Of all the books I have read over the years on personal development & spirituality, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has had the most profound effect on my views on the world and myself. It seemed to clarify and confirm many feelings I had inside and afforded me great relief to know that what I felt inside was understood by someone else, someone I’d never even met. So with that, I whole heartedly recommend this book to you.- Larry G. Maguire.
Paradigms & Principles
In more than 25 years of working with people in business, university, and marriage and family
settings, I have come in contact with many individuals who have achieved an incredible degree of
outward success, but have found themselves struggling with an inner hunger, a deep need for personal
congruency and effectiveness and for healthy, growing relationships with other people.
I suspect some of the problems they have shared with me may be familiar to you.
I’ve set and met my career goals and I’m having tremendous professional success. But it’s cost me
my personal and family life. I don’t know my wife and children anymore. I’m not even sure I know
myself and what’s really important to me. I’ve had to ask myself — is it worth it?
I’ve started a new diet — for the fifth time this year. I know I’m overweight, and I really want to
change. I read all the new information, I set goals, I get myself all psyched up with a positive mental
attitude and tell myself I can do it. But I don’t. After a few weeks, I fizzle. I just can’t seem to keep a
promise I make to myself.
I’ve taken course after course on effective management training. I expect a lot out of my employees
and I work hard to be friendly toward them and to treat them right. But I don’t feel any loyalty from
them. I think if I were home sick for a day, they’d spend most of their time gabbing at the water
fountain. Why can’t I train them to be independent and responsible — or find employees who can be?
My teenage son is rebellious and on drugs. No matter what I try, he won’t listen to me. What can
There’s so much to do. And there’s never enough time. I feel pressured and hassled all day, every
day, seven days a week. I’ve attended time management seminars and I’ve tried half a dozen different
planning systems. They’ve helped some, but I still don’t feel I’m living the happy, productive, peaceful
life I want to live.
I want to teach my children the value of work. But to get them to do anything, I have to supervise
every move; and put up with complaining every step of the way. It’s so much easier to do it myself.
Why can’t children do their work cheerfully and without being reminded?
I’m busy — really busy. But sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing will make a difference in the
long run. I’d really like to think there was meaning in my life, that somehow things were different
because I was here.
I see my friends or relatives achieve some degree of success or receive some recognition, and I smile
and congratulate them enthusiastically. But inside, I’m eating my heart out. Why do I feel this way?
I have a forceful personality. I know, in almost any interaction, I can control the outcome. Most of
the time, I can even do it by influencing others to come up with the solution I want. I think through
each situation and I really feel the ideas I come up with are usually the best for everyone. But I feel
uneasy. I always wonder what other people really think of me and my ideas.
My marriage has gone flat. We don’t fight or anything; we just don’t love each other anymore.
We’ve gone to counseling; we’ve tried a number of things, but we just can’t seem to rekindle the feeling
we used to have.
These are deep problems, painful problems — problems that quick fix approaches can’t solve.
Excerpt from the introduction to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey