Seven Habits Revisited: Seven Unique Human Endowments

Stephen R. Covey

November 1991

I see seven unique human endowments or capabilities associated with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

One way to revisit The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is to identify the unique human capability or endowment associated with each habit.

Those associated with Habits 1, 2 and 3 are primary human endowments. And if those endowments are well exercised, secondary endowments are bequeathed to the person through the exercise of Habits 4, 5, and 6. And the endowment associated with Habit 7 renew the process of growth and development. Primary Endowments

The primary human endowments are 1) self-awareness or self-knowledge; 2) imagination and conscience; and 3) volition or will power. And the secondary endowments are 4) an abundance mentality; 5) courage and consideration; and 6) creativity. The seventh endowment is self-renewal. These are all unique human endowments; animals don’t possess any of them, but they are all on a continuum of low to high levels.

More . . .


6 thoughts on “Seven Habits Revisited: Seven Unique Human Endowments”

  1. Here’s a question. Is it possible to be highly successful and not be highly effective.

    Here’s one example. I know of a number of people who are top of their field but resist goal setting or seeing the end in mind. They do so because they feel that goals are self-limiting. They close off your options because your focused on the goal and not all the other possibilities. They want to see where things will lead them rather than the other way around.

    I also think it’s possible to be so effective that you can lead people anywhere including off a cliff. Was Jim Jones effective? Certainly attained his goals and encouraged others to do so.

    The point is that there may also be 7 other habits that may also work but be very different.


  2. Steve Rosenbaum,

    Is it possible to be highly successful and not be highly effective?

    I am not sure that I can see that success is incongruent with effectiveness, in my own mind or with your examples. I can see that there are people who’s success is unfortunate and destructive.

    I certainly agree that one shouldn’t limit one’s self by over focusing on goals that in my opinion are constantly shifting and changing. I suspect that goal setting should be longterm and left open to change and new insights.

    I would be very interested in hearing 7 other habits that may also work but be very different. If I were to have to come up with 7 different and effective habits, I would look towards Carl Rogers, his students and the whole Humanistic movement.

    Thanks for the great idea,


  3. I think you’ll find a whole range of behaviors in highly effective people one that I see all the time is people that are what we used to call manic/depressives. It’s in the manic stage that they get so much stuff done. These people buzz around and then go hide in their office during the depressive stage.

    I think you also see people who are so driven by something that they are oblivious to the critics around them. You really can’t get far in politics without a really thick skin.

    How many people can you think of who have been driven to prove something to their father who never gave them a word of encouragement.

    How many people have rule large empires by being ruthless and brutal. Certainly Ghengis Kahn would be an example.

    I get the point of the 7 habits which is more about how to be effective without doing a lot of the natsy and insensitive stuff that great people often do. Take a look at Donald Trump and Gordon Ramsey. Everybody’s on edge with them all the time but it works for them.


  4. Steve,

    Yes, I follow your point and am always happy to look at something from a different point of view. I guess that I have latched on to your original point or question, “Is it possible to be highly successful and not be highly effective?”

    I think that if someone is considered successful, that they were in some way effective. I think that you have a point that you are making that I am not getting. I would like to know what you mean so I am gonna throw out a couple guesses and you say yay or nay or maybe.

    In your last response it seems like you brought up the point that there are some people who our society considers to be sick in some way and yet that sickness gives them drive and creativity. If only people would be more accommodating of their success producing behavior.

    Next you brought up the point that a driven, thick skinned, oblivious temperament would be key for politicians and the like and that some are driven to prove something to some one.

    Then theres the rulers and the rich, that though they are successful their behaviors are less than kind.

    There are so many ways too look at life and so many ways to do it.

    One interesting point of view that I recently came across and can remember off the top of my head was put forth in a book called ‘cross pollinations’ by Gary Paul Nabhan. It’s about science and poetry.

    Dig it!


  5. I guess I just always have the same reaction when I see the Covey stuff. His version of what it takes to be effective is more of an ideal and I think somewhat simplistic. So in reality people are effective by doing a range of things often not in the 7 habits leading to great successes.

    In some respects, the 7 habits are more about being a good manager or good with people, but not really about how to accomplish great things or be a great leader.

    This is a different point, but I think it fits. A lot of the time we look to the very best as examples. Let’s take for example someone like Tiger Woods. His level of performance is well beyond the capability of all but just a handful of players in the world. Noone’s going to follow a success reciepe to get to that level. He’s truly unique. The same would old true of someone like Albert Einstein.

    So defining what effective and success means for the 99.9% of the population is an important thing to consider.


  6. Steve,

    Thank you for bringing this sort of thing up. I am often guilty of assuming that things are obvious or known to people when thats not always the case. Your points are becoming more clear to me as you respond.

    It is a big mistake to imitate someone who one thinks a success to the point of not being ones self, which would likely unleash much more greativity and “success” than to being a copy of some one else’s ideas and style of working.

    “So defining what effective and success means for the 99.9% of the population is an important thing to consider.”

    I totally agree. What is it that we are striving to do and how should we do it. Looking at “successful” people should only be a spring board for our discovering our own ways of doing things. There are so many different ways to spark creativity and so many ways to organize ones self and to behave, All of them valid and effective.

    I am always after the ways that give me good ideas for my own path. Many of the posts in this blog reflect ways that I find helpful or interesting to think about.

    Your latest comment has sparked another point that I have been rolling around, but haven’t quite completely formed yet. So far it has come to my attention through language that is used in groups working with at risk youth, that perhaps these groups that are trying to “help” these kids either don’t know what they are doing or are purposely leading these kids to the slaughter.

    What and why are these people helping kids get their GED’s for? To become good citizens and enter the workforce? Is more of the same really what they or anyone else needs or wants? To me there is a lot of going with the broken program and staying the course over the cliff.

    To bring it back to successful behaviors, you are right to ask what is the success we are after and why those 7 behaviors. Those 7 behaviors are effective for some people to be successful in our current, broken state. Do we want to stay the course? Can we use their broken methods to regain our balance and harmony? Do we even know what we want and have we given any thought to the fact that we can do something different?

    The Future Is Unwritten,


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s