Characteristics of Principle-Centered People

This is the first time I’m posting something I didn’t write on this blog. I read this today on a friend of mines MySpace. I’m currently reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, so when I saw that this was by him too I was anxious to read it. I’m sure you’ll find this information most beneficial. Let’s all strive to be more principled…


-They’re more flexible and spontaneous-
They’re not chained to plans and schedules. Schedules are important, but not all-important. Principle-centered people see life as an adventure. They’re like courageous explorers going on an expedition into uncharted territory — they’re really not sure what’s going to happen, but they’re confident it will be exciting and growth producing, and that they will discover new territory and make new contributions. Their security is not in their comfort zone, but in their compass [of values and principles] — their unique human endowments, that empower them to navigate confidently in uncharted terrain.

-They have richer, more rewarding relationships with other people-
They put people ahead of schedules. They clarify expectations. They’re not into comparing, competing, or criticizing. Others begin to feel they can depend on them to be honest, direct, and non-manipulative, to make and keep commitments, to walk their talk. Principle-centered people don’t overreact to negative behaviors, criticism, or human weaknesses. They’re quick to forgive. They don’t carry grudges. They refuse to label, stereotype, categorize, or prejudge. They’re genuinely happy for and help facilitate the successes of others. They believe in the unseen potential of all people. They help create a climate for growth and opportunity.

-They’re more synergistic-
Instead of doing “their thing” to others, they find far greater rewards in working with others to achieve shared vision. They value the difference. They believe in the synergy of third-alternative solutions. In team endeavors, they learn to build on their strengths and work to complement their weaknesses with the strengths of others. When they negotiate and communicate with others in seemingly adversarial situations, they’re better able to separate the people from the problem. They can focus on the other person’s interests and concerns instead of arguing over positions.

-They’re continually learning-
Because they know there’s a truth north [principles], they’re constantly seeking to discover, understand, and align their lives with it. They become more humble and teachable. They read widely, feast on the wisdom of the ages, and listen to others. They’re continually educated by their experience.

-They become more contribution focused-
They channel their time and energy toward contributing more than consuming, toward giving rather than getting. They’re more service-oriented. They seek to improve quality of life for others as well as themselves.

-They produce extraordinary results-
Because they balance “producing” with increasing their capacity to produce, they develop the ability to produce significantly more, long-term. They don’t burn the candle at both ends. They’re continually acquiring new skills. They grow in their ability to work with others and facilitate high-quality interdependent production. In whatever they do, they apply principles that create quality results.

-They develop a healthy psychological immune system-
They can handle problems. They’re not inflicted with psychological AIDS. They can be sideswiped or blindsided by disease, financial setback, or disappointment and they have the resources to come back. They nurture healthy immune systems in their marriages and their families, so that they can discuss jugular issues and handle problems such as finances, in-laws, or child discipline with principles rather than scripting [societal molds we learn growing up.] They work to create healthy immune systems in their work teams, groups, or organizations.

-They create their own limits-
They don’t work until they drop from exhaustion, spend until there
s no credit left, or keep going on projects until they run out of time. They become less dependent on extrinsic factors to tell them when to quit. They learn to apply principles and use wisdom in creating their own limits to maximize their effectiveness. They focus effort during times of peak energy and creativity. They take time for recreation. They spend wisely and save and invest for future needs.

-They lead more balanced lives-
They don’t become workaholics, religious zealots, political fanatics, crash dieters, food bingers, pleasure addicts, or fasting martyrs. They’re active physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually. They live more abundant, synergistic lives.

-They become more confident and secure-
They grow in their confidence that living in harmony with true north will bring quality of life, and they become more patient and peaceful in the process. Their security doesn’t come from work, associations, recognition, possessions, status, or any other extrinsic factor. It comes from within — from centering their lives on principles, from living by their conscience [and God.]

-They’re better able to walk their talk-
There’s no conscious duplicity, double-mindedness, or hypocrisy. They increase their ability to make and keep commitments to themselves and others. They build a high balance in their personal integrity account.

-They focus on their Circle of Influence-
They don’t waste time or energy in their circle of concern. They focus on the things they can do something about and work to improve almost any situation they’re in.

-They cultivate a rich inner life-
They draw strength from regular spiritual renewal. They feast on wisdom literature, think, meditate, or in other ways nurture context, meaning, and purpose in their lives.

-They radiate positive energy-
They become more cheerful, pleasant, optimistic, positive, upbeat. They see possibilities. They neutralize or sidestep strong negative energy forces; they charge weaker forces that surround them.

-They enjoy life more-
They don’t condemn themselves for every foolish mistake or social blunder. They forgive themselves and others. They don’t brood about yesterday or daydream about tomorrow. They live sensibly and joyfully in the present, carefully plan for the future, and flexibly adapt to changing circumstances. They develop a rich sense of humor, laughing often at themselves, but never at the expense of others.

Chapter 15, First Things First – by – Stephen R. Covey and Roger Merrill and Rebecca Merrill.

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2 thoughts on “Characteristics of Principle-Centered People

  1. Very awesome. Centering lives on principle and God is worth practicing and aspiring to. It’s great you put this on here. Covey has a great and wise perspective.