Self-scoring 7 Habits Assessment | Habit #1 | Be Proactive

Welcome to the self-scoring habits assessment! It took long enough for me to put this into blog form (podcast first), but here are three questions for you to answer and rate yourself in on a scale of 1-6. Here are the questions!

  1. I am in control of my life (rate on a scale 1-6)
  2. I focus my efforts on things I can do something about rather than the things beyond my control.
  3. I take responsibility for my moods rather than blaming people and circumstances.

So, rate them and tally your score up.

For “I am in control of my life,” I prepared myself an entire year for this moment. After seeing my job shut down again for the foreseeable future (thanks, COVID and irresponsible townsfolk), I knew that I was in control by a long-shot this time as compared to last time. I’ve been unbelievable proactive with putting out as much content and getting as many people as I possibly could for my online business. Last year, I was praying things would just happen by getting messages from people who really weren’t looking out for me (except one testing center). After canning three relationships, I realized that I now have control of my assets. When the shutdown came this year, I said “cool, let’s get it.” Last year was, “omg, I’m hopeless! I’m so stressed and sad!”

The other two categories are in my podcast down below.


Stephen Covey’s Action Plan on Trust

As promised in my podcast, this is the action plan with behaviors 1-13 and here’s an excerpt, along with the action plan, so you can figure out what needs to be done intrinsically.

In the beginning of this 13 behaviors section, I used a personal challenge for you to make this material highly relevant and actionable by identifying two relationships — one professional and one in personal — in which you wanted to build trust. I said that at the end of the section, I would give you the opportunity to look back, determine which two or three behaviors would make the greatest difference, and create an action plan to create change.

Well, here we are. If you didn’t do it before, I encourage you to do it now. This is where you can make decisions that will build trust, that will transform taxes into dividends, that will improve your relationships with two people, and — geometrically — with many others, as well.

Many people find it helpful to use a chat such as this one below. If this approach works for you, I suggest you start with one relationship. Go over the behaviors. Mark on the continuum where you think you are now with regard to each one. Then go back and circle the two or three behaviors that you feel will make the greatest positive difference.

Identify one or two next steps for each of those behaviors to create change. You may want to use one of the Trust Tips at the end of each chapter, or you may come up with something that will work better in your situation. The key is to make the steps actionable and to make and keep a commitment to yourself to do them.

Then go back and do the same for the second relationship you chose.

As you create your plan, keep in mind that the quickest way to make a withdrawal is to violate a behavior or character; the quickest way to make a deposit is to demonstrate a behavior of competence. This may help you in determining how to most quickly build trust in your situation.

If you prefer to use a different approach to implementation, that’s fine. However, you may still want to look at the chart. It will give you an overview of all 13 Behaviors, including their opposites and counterfeits. It’s a good way to capture a vision of the way high-trust leaders interact with others.

Stephen Covey
BehaviorCurrent PerformanceOpposite/
Talk Straight___/____/____/____/____/Lie, spin, tell half
___/____/____/____/____/Don’t care or don’t
show you care.
___/____/____/____/____/Withhold information;
keep secrets;
Right Wrongs___/____/____/____/____/Don’t admit or
repair mistakes
Show Loyalty___/____/____/____/____/Sell others out; take the credit
___/____/____/____/____/Fail to deliver
on activities.
Get Better___/____/____/____/____/Deteriorate; don’t
invest in improvement
___/____/____/____/____/Bury your head in the sand;
focus on busywork
___/____/____/____/____/Assume expectations
or don’t disclose them.
___/____/____/____/____/Don’t take responsibility.
Listen First___/____/____/____/____/Don’t listen; speak first, listen
___/____/____/____/____/Break commitments;
violate promises.
Extend Trust___/____/____/____/____/Withhold trust;
fake trust and then

High Trust Organization Dividends – Increased Value, Accelerated Growth

Oh, yes! We’re getting into high trust organization dividends now. Remember, when you add up the cost of all these taxes that are imposed in low-trust organizations, it’s apparent what the connection is between low trust, low speed and high cost.

Increased Value

The second dimension is customer value. As a result of the last five dividends, high-trust organizations are consistently able to create and deliver more value to their customers. This customer value, in turn, creates more value for other key stakeholders.

Stephen Covey

So, I thought about this recently with the last company I was working for. Remember I told you that it was a complete mess. The customers were the stakeholders. If it wasn’t for one customer, that place would be beyond quiet because she was able to bring friends in to study with her.

Nonetheless, after they relieved me, it was clear to the stakeholders that they weren’t cared about. The management had romanticized about what they wanted and not what the stakeholders wanted. This will doom your business if you let this happen. Failure will come so fast that you won’t know until your doors are locked up.

Accelerated Growth

High-trust companies outperform low-trust companies, not only in shareholder value, but also in sales and profits. Research clearly shows that customers buy more, buy more frequently, refer more, and stay longer with companies and people they trust. Plus, these companies actually outperform with less cost. It’s “Jim,” the donut and coffee guy writ large. The net result is not just accelerated growth, but accelerated profitable growth. As Vanguard Investments CEO John Brennan said, “Trust is our number one asset… customers learn to trust us, they generate surprising amount of growth.”

Stephen Covey

Customers buy more, buy more frequently, refer more, stay longer with companies and people they trust. That reminds me of one of my students. They’ve been with a language center for three years, so obviously the retainment is apparent, but now they’re going to start losing customers because of the bureaucracy, politics and not giving a damn about stakeholders.

Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 33 – Behavior #1 – Talk Straight

At one time I worked with a person who would never let you know where he stood on an issue until the decision was made and the wisdom of the decision was either validated or shown to be in error. You could never pin him down. However, once the decision was finally made and the results were in, he rode the winning horse and energetically asserted that had been his opinion all along.

At one point a very important proposal came up in our executive meeting. I knew that if we acted on this proposal, it would either be fantastic or it would bomb. As usual, this person said a lot in the meeting, but he really didn’t commit one way or the other.

Tired of his sidestepping, I wanted to have him on record as committing one way or the other. So that night I went to his home to talk with him. He knew that I was against the proposal. So when I asked him where he stood, he said, “oh, I am totally against it.”

The next day, in front of the entire group, I said to him, “Yesterday in our meeting it wasn’t clear to me where you stood on this issue. Would you please share your views?” The chairman of the company was at this meeting, and because this man knew that the chairman wanted to accept this proposal, he postured entirely differently than he had with me the night before.

Somewhat exasperated, I said to him, “That’s not at all what you said last night to me. You said that you were totally against it.”

“Yes, well that’s what I was thinking at that point, but….”

Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust

It doesn’t get any truer, does it?

Let me give you a story. I had a student who had come into my life back in June of last year. She was very open-minded and very friendly; however, during that specific course, she would say some things that would never be said in western culture. She would use ignorant gambits to try to bait me into getting angry about what she was saying. At this time, and following that, I should’ve dropped her and never taught her as a student. However, she requested me to teach her privately at the language center and she brought her girlfriend along.

All seemed well until days before Christmas when the bomb was dropped. Complaints were hurled and I was dropped as a teacher. Get this, just a day before, we spoke in the hallway as if nothing happened. It was head-scratching and laughable….and at the same time, I told myself: “if I ever have an overly friendly student, drop them.” Unless it’s on my personal website, I want to save the ignorance.

See, some people are two total opposites. I can careless about the situation, but I’m very scared about the individuals who have done that because if they’re planning on living overseas and do that, this can be a catastrophic problem. Yes, we do the same thing in America culture, but how they did it was completely unacceptable.

Guys, be straight. I shouldn’t have been teaching lazy, ignorant students past their due date. Yes, I stuck my neck out for them and tried my hardest to push them to getting a high score — only to get thrown under the bus. They surely should’ve had some problems dating back months, so why not drop me then? Why didn’t I communicate my ideas across before?

I learned.


Stephen Covey: Season 4 – Episode 32 – Second Wave – Relationship Trust

Welcome back to another blog, people! We’re getting into another phase of Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust, and this one is going to be a very enticing one. It’s time to start getting into the relationship aspect of things and breakdown what behaviors are.

The truth is that in every relationship — personal and professional — what you do has far greater impact than anything you say. You can say you love someone — but unless you demonstrate that love through your actions, your words become meaningless. You can say you want to engage in win-win negotiation — but unless your behavior shows that you really mean it, you will come across as insincere. You can say your company puts the customer first. You can say that you recognize people as your most important asset. However, unless you actually do them, your words will not build trust; in fact, they will destroy it.


You have to build it. A lot of people ask “how can I do it.”

Well, remember the caring person thing? If you’re not a caring person now — but you desire to be a caring person — then go out and behave in caring ways.

It may take time, but you have to take the initiative.

Building Trust Accounts

Remember my famous blog “the Emotional Bank Account?” Yeah, these are similar to what Sean Covey’s dad had written about in his book 30 years ago. Let’s go over them.

Each Trust Account is unique

Recognizing uniqueness can help you build each account more effectively. A 12-year-old’s account will be astonishingly different from a mid-20’s guy.

All deposits and withdrawals are not created equal.

Often the little things can be disproportionately large. Getting an email from someone about a natural disaster or some type of imminent danger would be much different from forgetting your partner’s birthday.

What constitutes a “deposit” to one person may not to another.

I had a situation rise that was similar to this. One of my friend’s thought staying out late would be a deposit if I’m bonding with other people, but I considered that to be a significant withdrawal.

Listen to “Stephen Covey: Season 4 – Episode 32 – Second Wave – Relationship Trust” on Spreaker.

Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 23 – The Final ‘S’ in Tasks

The biggest questions of a lifetime for business owners. You know, I was thinking about the time Jack Ma had to fire employees because of the problems he was having with Ali Baba. Through what Napoleon Hill has said, “Applied Faith,” he was able to see things through and work his way out of the rut, making a billion (and soon-to-be trillion) dollar empire. Here are your questions.

The biggest questions of a lifetime for business owners. You know, I was thinking about the time Jack Ma had to fire employees because of the problems he was having with Ali Baba. Through what Napoleon Hill has said, “Applied Faith,” he was able to see things through and work his way out of the rut, making a billion (and soon-to-be trillion) dollar empire. Here are your questions.

  • How effective is your current style in approaching problems and opportunities and interacting with others?
  • Does your approaching facilitate or get in the way of accomplishing what needs to be done?
  • What can you do to improve the way in which you go about doing things?

Lots of ideas came to mind about how well I handle situations. Room for improvement is wide-open, and I need to start feeling things gaps ASAP.

I can get considerably better when it comes to approaching problems. Example, there was an issue at an old job whereas a guy called me out in a number of ways. I shouldn’t have taken that lightly, and even more, I could’ve forwarded the emails and voice messages he had sent me to the owner. Regardless, because he’s white in a very pro-white country, he would’ve gotten a free-pass. But allowing people to get away with unruly behavior is even worse.

When it comes to interacting with others, I’m almost certain that I do an incredible job in that area because that’s one of my strongest points. I pick up energy signals very easily, and this is very important because if people come to me with jobs, I should be able to point them in the right direction of a good teacher, rather than one that would just tarnish my reputation.

An example would be a new employee (or new ones every week) at my job on the weekend. It’s none of my business, but because I’m good at picking up energy, there’s one specific new teacher that has “HORRIBLE” written all over him. If you guys listened/read my blogs from early last year, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I don’t give a second look or anything to these teachers. I don’t introduce myself because they’ve been the bane of my existence here. If they’re not someone who has ideas or anything, why even bother? Most of them complain or say some very sick things that pertains to under-age girls (yeah, welcome to Thailand). So, OQP (Only Quality People).

That’s in the world of business.

When it comes to my entrepreneurial world, I can seriously learn to get better at appropriating time slots for when I should be on social media. I feel if I leave notifications on all day, I can lose maybe 1-1.5 hours. So, as of today, I’ve turned them off and they’ve helped me considerably. The only messages I receive are of importance from my graphic designer. Facebook messages in the morning while commuting (anytime while commuting) is enough. Other apps at the same time. No FB at home or during my core hours.

This is how you can identify what’s working and what isn’t….so I suggest all of you do the same with the questions above!


Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 20 – The A in Tasks

Here’s the blog on the A in TASKS.

Let’s kick it off with important questions.

  • What are your attitudes about work?
  • ABout life?
  • About learning?
  • About yourself, your capabilities, and your opportunities to contribute?
  • Are there more productive attitudes and paradigms I could embrace that would help me create better results?

Huge questions for everyone to ask themselves.  See, the majority of us have a poor attitude about work.  Let me give you an example.  At the beginning of 2018, I was shoulder-shrugging my old job off.  I would go into my classes and not put ANYTHING into my lessons because one, I knew I was gone.  Two, my students weren’t putting any effort into what I was trying to teach them, so why would I even try?

Poor attitude, right? Sure….I was aware of it, but I was a month away from resigning and finally, that was the end.

However, I get paid about 15% less at the job I’m at right now.  Do I have that same attitude? Nope. Why? Because I love what I do.  I have clients around Bangkok that pay far more, so why would I still work at a place that’s unworthy of me, my purposes in life, and my goals? Because I love my students.

It’s not about the money….everything is about perception.

Are you ambitious about learning? I constantly buy new English learning books everyday to help better not only my teachings, but my students who receive the information.

I’m proactive about contributing, thus why I have a podcast that I’ve been paid only once in the past 3 years (and it just came a week ago).  I’m giving out this information essentially for free, but also paying to give it out.  See, it’s all about perspective.

Let’s look at some changes to our language.

It’s all about reactive versus proactive, right?

I have to go to work             or              I’m genuinely excited to go to work. 

I work like crazy and live for the weekends. 


I have a balanced life in which work, recreation, and rich relationships are all important parts. 


Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 16 – Choose Abundance

Abundance means that there is enough for everybody. The opposite –scarcity — says that there is only so much to go earound, and if you get it, I won’t. While scarcity may be a reality in some areas (such as competitive sports or forced grading curves), in most of the important things in life – such as love, success, energy, results, and trust — abundance is not only a reality, it is an attractor and generator of even more.

Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust

Extremely hard to believe, huh? I just went through a breakup, and although it feels like I have moved on, I’m not accepting that the other half has moved on, too. It’s almost as if I don’t want her to move on. It’s almost if I want her to regret making the decision to move on.

Ridiculous, huh?

Back in 2009, and with the last probably REAL relationship I had, I did everything it took to be ahead of her — to act more happy and everything would eventually follow. She got into a rebound relationship, and because I still hadn’t moved on at the time, I was crushed. Beyond belief.

Abundance, in terms of love, is something that is very hard for me to see. However, the other areas are definitely everywhere around us.


  • Do I believe that if i love other people, my own supply of love will be replenished — or diminished?
  • Do I believe that there’s room for other people to see things differently than I do…..and still be right?
  • Do I believe that, whatever my economic circumstances, I can share with and benefit others?

I love this following story about Oprah Winfrey.

Some role models show us clearly that whatever our past experience — even if it includes a painful and unfair childhood — we can rescript ourselves to create abundance in our lives and in the lives of others.

Consider Oprah Winfrey, who was raised in rural Mississippi by her grandparents and abused by a relative as a youth. She chose to reframe her circumstances and rise above them.


“I don’t think of myself as a poor deprive ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and i had to make good.”


“You should not be satisfied with being a victim, nor with being a survivor. You should aim to be a conqueror. there is an extraordinary quality of spirit that leads one to aspire to conquering rather than surviving. I hope you discover that spirit in yourself.”

Stephen Covey

These powerful role models serve us as powerful practitioners.

Listen to “Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 16 – Choose Abundance” on Spreaker.

Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 13 – Agenda & Behavior

The agenda generally inspires the greatest trust is seeking mutual benefit — genuinely wanting what’s best for everyone involved. It’s not just that you care about others; you also genuinely want them to win. Yes, you’re seeing a win for yourself; that’s natural, desirable, and to be expected. But you’re also seeking a win for all others involved. You recognize that life is interdependent, so you seek out solutions that build trust and benefit all.

The opposite of a mutual benefit agenda is a self-serving agenda: “I want to win — period.” If that’s your agenda, you might get results. But you need to ask yourself: Are these the best possible results I could be getting? And: Are these results sustainable over time? The answer to both of these questions is “no.”

Instead of building bridges of credibility and trust, you’re creating roadblocks of suspicion and distrust.

Stephen Covey

From a teaching standpoint, this is what you want. When it comes to teaching test preparation courses, that mutual benefit is vastly important. You have to not only brag about it to peers, but also workmates and the CEO, telling them “look what I made my student achieve?” Of course, the shoulder shrugs always happen, but once a student doesn’t achieve the score, the world falls on you.

That’s basically someone with a hidden agenda. Winners period? Politicians, obviously. Look at America’s 260-year history of presidency. It was all about “them” and never about “the people.” Thailand…most people set up karaoke bars (which are brothels) and other forms of business to get quick money. That only creates suspicion and distrust. I can pick out those types of characters from a mile away.

For those who actually commit these crimes against people, you will pay an extremely high task…which is often imprisonment, exile or other forms of governmental backlash.


  • Only 29% of employees believe that management cares about them developing their skills.
  • Only 42% believe that management cares about them at all.

An appalling statistics. I worked for a language center called New Education World, and for three years, there were only two workshops, both being held by pompous know-it-all Gen B’s that were the worst possible definition of a teacher trainer. I remember the first one was held in 2015, and there was a cancerous human being named Paul who took leadership of it. For one hour, he didn’t establish ANY sort of skill, insight or revelation that we could take with us home that evening. He literally talked bad about the students and talked about scanning, a technique that could be picked up easily in books.

In the next workshop, a guy from Alabama taught us about SAT, and again, another completely misguided workshop that didn’t make any sense, nor did it help teachers gain knowledge and position themselves to start teaching these particular subjects.

I had to learn on my own. More importantly, I got extremely lucky working at a very-tense language center last year (for a couple months), and while I was there, I was able to ask several teachers the ins and outs of specific things (which I do believe I’ve already forgotten).

I learned more in those two months than I learned in 3.5 years at my previous job.

As a manager or anyone of power, you need to learn how to train your employees and especially treat them.

A wonderful company that I teach at in the heart of the CBD informed me that they will be going on a trip to Japan (Hokkaido) in a couple of weeks. All paid for by the company….and get this, no meetings or anything. A pure holiday.

That’s how team-building works. I’m not saying send your employees overseas, but show them that you do care about the development of their skills.

Actionable Steps

  • As an employee, what skills can you further develop to put you in a greater position in the next few months?
  • As an employer, what can you implement now that will better your employees and benefit them going ahead in the future?


Listen to “Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 13 – Agenda & Behavior” on Spreaker.

Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 12 – What is Intent?

Motive. Motive is your reason for doing something. It’s the “why” that motivates “what.”

The motive that inspires the greatest trust is genuine caring — caring about people, caring about purposes, caring about the quality of what you do, caring about society as a whole. Think about it: Are you going to trust someone who could really care less about you? Or about work or about principles, or values, or anyone or anything else?


Stephen Covey

This is a very interesting story I’m going to tell you about the above statement. I have a friend, who I’m “KINDA” seeing, but when things go south, she disappears. There’s no communication, she simply ignores — just like my ex for like 11 years ago.

One of the darkest times in my life was when I constantly tried calling my ex to see if she’s ok, and she never picked up my phone. I knew she was around my phone 24/7, but she just didn’t want to pick it up. I finally talked to her and after she mocked me on the phone, I got so angry and began weeping out loud. My mother came upstairs, grabbed the phone and said, “Arsenio will talk to you later.” And my mom then left the room. It was the perfect mother moment…..but these are the glimpses of what this particular individual is showing.

After a complete lapse of judgement, I messaged her on a few occasions. Now, you guys know me well enough that I’m not a chaser. I don’t chase a soul. I sent maybe 3-5 messages throughout the day, and she didn’t read them. At night I sent a message saying, “good night…I know you’re ignoring me.”

Reply: “yes, good night.”

That reminded me of December 2008. The fact that the other person is so selfish to the point that they know what they’re doing and it’s wrong on the party, yet they’re doing it anyways, is completely unfair, childish, and ignorant. Not only that, but that was the second time.

So, what will I do? Taste of her own medicine? Or just move on?

Doesn’t really matter at this point. I’ve accepted fate….

Clearly, motive matters, and the motive of caring will do more than anything else to build credibility and trust. But what if you genuinely don’t care? What if your real motive is profit or accumulation or recognition — period? What if you really don’t care about customers or employees, family or friends, people on the streets and things around you?

If you really don’t care — and you don’t want to care — that’s fine. But you need to understand that you will pay a tax because of it.

You may think you’re already getting good results, but you need to ask yourself a bigger question: what am I leaving on the table?

Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust

So, if you really don’t care — and you have no intent to change — you’re generally much better off being transparent about it and simply recognizing that you’re paying a tax because of it.

Listen to “Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 12 – What is Intent?” on Spreaker.