What are the origins of the 7 Habits?

Author: redolive
August 22, 2018

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book, Covey writes that he conducted an in-depth study of decades of principles of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness, which he gleaned from numerous books, articles, and essays, written by some of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders such as Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Johnson, George Bernard Shaw, Viktor Frankl, T.S. Eliot, Carl Rogers, and Peter Drucker. These principles include: fairness, integrity, teamwork, honesty, human dignity, service or contribution, quality or excellence, potential, patience, nurturance, encouragement, responsibility, vision, collaboration, and renewal. Covey never claimed these principals as his own; rather, he synthesized and assembled them into a framework, which was easy to understand and implement—The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

These universal, timeless principals of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness are secular in nature and common to all people and cultures. They transcend political, philosophical, religious, socioeconomic, generational, gender, and lifestyle differences, and may be adapted and applied in any context or environment.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes,

“…The reality of such principles or natural laws becomes obvious to anyone who thinks deeply and examines the cycles of social history. These principles surface time and time again, and the degree to which people in a society recognize and live in harmony with them moves them toward either survival and stability or disintegration and destruction. The principles I am referring to are not esoteric, mysterious, or ‘religious’ ideas. There is not one principle taught in this book that is unique to any specific faith or religion, including my own. These principles are a part of most every major enduring religion, as well as enduring social philosophies and ethical systems. They are self-evident and can easily be validated by any individual. It’s almost as if these principles or natural laws are part of the human condition, part of the human consciousness, part of the human conscience. They seem to exist in all human beings, regardless of social conditioning and loyalty to them. Even though they might be submerged or numbed by such conditions or disloyalty…. Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value. They’re fundamental. They’re essentially unarguable because they are self-evident.…”

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