 1989. As a young marketing professional I devoured his words eagerly with desire to be more effective, to advance in my field, and to be successful (as I then defined success).

Today I revisited that book and discovered that even in my eagerness and desire to learn, I really hadn’t understood Covey at all. At age 51, I read his words through a different lens, one tempered by experience and seasoned with a more mature (hopefully) spirituality. Instead of the “must-have” guide to career success I read in my early thirties, I now understand Covey was writing more about how to live life well. He believed that the way one conducted one’s business reflected the way one approached a life of principle, character, and generosity.

In addition to the quote above, here are a few other favorite insights:

How you treat the one reveals how you regard the many, because everyone is ultimately a one.

There’s no better way to inform and expand your mind on a regular basis than to get into the habit of reading good literature.

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

Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.

Covey understood that vocational success is about much more than work and achievement; it is an outgrowth of how one chooses to approach life and serve others. I am grateful to Dr. Stephen Covey for his words, wisdom, and example, and I am thankful to return to his writing with fresh eyes and a deeper sense of purpose and meaning.

Photo by thephotographymuse used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

 

6 responses to “Good Words for a New Week

  1. He will be missed! Stephen Covey’s books impacted so many here & all over the world (my African colleagues were big fans of the 7 Habits too!)

    • What a wonderful example of how far our impact (for good — or ill) can spread! It seems the best of words, ideas, hopes, and actions transcend cultural barriers, time, and distance. Thanks, Virginia!

  2. Reniva R Riessinger

    Oh! If only the young could realize how very important character is, they would start building it early on in their lives.

    • Thankfully, many young people do realize how important character is. Many young people have hearts for service, justice, and peace, and while they may not express themselves in the ways and words of other generations, they nonetheless care deeply about creation and all who dwell on the earth. If we can encourage and uplift those who do, then maybe the ripple effect will surprise all of us.

  3. Reading your post motivates me to search my bookshelves for that old copy of his book and re-read it with the benefit or at least experience of many years of life and career under my belt since the first read. ~ Kat

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