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 Conversations Toward a New World View: Fanning The Fire Within 
 
Interview with Stephen Covey PhD
   as interviewed by Russell E. DiCarlo

So the opposite of each of the 7 habits is the deviation.

DiCarlo: Now when you say integrity, as in principle 3, do you mean being honest and ethical?

Covey: No. Honesty is just one of many symptoms of integrity. Integrity means integrated. Whole. Harmonized. Unified. Sincerity means without wax, no seams. You are seamless. So integrity is the opinion you have of yourself and the concept of honesty would be one of the symptoms of a person who is integrated.

DiCarlo: How would a person go about becoming more integrated in their life?

Covey: Educate and obey their conscience. By that I mean, get deeply into the great wisdom literature of all religions and all societies that have had enduring value and study it. Study the lives of great individuals who have made tremendous contributions and who have been admired for their contributions, their service, their integrity. Identify with it until your conscience becomes extremely sensitive, strong and inside you. Then, learn to listen to it and to obey it.

That's why I believe that humility is the mother of all principles. Everything flows from the spirit of, "You are not in charge, you are not a law unto yourself." Your social values may have nothing to do with principles at all. In fact, most social values are not principle-centered at all. It's about accepting that, "I have to be subject to the natural law of the universe." To admit that, "I am not in control" is a humbling statement which requires a humble attitude. It makes you capable then, of having all other virtues come through you.

On the other hand, if you are a law unto yourself, that kind of pride and arrogance will preclude that level of openness and receptivity. People then gather other people around them to validate them, massage their hearts and make them feel good. But they are really very proud, arrogant and have a hard time learning. They fail to be open and teachable, and they are not growing. They begin to define all of life around their own narrow and distorted frame of reference. It's a form of self-centeredness, feeling that everything revolves around you.

DiCarlo: You mentioned that a scarcity mentality prevents individuals from establishing "win-win" relationships...what would you say is the root cause?

Covey: It comes from being compared as a child and getting your sense of security from that comparison. It is what's called "comparison-based identity." The primary six sources of scarcity come from conditional love supplies at home, competitive based grading systems at school, comparison between friends and peers, the world of work where people are up against using so-called scarce resources-they are fighting for them and they are usually up against some forced ranking systems. Also, much religion focuses upon much comparison so that even though they teach the religion of love they often practice exclusivity and judgements and superior attitudes. Also, a sixth one is athletics, particularly for young men, and becoming more and more for young women, where "win-lose" is deeply embedded.

DiCarlo: You've made an interesting observation, that in today's business environment there is a very close relationship between pragmatics and ethics...

Covey: Entrance into the global marketplace humbles organizations. It demands high quality. They have to accommodate that reality. It's external to themselves. You can't fake it. You can't produce it through a quick-fix, through chemistry, through surgery. All you can do is mess it up. The same thing is true of our own bodies. If we try to heal ourselves through chemistry or surgery we haven't fundamentally changed our lifestyle. You can't really produce the pragmatic fruits if you violate these principles. You can't have trust if you don't have trustworthiness. You can't talk yourself out of problems you behave yourself into. When people try this approach, it often worsens the situation even though they might temporarily get by, or deceive a few people. Ultimately, what they are comes out. Their character surfaces. Particularly in the dark, when they are alone, when they have a lot of power. When they don't have to impress people. That's when they usually manifest their true character.

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