Stewardship delegation is focused on results instead of
methods. It gives people a choice of method and makes
them responsible for results. It takes more time in the
beginning, but it's time well invested. You can move the fulcrum
over, you can increase your leverage, through stewardship
Stewardship delegation involves clear, up-front mutual
understanding and commitment regarding expectations in five
DESIRED RESULTS. Create a clear, mutual
understanding of what needs to be accomplished, focusing on
what, not how; results, not
methods. Spend time. Be patient. Visualize the desired
result. Have the person see it, describe it, make out a quality
statement of what the results will look like, and by when they
will be accomplished.
GUIDELINES. Identify the parameters within
which the individual should operate. These should be as few as
possible to avoid methods delegation, but should include any
formidable restrictions. You won't want a person to think he had
considerable latitude as long as he accomplished the objectives,
only to violate some long-standing traditional practice or value.
That kills initiative and sends people back to the gofer's creed:
"Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it."
If you know the failure paths of the job, identify them. Be
honest and open -- tell a person where the quicksand is and where
the wild animals are. You don't want to have to reinvent the
wheel every day. Let people learn from your mistakes or the
mistakes of others. Point out the potential failure paths, what
not to do, but don't tell them what to do. Keep the
responsibility for results with them -- to do whatever is
necessary within the guidelines.
RESOURCES. Identify the human, financial,
technical, or organizational resources the person can draw on to
accomplish the desired results.
ACCOUNTABILITY. Set up the standards of
performance that will be used in evaluating the results and the
specific times when reporting and evaluation will take place.
CONSEQUENCES. Specify what will happen, both
good and bad, as a result of the evaluation. This could include
such things as financial rewards, psychic rewards, different job
assignments, and natural consequences tied into the overall
mission of an organization.
Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It
brings out the very best in people. But it takes time
and patience, and it doesn't preclude the necessity to train and
develop people so that their competency can rise to the level of
I am convinced that if stewardship delegation is done
correctly, both parties will benefit and ultimately much more
work will get done in much less time. I believe that a family
that is well organized, whose time has been spent effectively
delegating on a one-to-one basis, can organize the work so that
everyone can do everything in about an hour a day. But that takes
the internal capacity to want to manage, not just produce. The
focus is on effectiveness, not efficiency.
PARADIGMS OF INTERDEPENDENCE
We're dealing with a very dramatic and very fundamental
Paradigm Shift here. You may try to lubricate your social
interactions with personality techniques and skills, but in the
process, you may truncate the vital character base. You can't
have the fruits without the roots. It's the principle of
sequencing: Private Victory precedes Public Victory.
Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good
relationships with others.
Some people say that you have to like yourself before you can
like others. I think that idea has merit, but if you don't know
yourself, if you don't control yourself, if you don't have
mastery over yourself, it's very hard to like yourself, except in
some short-term, psych-up, superficial way.
Real self-respect comes from dominion over self, from
true independence. And that's the focus of Habits 1, 2,
and 3. Independence is an achievement. Interdependence is
a choice only independent people can make. Unless we are
willing to achieve real independence, it's foolish to try to
develop human-relations skills. We might try. We might even have
some degree of success when the sun is shining. But when the
difficult times come -- and they will -- we won't have the
foundation to keep things together.
The most important ingredient we put into any
relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we
are. And if our words and our actions come from
superficial human-relations techniques (the personality ethic)
rather than from our own inner core (the character ethic), others
will sense that duplicity. We simply won't be able to create and
sustain the foundation necessary for effective
The techniques and skills that really make a difference in
human interaction are the ones that almost naturally flow from a
truly independent character. So the place to begin building any
relationship is inside ourselves, inside our Circle of Influence,
our own character. As we become independent -- proactive,
centered in correct principles, value driven and able to organize
and execute around the priorities in our life with integrity --
we then can choose to become interdependent -- capable of
building rich, enduring, highly productive relationships with
SIX MAJOR DEPOSITS
Let me suggest six major deposits that build the Emotional
Understanding the Individual
Really seeking to understand another person is probably one of
the most important deposits you can make, and it is the key to
every other deposit. You simply don't know what constitutes a
deposit to another person until you understand that individual.
What might be a deposit for you -- going for a walk to talk
things over, going out for ice cream together, working on a
common project -- might not be perceived by someone else as a
deposit at all. It might even be perceived as a withdrawal, if it
doesn't touch the person's deep interests or needs.
Attending to the Little Things
The little kindnesses and courtesies are so important. Small
discourtesies, little unkindnesses, little forms of disrespect
make large withdrawals. In relationships, the little things are
the big things.
Keeping a commitment or a promise is a major deposit; breaking
one is a major withdrawal. In fact, there's probably not a more
massive withdrawal than to make a promise that's important to
someone and then not to come through. The next time a promise is
made, they won't believe it. People tend to build their hopes
around promises, particularly promises about their basic
I've tried to adopt a philosophy as a parent never to make a
promise I don't keep. I therefore try to make them very
carefully, very sparingly, and to be aware of as many variables
and contingencies as possible so that something doesn't suddenly
come up to keep me from fulfilling it.
Occasionally, despite all my effort, the unexpected does come
up, creating a situation where it would be unwise or impossible
to keep a promise I've made. But I value that promise. I either
keep it anyway, or explain the situation thoroughly to the person
involved and ask to be released from the promise.
The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in
conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals.
Whether we are dealing with the question of who does what at
work, how you communicate with your daughter when you tell her to
clean her room, or who feeds the fish and takes out the garbage,
we can be certain that unclear expectations will lead to
misunderstanding, disappointment, and withdrawals of trust.
Clarifying expectations sometimes takes a great deal of
courage. It seems easier to act as though differences don't exist
and to hope things will work out than it is to face the
differences and work together to arrive at a mutually agreeable
set of expectations.
Showing Personal Integrity
Personal integrity generates trust and is the basis of many
different kinds of deposits.
Lack of integrity can undermine almost any other effort to
create high trust accounts. People can seek to understand,
remember the little things, keep their promises, clarify and
fulfill expectations, and still fail to build reserves of trust
if they are inwardly duplicitous.
Integrity includes but goes beyond honesty. Honesty is telling
the truth -- in other words, conforming our words to reality.
Integrity is conforming reality to our words -- in other words,
keeping promises and fulfilling expectations. This requires an
integrated character, a oneness, primarily with self but also
One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to
be loyal to those who are not present. In doing so, we
build the trust of those who are present. When you defend those
who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.
Integrity in an interdependent reality is simply this: you
treat everyone by the same set of principles. As you do, people
will come to trust you. They may not at first appreciate the
honest confrontational experiences such integrity might generate.
Confrontation takes considerable courage, and many people would
prefer to take the course of least resistance, belittling and
criticizing, betraying confidences, or participating in gossip
about others behind their backs. But in the long run, people will
trust and respect you if you are honest and open and kind with
them. You care enough to confront. And to be trusted, it
is said, is greater than to be loved. In the long run, I am
convinced, to be trusted will be also mean to be
Apologizing Sincerely When You Make a
When we make withdrawals from the Emotional Bank Account, we
need to apologize and we need to do it sincerely. Great deposits
come in the sincere words.
"I was wrong."
"That was unkind of me."
"I showed you no respect."
"I gave you no dignity, and I'm deeply sorry."
"I embarrassed you in front of your friends and I had no call
to do that. Even though I wanted to make a point, I never should
have done it. I apologize."
It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize
quickly out of one's heart rather than out of pity. A person must
possess himself and have a deep sense of security in fundamental
principles and values in order to genuinely apologize.
People with little internal security can't do it. It makes
them too vulnerable. They feel it makes them appear soft and
weak, and they fear that others will take advantage of their
weakness. Their security is based on the opinions of other
people, and they worry about what others might think. In
addition, they usually feel justified in what they did. They
rationalize their own wrong in the name of the other person's
wrong, and if they apologize at all, it's superficial.
PRINCIPLES OF INTERPERSONAL
Whether you are the president of a company or the janitor, the
moment you step from independence into interdependence in any
capacity, you step into a leadership role. You
are in a position of influencing other people. And the
habit of effective interpersonal leadership is Think
SIX PARADIGMS OF HUMAN INTERACTION
Win/Win is not a technique; it's a total philosophy of human
interaction. In fact, it is one of six paradigms of interaction.
The alternative paradigms are Win-Lose, Lose-Win, Lose-Lose, Win,
and Win-Win or No Deal.
Win-Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks
mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-Win means that
agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually
satisfying. With a Win-Win solution, all parties feel good about
the decision and feel committed to the action plan. Win-Win sees
life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena. Most people tend
to think in terms of dichotomies: strong or weak, hardball or
softball, win or lose. But that kind of thinking if fundamentally
flawed. It's based on power and position rather than on
principle. Win-Win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty
for everybody, that one person's success is not achieved at the
expense or exclusion of the success of others.
Win-Win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It's not your
way or my way; it's a better way, a higher way.
WIN-WIN OR NO DEAL
If these individuals had not come up with a synergistic
solution -- one that was agreeable to both -- they could have
gone for an even higher expression of Win-Win, Win-Win or No
No Deal basically means that if we can't find a solution that
would benefit us both, we agree to disagree agreeably -- No Deal.
No expectations have been created, no performance contracts
established. I don't hire you or we don't take on a particular
assignment together because it's obvious that our values or our
goals are going in opposite directions. It is so much better to
realize this up front instead of downstream when expectations
have been created and both parties have been disillusioned.
When you have no deal as 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
With No Deal as an option, you can honestly say, "I only want
to go for Win-Win. I want to win, and I want you to win. I
wouldn't want to get my way and have you not feel good about it,
because downstream it would eventually surface and create a
withdrawal. On the other hand, I don't think you would feel good
if you got your way and I gave in. So let's work for a win-win.
Let's really hammer it out. And if we can't find it, then let's
agree that we won't make a deal at all. It would be better not to
deal than to live with a decision that wasn't right for us both.
Then maybe another time we might be able to get together."
Character is the foundation of win-win, and everything else
builds on that foundation. There are three character traits
essential to the win-win paradigm.
INTEGRITY. We've already defined integrity as the value we
place on ourselves. Habits 1, 2, and 3 help us develop and
maintain integrity. As we clearly identify our values and
proactively organize and execute around those values on a daily
basis, we develop self-awareness and independent will by making
and keeping meaningful promises and commitments.
There's no way to go for a win in our own lives if we don't
even know, in a deep sense, what constitutes a win -- what is, in
fact, harmonious with our innermost values. And if we can't make
and keep commitments to ourselves as well as to others , our
commitments become meaningless. We know it; others know it. They
sense duplicity and become guarded. There's no foundation of
trust and win-win becomes an ineffective superficial technique.
Integrity is the cornerstone in the foundation.
MATURITY. Maturity is the balance between courage and
consideration. If a person can express his feelings and
convictions with courage balanced with consideration for the
feelings and convictions of another person, he is mature,
particularly if the issue is very important to both parties.
If you examine many of the psychological tests used for
hiring, promoting, and training purposes, you will find that they
are designed to evaluate this kind of maturity. Whether it's
called the ego strength/empathy balance, the self-confidence
/respect for others balance, the concern for people/concern for
tasks balance, "I'm okay, you're okay" in transactional analysis
language, or 9.1, 1.9, 5.5, 9.9, in management grid language --
the quality sought for is the balance of what I call courage and
Respect for this quality is deeply ingrained in the theory of
human interaction, management, and leadership. It is a deep
embodiment of the P/PC Balance. While courage may focus on
getting the golden egg, consideration deals with the long-term
welfare of the other stakeholders. The basic task of leadership
is to increase the standard of living and the quality of life for
Many people think in dichotomies, in either/or terms. They
think if you're nice, you're not tough. But Win-Win is nice...and
tough. It's twice as tough as Win-Lose. To go for Win-Win, you
not only have to be nice, you have to be courageous. You not only
have to be empathic, you have to be confident. You not only have
to be considerate and sensitive, you have to be brave. To do
that, to achieve that balance between courage and consideration,
is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to
If I'm high on courage and low on consideration, how will I
think? Win-lose. I'll be strong and ego bound. I'll have the
courage of my convictions, but I won't be very considerate of
To compensate for my lack of internal maturity and emotional
strength, I might borrow strength from my position and power, or
from my credentials, my seniority, my affiliations.
If I'm high on consideration and low on courage, I'll think
Lose-Win. I'll be so considerate of your convictions and desires
that I won't have the courage to express and actualize my
High courage and consideration are both essential to Win-Win.
It is the balance that is the mark of real maturity. If I have
it, I can listen, I can empathically understand, but I can also
ABUNDANCE MENTALITY. The third character trait essential to
win-win is the Abundance Mentality, the paradigm that there is
plenty out there for everybody.
Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the
Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so
much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone
were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for
everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm
People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time
sharing recognition and credit, power or profit -- even with
those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time
being genuinely happy for the successes of other people -- even,
and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close
friends and associates. It's almost as if something is being
taken from them when someone else receives special recognition or
windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.
Although they might verbally express happiness for others'
success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out. Their sense
of worth comes from being compared, and someone else's success,
to some degree, means their failure. Only so many people can be
"A" students; only one person can be "number one." To "win"
simply means to "beat."
Often, people with a Scarcity Mentality harbor secret hopes
that others might suffer misfortune -- not terrible misfortune,
but acceptable misfortune that would keep them "in their place."
They're always comparing, always competing. They give their
energies to possessing things or other people in order to
increase their sense of worth.
They want other people to be the way they want them to be.
They often want to clone them, and they surround themselves with
"yes" people -- people who won't challenge them, people who are
weaker than they.
It's difficult for people with a Scarcity Mentality to be
members of a complementary team. They look on differences as
signs of insubordination and disloyalty.
The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a
deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the
paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for
everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of
profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options,
alternatives, and creativity.
The Abundance Mentality takes the personal joy, satisfaction,
and fulfillment of Habits 1, 2, and 3 and turns it outward,
appreciating the uniqueness, the inner direction, the proactive
nature of others. It recognizes the unlimited possibilities for
positive interactive growth and development, creating new Third
Public Victory does not mean victory over other
people. It means success in effective interaction that brings
mutually beneficial results to everyone involved. Public Victory
means working together, communicating together, making things
happen together that even the same people couldn't make happen by
working independently. And Public Victory is an outgrowth of the
Abundance Mentality paradigm.
A character rich in integrity, maturity, and the Abundance
Mentality has a genuineness that goes far beyond technique, or
lack of it, in human interaction.
One thing I have found particularly helpful to win-lose people
in developing a Win-Win character is to associate with some model
or mentor who really thinks Win-Win. When people are deeply
scripted in Win-Lose or other philosophies and regularly
associate with others who are likewise scripted, they don't have
much opportunity to see and experience the Win-Win philosophy in
action. So I recommend reading literature, such as the inspiring
biography of Anwar Sadat, In Search of Identity, and
seeing movies like Chariots of Fire or plays like
Les Miserables that expose you to models of Win-Win.
But remember: If we search deeply enough with in ourselves --
beyond the scripting, beyond the learned attitudes and behaviors
-- the real validation of Win-Win, as well as every other correct
principle, is in our own lives.
Win-Win is not a personality technique. It's a total
paradigm of human interaction. It comes from a character of
integrity, maturity, and the Abundance Mentality. It grows out of
high-trust relationships. It is embodied in agreements that
effectively clarify and manage expectations as well as
accomplishments. It thrives in supportive systems. And it is
achieved through the process we are now prepared to more fully
examine in Habits 5 and 6.
PRINCIPLES OF EMPHATIC
Seek first to understand is a correct principle evident in all
areas of life. It's a generic, common-denominator principle, but
it has its greatest power in the area of interpersonal
Habit 5 lifts you to greater accuracy, greater
integrity, in your presentations. And people know that.
They know you're presenting the ideas which you genuinely
believe, taking all known facts and perceptions into
consideration, that will benefit everyone.
SYNERGIZE/PRINCIPLES OF CREATIVE
I take as my guide the hope of a saint
in crucial things, unity -- in important things, diversity -- in
all things, generosity -- Inaugural Address of President
When Sir Winston Churchill was called to head up the war
effort for Great Britain, he remarked that all his life
had prepared him for this hour. In a similar sense, the
exercise of all of the other habits prepares us for the habit of
When properly understood, synergy is the highest
activity in all life -- the true test and manifestation of all
the other habits put together.
The highest forms of synergy focus the four unique human
endowments, the motive of win-win, and the skills of empathic
communication on the toughest challenges we face in life. What
results is almost miraculous. We create new alternatives --
something that wasn't there before.
Synergy is the essence of Principle-Centered Leadership. It is
the essence of principle-centered parenting. It catalyzes,
unifies, and unleashes the greatest powers within people. All the
habits we have covered prepare us to create the miracle of
What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the
whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the
relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and
of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the
most empowering, the most unifying, and the most exciting
As Carl Rogers taught, "that which is most personal is
most general." The more authentic you become, the more
genuine in your expression, particularly regarding personal
experiences and even self-doubts, the more people can relate to
your expression and the safer it makes them feel to express
themselves. That expression in turn feeds back on the other
person's spirit, and genuine creative empathy takes place,
producing new insights and learnings and a sense of excitement
and adventure that keeps the process going.
People then begin to interact with each other almost in half
sentences, sometimes incoherently, but they get each other's
meanings very rapidly. Then whole new worlds of insights, new
perspectives, new paradigms that insure options, new alternatives
are opened up and thought about. Though occasionally these new
ideas are left up in the air, they usually come to some kind of
closure that is practical and useful.
One of the very practical results of being
principle-centered is that it makes us whole -- truly
integrated. People who are scripted deeply in logical,
verbal, left-brain thinking will discover how totally inadequate
that thinking is in solving problems which require a great deal
of creativity. They become aware and begin to open up a new
script inside their right brain. It's not that the right brain
wasn't there; it just lay dormant. The muscles had not been
developed, or perhaps they had atrophied after early childhood
because of the heavy left-brain emphasis of formal education or
When a person has access to both the intuitive, creative, and
visual right brain, and the analytical, logical, verbal left
brain, then the whole brain is working. In other
words, there is psychic synergy taking place in our own head. And
this tool is best suited to the reality of what life is, because
life is not just logical -- it is also emotional.
SHARPEN THE SAW/PRINCIPLES OF
Sometimes when I consider what
tremendous consequences come from little things.... I am tempted
to think...there are no little things. Bruce Barton
Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working
feverishly to saw down a tree. "What are you doing?" you ask.
"Can't you see?" comes the impatient reply. "I'm sawing down this
tree." "You look exhausted!" you exclaim. "How long have you been
at it?" "Over five hours," he returns, "and I'm beat! This is
hard work." "Well, why don't you take a break for a few minutes
and sharpen the saw?" you inquire. "I'm sure it would go a lot
faster." "I don't have time to sharpen the saw," the man says
emphatically. "I'm too busy sawing!"
Habit 7 is taking time to Sharpen the Saw. It
surrounds the other habits on the Seven Habits paradigm because
it is the habit that makes all the others possible.
FOUR DIMENSIONS OF RENEWAL
Habit 7 is personal PC. It's preserving and enhancing
the greatest asset you have -- you. It's renewing the
four dimensions of your nature -- physical, spiritual,
mental, and social/emotional.
Although different words are used, most philosophies of life
deal either explicitly or implicitly with these four dimensions.
Philosopher Herb Shepherd describes the healthy balanced life
around four values: perspective (spiritual),
autonomy (mental), connectedness (social), and
tone (physical). George Sheehan, the running guru,
describes four roles: being a good animal (physical), a good
craftsman (mental), a good friend (social), and a saint
(spiritual). Sound motivation and organization theory embrace
these four dimensions or motivations -- the economic (physical);
how people are treated (social); how people are developed and
used (mental) ; and the service, the job, the contribution the
organization gives (spiritual).
"Sharpen the Saw" basically means expressing all four
motivations. It means exercising all four dimensions of our
nature, regularly and consistently, in wise and balanced
To do this, we must be proactive. Taking time
to sharpen the saw is a definite Quadrant II activity, and
Quadrant II must be acted on. Quadrant I, because of its urgency,
acts on us; it presses upon us constantly. Personal PC must be
pressed upon until it becomes second nature, until it becomes a
kind of healthy addiction. Because it's at the center of our
Circle of Influence, no one else can do it for us. We must do it
This is the single most powerful investment we can
ever make in life -- investment in ourselves, in the only
instrument we have with which to deal with life and to
contribute. We are the instruments of our own
performance, and to be effective, we need to recognize the
importance of taking time regularly to sharpen the saw in all
The Spiritual Dimension
Renewing the spiritual dimension provides leadership
to your life. It's highly related to Habit 2.
The spiritual dimension is your core, your center,
your commitment to your value system. It's a very private area of
life and a supremely important one. It draws upon the sources
that inspire and uplift you and tie you to the timeless truths of
all humanity. And people do it very, very
I find renewal in daily prayerful meditation on the scriptures
because they represent my value system. As I read and meditate, I
feel renewed, strengthened, centered, and recommitted to
Immersion in great literature or great music can provide a
similar renewal of the spirit for some. There are others who find
it in the way they communicate with nature. Nature bequeaths its
own blessing on those who immerse themselves in it. When you're
able to leave the noise and the discord of the city and give
yourself up to the harmony and rhythm of nature, you come back
renewed. For a time, you're undisturbable, almost unflappable,
until gradually the noise and the discord from outside start to
invade that sense of inner peace.
The Social/Emotional Dimension
Success in Habits 4, 5, and 6 is not primarily a
matter of intellect; it's primarily a matter of emotion. It's
highly related to our sense of personal security.
If our personal security comes from sources within ourselves,
then we have the strength to practice the habits of Public
Victory. If we are emotionally insecure, even though we may be
intellectually very advanced, practicing Habits 4, 5, and 6 with
people who think differently on jugular issues of life can be
Where does intrinsic security come from? It doesn't
come from the scripts they've handed us. It doesn't come from our
circumstances or our position.
It comes from within. It comes from accurate paradigms
and correct principles deep in our own mind and heart. It comes
from Inside-Out congruence, from living a life of integrity in
which our daily habits reflect our deepest values.
I believe that a life of integrity is the most
fundamental source of personal worth. I do not agree
with the popular success literature that says that self-esteem is
primarily a matter of mindset, of attitude -- that you can psyche
yourself into peace of mind.
Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with
true principles and values and in no other way.
There is also the intrinsic security that comes as a result of
effective interdependent living. There is security in knowing
that win-win solutions do exist, that life is not always
"either/or," that there are almost always mutually beneficial
Third Alternatives. There is security in knowing that you can
step out of your own frame of reference without giving it up,
that you can really, deeply understand another human
being. There is security that comes when you
authentically, creatively, and cooperatively interact with other
people and really experience these interdependent habits.
There is intrinsic security that comes from service, from
helping other people in a meaningful way. One important source is
your work, when you see yourself in a contributive and creative
mode, really making a difference. Another source is
anonymous service -- no one knows it and no one
necessarily ever will. And that's not the concern; the
concern is blessing the lives of other people. Influence,
not recognition, becomes the motive.
SYNERGY IN RENEWAL
Balanced renewal is optimally synergetic. The things
you do to sharpen the saw in any one dimension have positive
impact in other dimensions because they are so highly
interrelated. Your physical health affects your mental
health; your spiritual strength affects your social/emotional
strength. As you improve in one dimension, you increase
your ability in other dimensions as well.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People create optimum
synergy among these dimensions. Renewal in any dimension
increases your ability to live at least one of the Seven Habits.
And although the habits are sequential, improvement in one habit
synergetically increases your ability to live the rest.
The more proactive you are (Habit 1), the more
effectively you can exercise personal leadership (Habit 2) and
management (Habit 3) in your life. The more effectively
you manage your life (Habit 3), the more Quadrant II renewing
activities you can do (Habit 7). The more you seek first to
understand (Habit 5), the more effectively you can go for
synergetic win-win solutions (Habits 4 and 6). The more you
improve in any of the habits that lead to independence (Habits 1,
2, and 3), the more effective you will be in interdependent
situations (Habits 4, 5, and 6). And renewal (Habit 7) is
the process of renewing all the habits.
As you renew your physical dimension, you reinforce your
personal vision (Habit 1), the paradigm of your own
self-awareness and free will, of proactivity, of knowing that you
are free to act instead of being acted upon, to choose your own
response to any stimulus. This is probably the greatest
benefit of physical exercise. Each Daily Private Victory
makes a deposit in your personal intrinsic security account.
As you renew your spiritual dimension, you reinforce
your personal leadership (Habit 2). You increase your
ability to live out of your imagination and conscience instead of
only your memory, to deeply understand your innermost paradigms
and values, to create within yourself a center of correct
principles, to define your own unique mission in life, to
rescript your self to live your life in harmony with correct
principles and to draw upon your personal sources of strength.
The rich private life you create in spiritual renewal
makes tremendous deposits in your personal security
As you renew your mental dimension, you reinforce your
personal management (Habit 3). As you plan, you force your mind
to recognize high-leverage Quadrant II activities, priority
goals, and activities to maximize the use of your time and
energy, and you organize and execute your activities around your
priorities. As you become involved in continuing education, you
increase your knowledge base and you increase your options.
Your economic security does not lie in your job; it lies
in your own power to produce -- to think, to learn, to create, to
adapt. That's true financial independence. It's not having
wealth; it's having the power to produce wealth. It's
The Daily Private Victory -- a minimum of one hour a day in
renewal of the physical, spiritual, and mental dimensions -- is
the key to the development of the Seven Habits and it's
completely within your Circle of Influence. It is the Quadrant II
focus time necessary to integrate these habits into your life, to
It's also the foundation for the Daily Public Victory. It's
the source of intrinsic security you need to sharpen the saw in
the social/emotional dimension. It gives you the personal
strength to focus on your Circle of Influence in interdependent
situations -- to look at others through the Abundance Mentality
paradigm, to genuinely value their differences and to be happy
for their success. It gives you the foundation to work for
genuine understanding and for synergetic win-win solutions, to
practice Habits 4, 5, and 6 in an interdependent reality.
One powerful transition person of the twentieth century, Anwar
Sadat, left us as part of his legacy a profound understanding of
the nature of change. Sadat stood between a past
that had created a "huge wall of suspicion, fear, hate and
misunderstanding " between Arabs and Israelis, and a future in
which increased conflict and isolation seemed inevitable. Efforts
at negotiation had been met with objections on every scale --
even to formalities and procedural points, to an insignificant
comma or period in the text of proposed agreements.
While others attempted to resolve the tense situation by
hacking at the leaves, Sadat drew upon his earlier centering
experience in a lonely prison cell and went to work on the root.
And in doing so, he changed the course of history for millions of
He records in his autobiography:
It was then that I drew, almost
unconsciously, on the inner strength I had developed in Cell 54
of Cairo Central Prison -- a strength, call it a talent or
capacity, for change. I found that I faced a highly complex
situation, and that I couldn't hope to change it until I had
armed myself with the necessary psychological and intellectual
capacity. My contemplation of life and human nature in that
secluded place had taught me that he who cannot change the very
fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and
will never, therefore, make any progress.
Change -- real change -- comes from the Inside-Out. It doesn't
come from hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior with
quick-fix personality ethic techniques. It comes from striking at
the root -- the fabric of our thought, the fundamental, essential
paradigms, which give definition to our character and create the
lens through which we see the world. In the words of Amiel:
Moral truth can be conceived in
thought. One can have feelings about it. One can will to live it.
But moral truth may have been penetrated and possessed in all
these ways, and escape us still. Deeper even than consciousness
there is our being itself -- our very substance, our nature. Only
those truths which have entered into this last region, which have
become ourselves, become spontaneous and involuntary as well as
voluntary, unconscious as well as conscious, are really our life
-- that is to say, something more than property. So long as we
are able to distinguish any space whatever between Truth and us
we remain outside it. The thought, the feeling, the desire or the
consciousness of life may not be quite life. To become divine is
then the aim of life. Then only can truth be said to be ours
beyond the possibility of loss. It is no longer outside us, nor
in a sense even in us, but we are it, and it is we.
Achieving unity -- oneness -- with ourselves, with
our loved ones, with our friends and working associates, is the
highest and best and most delicious fruit of the Seven Habits.
Most of us have tasted this fruit of true unity from time to time
in the past, as we have also tasted the bitter, lonely fruit of
disunity -- and we know how precious and fragile unity is.
Obviously building character of total integrity and
living the life of love and service that creates such unity isn't
easy. It isn't quick fix.
But it's possible. It begins with the desire to center our
lives on correct principles, to break out of the paradigms
created by other centers and the comfort zones of unworthy
Sometimes we make mistakes, we feel awkward. But if we start
with the Daily Private Victory and work from the Inside-Out, the
results will surely come. As we plant the seed and patiently weed
and nourish it, we begin to feel the excitement of real growth
and eventually taste the incomparably delicious fruits of a
congruent, effective life.
Again, I quote Emerson: "That which we persist in
doing becomes easier -- not that the nature of the task has
changed, but our ability to do has increased."
By centering our lives on correct principles and creating a
balanced focus between doing and increasing our ability to do, we
become empowered in the task of creating effective, useful, and
peaceful lives...for ourselves, and for our posterity.
As I conclude this book, I would like to share my own personal
conviction concerning what I believe to be the source of correct
principles. I believe that correct principles are natural
laws, and that God, the Creator and Father of us all, is the
source of them, and also the source of our conscience. I
believe that to the degree people live by this inspired
conscience, they will grow to fulfill their natures; to the
degree that they do not, they will not rise above the animal
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. I believe that as human beings, we cannot
perfect ourselves. To the degree to which we align ourselves with
correct principles, divine endowments will be released within our
nature in enabling us to fulfill the measure of our creation.
In the words of Teilhard de Chardin, "We are not human
beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings
having a human experience."
I personally struggle with much of what I have shared in this
book. But the struggle is worthwhile and fulfilling. It gives
meaning to my life and enables me to love, to serve, and to try
Again, T.S.Eliot expresses so beautifully my own personal
discovery and conviction: "We must not cease from
exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive
where we began and to know the place for the first