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.


The Emotional Bank Account Course is Officially LIVE!

So, after my blog has gotten a significant amount of views over the years (as well as podcast plays), I’ve finally put together a video course to teach everyone about The Emotional Bank account.  With loads of actionable items, this could be your introduction into personal development/self-improvement.  Because we’re always engaged in communication, whether it’s family & friends, colleagues, etc…we’re unaware of the emotional damage we may be causing because of our continual withdrawals.  In this course, there are six sub-areas you’re going to learn and build on. 

  • Understanding The Individual
  • Attending to The Little Things
  • Keeping Commitments
  • Clarifying Expectations
  • Showing Personal Integrity
  • Apologizing Sincerely When You Make a Withdrawal

At the completion of this course and with the actionable steps at the conclusion of each video, you will begin to take significant strides in putting more into your daily relationships. 

The Emotional Bank Account

Restoring Societal Trust

Restoring trust on the societal level means rebuilding trust in countries, institutions, industries, professions, and in other people generally. it includes counteracting suspicion and cynicism and replacing it with contribution, value creation, and ethical behavior.

Stephen M. Covey

Wow, kind of a big one, right? I mean how can we rebuild trust in institutions? They’ve been milking citizens for years while putting them in heavy debt.

How about countries? Can I restore trust in Thailand? Well, with proper documentation, no one has the right to ask me about any form of documentation unless I’ve done something wrong.

Professions? Tough to restore trust in teachers because I know the “teachers” here have a more insidious agenda. If I go back to the Americas, I know that the majority of them perpetuate bullying and they also perpetuate bad education (or maybe old education that is no longer suitable for a rapidly changing society).

What we can control, though….

Contribution: regardless of everything that has happened to you and the things you’ve gone through both in the education realm and living in countries where you’ve been marginalized, make a contribution. If you believe something needs to be addressed, fill the need.

Value Creation: I was recently listening to Jay Shetty when he was on stage at MindValley’s A-Fest and he talked about creating value through education, but also have a deeper meaning that’s involved within his content. Very powerful stuff. How can you create value, for free, and plant the seeds today so that they can blossom tomorrow?

How to Build your brand

Building your brand. Talk task, right? Let’s start off with some basic questions.

  • Who do you want to be seen as online?
  • What is your message?
  • What is it you’re trying to build and help people with?

It’s always the “help.” Understand when you’re trying to become an entrepreneur, the moment you start thinking about your own pockets, you lose. The new wave of entrepreneurs seek to help people who are in need of something specific.

Brand Fundamentals

Depending on what country you’re on, be careful. I’m saying this because my brand online is known as The Arsenio Buck Show or anything Arsenio Buck. Now, can people defame me? Can they throw shame on my name? No, they have zero firepower, unless they are Thais bringing up things I said about 5 years ago — which I won’t apologize for (and in regards to the racism I’ve been through).

When it comes to Business Brand, there are some big questions I must address. If I quit a single job at a bank here in Thailand, how much can that hurt my name? Well, I would never be able to work for the company ever again because I’m using my name (brand) to work there. However, there isn’t a distaste when you actually hear the name Arsenio Buck. It’s more like, “oh, he’s the teacher that quit because he was sick of being treachered, two-faced and snowballed by everyone.” Not, “omg, he tried seducing his students,” (you’d be surprised what some nasty FOREIGNERS do here).

Nonetheless, if you already have a brand, here are some questions you need to ask.

  • Does my brand have Integrity? Do we have a reputation for honesty? Do we have values people believe in and can trust? Do we have a reputation in the market for courageously addressing tough issues quickly and for honestly admitting and repairing mistakes?
  • Does my brand demonstrate good intent? Are we perceived as simply “out to make a profit,” or do people feel that we genuinely care, that we want to help others win?
  • Does my brand demonstrate Capabilities? Do people associate our name with quality, excellence, continuous improvement, and the ability to change to maintain relevance in a global economy age? Are we recognized as having the ability to accomplish our objectives in ways that build trust?
  • Is my brand associated with Results? Do people feel we deliver what we promise? Is a good track record associated with our name? Are people willing to answer “yes!” ?


Stephen Covey: Families are Trust Organizations, too!

We’re back with family organizations and the speed of trust! Everything I’ve talked about up to this point, in this chapter, applies just as powerfully to the family as it does to any other organization.

Families have greater trust when they are aligned, when they have structures and systems that recognize values and reward high-trust behavior, when they have symbols that communicate the paradigms that create high-trust relationships.

Stephen Covey

Food for thought…

The rewards system: When he wins a game, you have a huge celebration and take him out to dinner. When he brings home an A, you merely say, “Good job!”

The communication system: Every week you ask him excitedly, “when’s the next game?” You talk about his grades only once a quarter when report cards come out.

The decision-making system: Everything you do as a family is based on the next game, the next event. Grades are never a part of the decision.

The structure: Your son makes his own decisions relative to when he goes to bed, how much television he watches, and how much time he spends with his friends — regardless of his grades.

I thought this was super interesting. Although I’m not for grades or anything that pertains to academics, given the fact that everything can now be searched on google, but the fact that we put more focus on particular things then we do others. When a child, and as this particular child grows up, he ends up noticing that sports is more important than anything else, including family? Perhaps!

  • Does our family have Integrity? Are the values clear, and do rules and guidelines (structures and systems), and the behavior of the parents support those values? Is there an environment of honesty and humility? Do family members have the courage to express their ideas and opinions freely, and do they do so with respect?
  • Does our family have good intent? Have we structures a culture of respect and caring? Is the agenda mutual benefit, or is it just the adults, or children, who win? Do our systems reward cooperation?
  • What are our family’s capabilities? Does the structure provide for and encourage development and growth? Is it safe to learn by making mistakes? Are systems in place to help children develop the life skills they will need to succeed as adults?
  • What Results does our family produce? Are systems in place to create joy in shared accomplishment? Is there an abundance of rich interaction, support, and love? Are family members achieving important goals, both individually and as a family?


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.

Holding Others Accountable + Trust Tips

It’s vastly important to understand how much accountability builds trust in culture. When leaders don’t hold people accountable, the opposite is true. People feel it’s unfair: “Well, look what he did….and he got off free!”

It creates a sense of disappointment, inequity, and insecurity. You see this a lot in families where discipline is inconsistent, where a parent will hold one child accountable and not another, or will hold a child accountable in one situation and not another.

The Fight

This was probably one of my most disappointing moments in my life (that relates to my family). For whatever reason, my brother approached me at band practice and tried fighting me. It was funny because I was just standing on the field, waiting for the instructor to hit the “go,” and then my brother said something blatantly rude, like he always does.

I was like, “huh?” And then I defended myself when he got completely belligerent. So, his friend at the time, who’s still the biggest asshole today, took him home before me so he can tell my mother what happened. I got home and both my mother and him teamed up on me. She literally listened to his story without hearing my side, even if she knew how manipulative he was. This is an example of her holding me accountable for something I didn’t do versus sitting us both down and saying, “hey, enough. What happened — happened. Get up stairs.”

Trust Tips

  • Listen to your language and to your thoughts. When things go wrong and you find yourself blaming or accusing others, stop. Draw back and ask yourself, How can I close the window and focus on the mirror? In your mind, compare the difference in establishing trust between an approach of blaming and pointing fingers versus an approach of taking personal responsibility.
  • At work, Practice Accountability by holding your direct reports accountable for their actions. Always clarify expectations first so that everyone knows what they’re accountable for and by when. When people account to you, allow them to evaluate themselves first against the results you’ve agreed upon (most people will be tough on themselves than you’ll be); then follow through with the agreed-upon or natural consequences of people performing (or not). Remember, the people you rely upon most in your company — the performers — like to be held accountable and want others to be held accountable, too.
  • Look for ways to create an environment of accountability in your home. Set up trust talks with your partner on matter you’ve agree to work together on, such as finances. Create agreements with your children concerning their responsibilities at home, and include consequences — both natural and logical, both good and bad. Follow through on your agreements. Give family members a person — and a culture — they can trust.

Practicing Accountability

Practicing accountability. Man, how hard is it to be accountable for other people’s actions? I mean, it’s easy to say “hey, you’re not performing on the job. Please get your act together!” But if you’re selling and getting clients, but you never come through because you don’t have the teachers to deliver the results….you LOSE!

Old Job Marketing Executive

Ok, old job and a guy by the name of WHO CARES is great at telling the clients what they want to hear. He gets an enormous amount of clients around BKK. However, because he works for a language center that lacks the teachers that can deliver results, his reputation and capabilities take a significant hit.

That’s like most NBA/NFL franchises. They promise the world, salaries, help, championships, but they never deliver to those individuals who they promise. This is when you make a bad name for yourself.

At some stage of my career, I’m going to probably have to employ staff (teachers), but this really scares the hell out of me because I know most aren’t capable of getting the job done. That’s why I would love to hold my own workshops, create my own courses, deliver all the materials by myself.

This behavior is built on the principles of accountability, responsibility, stewardship, and ownership. The opposite of this behavior is to not take responsibility, to not own up, but rather to say, “It’s not my fault.” Its counterfeit is to point fingers and blame others, to say, “It’s their fault.”


Speed of Trust: Season 4 – Episode 50 – Example of Getting Better: Seek Feedback

Seeking and effectively utilizing feedback are vital to quality improvement. In my own life, feedback has been a part of every successful endeavor I’ve been involved in, from internal surveys and external customer visits at work to regularly asking Jeri, “what can I do to make life better for you?” at home.

Appropriately seeking feedback and acting on it is the hallmark of learning, growing, innovating company. Marriott International sends me an email feedback request nearly every time i stay at one of their hotels. asks me to rate every order I place through a third-party seller, and my feedback becomes part of that affiliate’s performance rating. Almost all large organizations do some type of employee feedback survey, asking questions about employee satisfaction, engagement, etc. What differentiates the best from the good companies is not whether they ask the questions, it’s how they respond to answers.

Feedback is so vital to improvement that, as I’ve said, we’ve included an in-depth 360 degree trust feedback instrument as part of our Speed of Trust programs.

Stephen Covey – Speed of Trust

Guys, went it comes to seeking advice, you have to seek advice from the right people.

Let me give you a great example of seeking good advice and bad advice.

Harry = Bad Advice

Harry considered himself many things, but being a coach certainly wasn’t one of them. As pompous as he was, if I asked him a question about something testy, he would say “you don’t know the answer to that?” He would then conjure up that I was incapable because of the question, therefore taking would-be classes away from me. Not to mention, he would tell his over 60 buddies how incompetent I was.

Bad advice from a bad person.

Richard/Another Teacher (don’t know his name) = AMAZING advice!

Richard was already a sound mentor at the same test preparation course. He sat in a class while I was teaching and took notes about what I was doing. This was constructive criticism, but after having the meeting with him, I realize that was the best criticism I ever received in my life. His feedback was unbelievably VALUABLE and I even took notes. I wanted to further that and do a follow-up session, too. So, make sure you’re coachable, or at least willing to hear someone out.

I then asked another guy from England about something specific when it came to IELTS writing essays and then he brought out the books, information, and this guy was a pure god. He had taught the course over 4,000 hours. A genius. I was suppose to have a coffee/drink with him, but things got tangled up and I never worked there again because one, too far. Two, I’m not waiting for work. Waiting for money and waiting for someone to fill your pockets is the quickest way to demise.