Stephen Covey: Application Suggestions: Emotional Bank Account, Empathy, Closing Your Ears, Autobiographical Responses

It’s time to apply what we’ve already learned about in the blog post: The Emotional Bank Account, with our daily lives.  This has to be the Top 5 most viewed blog on my website.  My guess is it’s providing a significant amount of feedback, and like a lot of writers and other YouTubers out there, they never give an example from their life in regards to them applying the questions and suggestions that books give.  So, here I am to give you a great example.

  1. Select a relationship in which you sense the Emotional Bank Account is in the red.  Try to understand and write down the situation from the other person’s point of view.  In your next interaction, listen for understanding, comparing what you are hearing with what you wrote down.  How valid were your assumptions? Did you really understand that individual’s perspective?

So, the first situation that came to mind was a girl named Zern.  This is a girl I dated towards the end of last year, but things and communication completely fell apart within maybe a two-day period.

What I wrote down was, “she complained about every single detail; from not asking what she wanted out of 7-11, to not picking up the luggage for her at her condo.”  The Emotional Bank Account had become so overdrawn that while driving back to Bangkok, she was spewing an insane amount of pessimism and complaining about even the smallest details.  Her last message was, “you are too independent.”

Am I? Absolutely.  Is there such thing as being “too” independent? Not necessarily.  If I can back track in time and see what I did wrong that day, which was simply not asking her what she wanted from 7-11 (although I didn’t even see her after I came out the restroom), there was more of an underlying problem.  Because I’ve been living alone for so long, I sometimes forget the littlest things.  It’s holding the door open, kiss on the forehead (maybe that’s too much, lol), picking up luggage, washing the dishes, making sure everything is clean when I leave the bathroom, obeying by simple rules.  I’ve been accustomed so much to being alone that I unconsciously do everything based on habits I’ve developed.  Most men in the world go through long spans in life without having another significant other.  I’m one of them.  There was another girl I dated and it didn’t work because she simply said, “we’re too different.”  It’s not necessarily me, but it’s my habits.

What can I do going forward? Well, create a new habit and start practicing being dependent.  However, am I ready for a relationship right now? Absolutely not.  Lol

2. Share the concept of empathy with someone close to you.  Tell him or her you want to work on really listening to others and ask for feedback in a week.  How did you do? How did it make that person feel?

Alissa, a college friend, emailed me after months of terminating the friendship.  She was very sad about my actions in terms of broadcasting what had happened with the botch trip — on FB.  I apologized, pointed out my faults, and I ‘seek to understand.’

She made some valid points, and sure, the friendship could be revived, but after some of the most critical situations in my life….she was never there.  Can I let her back in “close friend” circle? Absolutely not.  That boat sailed.  If there’s something we can do to salvage a “distance” relationship, then fine.  I’m 100% for either decision regardless.

Now, aside from my ridiculous story, I want all of you to use this in terms of rating yourself — the Jack Canfield exercise I talked about a very long time ago. Example.

“Hey, babe, what would you rate me for today?”

“An 8.”

“What can I do to be a 10?”

This could drive people insane because there’s no way anyone is perfect, but establishing close listening and hearing something, without saying a word, can make you a victor and help your relationship.  Synergy!

3. The next time you have an opportunity to watch people communicate, cover your ears for a few minutes and just watch.  What emotions are being communicated that may not come across in words alone?

4. Next time you catch yourself inappropriately using one of the autobiographical responses — probing, evaluating, advising, or interpreting — try to turn the situation into a deposit by acknowledgement and apology.

“Sorry, I just realized that I’m not really trying to understand.  Could we start again?”

Interviewee #10: Dana & Dennis of Wodbudsuds

I had the absolute special privilege of interviewing an amazing up and becoming health and wellness business called Wodbudsuds – a business that creates soap. Not only that, but hearing the stories of both Dennis and Dana was remarkably inspiring.

The 9-5, the drab job that continues to torment the majority of the world, had gotten a hold of them. Working for 8-11 years, respectively, in their chosen fields of work, they just simply wanted more.

It brings me back to the story of my personal development journey. When I was making a mere $600 USD a month, I asked myself, “if I had any dignity, I would just quit right now.” Two weeks later – I did. This was the beginning of my fear-filled journey that had lots of traps, holes, and setbacks.

With Dana being a Yoga instructor and Dennis being a crossfitter/manager, all while caring for their son, they knew enough was enough.

Turning a kitchenette into a full-on business in the basement of their home, they converted and began making soap, which took 6 months to complete.

One year on and an amazing lifestyle later…here’s there story.

Jack Canfield – Speak With Impeccability

“Impeccability of the word can lead you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it can take away all fear and transform it into joy and love.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Our thoughts, opinions, judgements, and beliefs roll off our tongues without a care for the damage or the benefits they can produce.

Successful people like Les Brown, Lisa Nichols, on the other hand, are masters of their words.  They’re conscious of the thoughts they think and the worlds they speak.

Your words have power not only within yourself, but also with others.  You can literally uplift humanity such as what Mother Theresa and Muhammad Ali have done.

Jack Canfield – “Success people speak words of inclusion rather than words of separation, words of acceptance rather than words of rejection, and words of tolerance rather than words of prejudice.

One of my best students here in Thailand and I walk around the massive shopping center (one of many) here in Bangkok.  She actually looks at people compared to me and she always says, “why are those people looking at us weird?” She often gets frustrated at society because she has yet to establish that ‘circle of concern’ and ‘circle of influence.’

I, on the other hand, completely ignore it and have turned myself into a beholder of proactive language.  I NEVER complain about how people look at me anymore because that’s nothing I have control over.  Instead, I laugh and shrug it off and it creates that ripple effect.

The truth is, your words put out a certain energy or message that creates a reaction in others – a reaction that is usually returned to you multiple.  If I had complained about that particular individual, the next soul that we would’ve come across would do the same thing – but worse.  That’s the law of cause and effect in it’s works.

If you are rude, impatient, arrogant, or hostile, you can expect negative conduct to be returned to you. Period.

Idle Gossip

Jack Canfield talked about a day that he was teaching at a particular high school long ago.  He said on the first day of school, he walked into a teachers’ lounge before school starter.  One of the older teachers approached me and said, “I see you have Devon James in your american history class.  I had him last year.  He’s a real terror.  Good luck!”

That’s called the definition of prejudice.

Here are some practical ways to stop yourself and discourage others from gossiping:

  1.  Change the subject.
  2. Say something positive about the other person.
  3. Walk away from the conversation.
  4. Keep quiet.
  5. Clearly state that you no longer want to participate in gossiping about others.

If you want to hear me speak about this principle, the link to my podcast is down below.


Podcast –

Stephen Covey – Circle of Concern vs. Circle of Influence

“People think the world is going insane right now with the problems happening but I think we’re doing just fine.  7 million of us cramped up on this planet….I think we’re going a pretty good job.” – Jim Carey

This is a prime example of not only proactive language, but also the circle of concern which is the activity that I’ll be talking about out of Stephen Covey’s book.

Look at how you focus your time an energy.  Really….take a look.  Are you focusing on things that you have no control over? Or things you can control?

We have a wide range of problems: health, children, problems at work, debt, nuclear war, etc.  There are some things that we can control and others that are way out of our control. We can separate from these particular things in which we have no particular or emotional involvement by creating a “Circle of Concern.”


“As we look at those things within our Circle of Concern, it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no real control and others that we can do something about.” Stephen Covey.

A lot of foreigners residing in Thailand, for instance, complain heavily about just about everything in Thailand; from the cat down the road, to one of the biggest shopping centers in the heart of Bangkok.  None of these things in which they have control over.  Get the picture?

Proactive people, on the other hand, focus their energy on the Circle of Influence.  Things they can actually do something about.


Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern.  They focus soon the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control.  Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization.  The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with everything else, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.


Stephen Covey said, “Be a light, not a judge.  Be a model, not a critic.”

For the next week, see where you fit in. See if you can control the energy that you’re emanating. See if you’re reactive vs. proactive.  Listen to your language.

Podcast –