How to Succeed with People is a short aggregation of writings about how to develop our relationships with others, especially those closest to us. It also contains some great advice and examples of building and maintaining understanding and harmony with those we work and live with.
I have owned this book for years and refer to it from time to time when I feel the need to mend or improve my relationship with various people in my life.
What hooked me on this book was a statement Covey made… “If someone offends you unknowingly and continues to do so, you are responsible for the strain, in the relationship, if you do not take the initiative to clear it up. Often you’ll find you made unrealistic expectations. You may discover you simply didn’t understand the situation at all.” (52) What a profound insight to human relationships!
When it comes to human relationships, and getting ideas on how to improve them, Covey is my “go-to-guy.”
There are so many great quotes in How to Succeed with People by Stephen R Covey, (1977) that it was hard for me to narrow them down to my favorite ten, but here they are:
Quotes cited from “How to Succeed with People” follow this format: (Page Number)
The Journey of Men
1. “For this is the Journey that men make; to find themselves. If they fail in this it matters little whatever else they may achieve: Money, Fame, Revenge. When they end the journey, they can throw all of these things into a bin marked “ASHES.” They mean nothing. But if one has found that he has within him a divine soul, if he has discovered the principles upon which the fulfillment of that soul is based, and if he implements those principles, then he has a mansion within which he can live with dignity and joy each day of his life.” Quoted from Reed Bradford, paraphrasing James Michener. (Preface)
Comment: This is one of life’s “big secrets” and truths. To find oneself is to know that you have a “divine” and eternal soul. The next step is to seek to understand through prayer (meditation) and study the purpose one has in this beautiful thing we call life.
How to Treat Others
2. Goethe put it this way: “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” (2)
Comment: I have learned the truth of this in the way I treat my students. Now I need to extend this practice to those I love and am closest to… to expand the envelope as it were.
3. To not say the unkind or critical thing, particularly when provoked and/or fatigued, is a supreme kind of self-mastery. (6)
Comment: This is a weakness of mine that I am acutely aware of and am determined to overcome!
4. One of the principal reasons we have a hard time understanding others is because we lack an understanding of ourselves. (10)
Comment: As I expand my mind and understand myself more fully, I see the wisdom of this statement.
5. “The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the silent chambers of the soul.” (David O. McKay) (12)
Comment: … and what battles they are! I am always evaluating, observing, comparing, and strategizing my relationships with others… a fatiguing but necessary process.
6. Knowledge of ourselves and life’s processes, combined with self-restraint, produces the sense and ability to know when to do what. This is wisdom. What a small price such long-suffering is for such huge gains! “Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet.” (Rousseau.) (14, 15)
Comment: My father was well aware of this process and practiced it daily. He was a great role model for me in how to practice patience.
7. The ultimate, perhaps the last, freedom is the right and power to decide within how anybody or anything outside ourself will affect us. Many people are simply unaware they have this capacity, this freedom. (26)
Comment: I understand and fully believe this… I work on this idea regularly, especially with regard to the relationships I have with my family and friends.
Doing Our Own Thing
8. So in our relations with others… if we are addicted to interpret every situation in terms of our own convenience or pleasure or ego and then become upset or angry when things don’t go our way, we truly are slaves, even as we proclaim our freedom to do our “own thing.” (28)
Comment: Yet another weakness of mine. The lightness of a situation and spirit shows caring, love, and understanding… just the opposite of what one might believe.
9. If we are careful observers, we can see our own weaknesses reappear in the lives of our children. Perhaps in nothing is this so evident as in the way differences and disagreements are handled. (66)
Comment: I see this sentiment especially in relation to my mother and myself… but, I am working on it, mom!
10. Our own attitude, our state of mind, as it were, is largely a function of the attitudes of those around us. Similarly, the attitudes of those we live and work around are largely a function of our own attitude. The implication of that last sentence is profound and far-reaching. (78)
Comment: We are and are seen the way we choose to be… our actions are functions of our attitudes.
Photos – Post image: How To Succeed with People. Digital Image Book Cover. Amazon (Amazon.com) / Content is displayed for educational purposes in accordance with the Fair Use clause of the United States copyright code. Web 12 Nov 2014. https://www.amazon.com/Succeed-People-SIGNED-STEPHEN-COVEY/dp/B003HNWYME/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466451222&sr=1-5&keywords=how+to+succeed+with+people. Post image: “Dr. Stephen R. Covey #motivation Recogni” by Tony Umaña is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Quotes – Covey, S. (1977). How to Succeed with People. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company.