We have all heard about or read Stephen R. Covey’s best seller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. This is a fantastic book on personal growth, empowerment, and self-mastery.

What you haven’t heard about is Stephen R. Roy’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Miserable People“. Well, now you have…

Even though Covey’s book has been read by millions of people, including me, the vast majority of us will not take any action towards applying these 7 principles. We instead will continue doing what we’ve always done and that’s drift through life hoping something great happens to us. Well, it WON’T!

I’m living a pretty miserable life right now and so are countless others. I’m working on myself as hard as I can to become un-miserable, and it is not easy! Through years of rigorous practice, I can speak from first hand experience about the habits that lead to a miserable existence.

I’ve decided to create 7 habits that miserable people fall victim to every day. These habits are the opposite of what successful, happy people do, yet we do them anyway. I’ve also created what I believe to be an effective solution to the problem at hand. Covey’s got nothin’ on me! Yea, right……

Here are my 7 habits matched up against Stephen Covey’s. We all know which one leads to a happy life, but which one is more prevalent?

Habit 1

Covey: Be proactive. Take initiative and realize that your decisions create your life.

Roy: Be inactive. Covey’s book tells us that rule #1 is being proactive, but that’s for winners. Miserable people are not winners. Inactivity breeds laziness, which in turn breeds lethargy and indifference.

When we’re miserable with a job or anything else, we get down. After being down for a while, we get depressed. When we’re depressed, we sit around thinking about how things should be better. But do we actually do anything about it? Nope.

We wallow in our misery, feeling sorry for ourselves and wait for things to change. Guess what, it ain’t gonna happen!

The Solution: We need get off our lazy asses and take ACTION right now! (you can finish reading this article first though). Seriously, we just need to get started by doing something positive.

I’ve gone through periods of some serious laziness and not wanted to do anything. Well, you know what? I MADE myself do the things I didn’t want to do. Was it fun? No, it sucked. However, after I got done cursing and complaining, I felt surprisingly good.

Habit 2

Covey: Begin with an end in mind. Discover your true values and life’s goals.

Roy: Have no goals whatsoever. Having specific and measurable long-term goals is an extremely powerful success tool, but we don’t use them. Fewer than 3% of people actually write out their goals. Big mistake.

Miserable people like to drift through life waiting for someone to throw us a bone. If we don’t know what we want, how in the hell are we going to get it? The answer is obvious. We don’t. We will end up sitting on our death beds thinking about what we would have, should have, and could have done. So sad.

The Solution: We need to do some thinking with this one. Many of us have no idea what we want from our lives. Sure we want family, happiness, money, etc., but what do we really want?


Finding what you believe to be your purpose in life is an incredible realization. It can literally change the course of your life. The problem is that most of us are wishy washy with what we want to be, want to accomplish, and want to eventually be remembered for.

If you have discovered what your life’s passion is, run with it. Put your heart and soul into it and don’t ever stop. When you know what you want your life to look like, it’s 100 times easier to create.

If you don’t yet have goals for your life, you can begin by starting small. There are a million resources out there about how to effectively set goals, so I won’t delve into that here.

Years ago, I bought an audio course (on cassette…sweet!) called The Psychology of Achievement by Brian Tracey. It was a fantastic tool for learning how to set goals and actually achieve them! I’m sure you can find the book on Amazon and is definitely worth your time.

Habit 3

Covey: Put first things first. Plan, prioritize, and execute your tasks based on importance.

Roy: Miserable people don’t plan or prioritize. Actually, we plan on being unhappy and sucking the life out of those around us. To the miserable person, the main goal of each day is to make it through the day. That’s about the extent of our plan.

Planning our future takes time and energy. We may or may not have the time, but we usually don’t have the energy. Walking around all day in a grumpy fog saps our energy and leaves us listless. How are we supposed to create great things when we have no interest in anything?

The Solution: What’s the most important thing on a miserable persons mind? I will tell you. It’s getting out of the situation(s) that are making us miserable. So, if we know what is most important to us, then we can create a list of what needs to happen to change it.

If it’s your job that is the issue, then at the top of your task list should be ideas for getting out of it.


While “quit my job” may be your goal, it’s not specific enough to help you. Start by figuring out what you’re going to do to replace your job and work backwards.

What are the steps that will lead to your eventual resignation? We will all take different paths to get there, so you need to figure out what will be yours.

Habit 4

Covey: Think win-win. Strive for mutually beneficial solutions.

Roy: Nobody wins. Why? Because life is too short, too cruel, and doesn’t care if we spend our lives wallowing in misery. Miserable people don’t want others to win because we are not winning ourselves. We are losing in our lives and we know it.

A successful person understands the importance of relationships and teamwork, while a miserable person is usually only concerned about themselves. How can we be team players or productive employees when the only thing on our minds is being someplace else?

The Solution: Start giving a shit about everyone else! If we can just get over it and stop feeling so damn sorry for ourselves, not only would we be happier, but we might actually be able to be a productive member of society.

Deep down, we all care about other people. We just need to bring those feelings to the surface and let the world know we’re here! My advice would be to begin interacting with others via whatever medium you prefer. If it’s Twitter, start chatting with people, promote others work, and give back. Ceaseless self-promotion is selfish and is easily seen through.

Habit 5

Covey: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Become an empathetic listener and allow yourself to be influenced by others.

Roy: We understand that life can suck. A miserable person has an extremely difficult time listening, because all we hear is the negatives. Our sour dispositions give us selective hearing and we tune out most everything else. We find ourselves being influenced by all the worlds negativity (and there is no shortage of it), and not allowing ourselves to see all that’s good.

The Solution: Empathetic listening is one of the great skills a person can possess. It takes practice, but can be done. Do I consider myself such a listener, umm ask my wife and you will get the answer….no.

We are all in a constant state of learning and I’m reminded of this fact quite often by my friend, Nick Cardot, who runs SiteSketch101. If we are ever going to better ourselves we must continue learning. I strongly suggest surrounding yourself with people who will offer you good advice, positive feedback, and honesty.

Habit 6

Covey: Synergize. Achieve goals through positive teamwork.


Roy: You are alone in life. I can speak from experience on this one. When you are extremely unhappy with your life situations, there is a strong feeling of isolation. Maybe it’s that we don’t want to bring others down or maybe we just want to keep our thoughts to ourselves. It’s a horrible thing to feel alone, especially when you have a support group like a family or close friends to help you out.

The Solution: It’s time to get out of our comfort zones on this one. We may not want to get out there and start building peer relationships, but it has to be done if we are ever going to change. I would suggest finding or starting a mastermind group (I’m working on it too) with individuals in your field.

The key is to realize that we are not alone and can benefit tremendously from the wisdom of others. On the flip side, we can all offer up something of value to those around us, even if its just our experiences.

Habit 7

Covey: Sharpen the saw. Create a long-term effective lifestyle.


Roy: You’re as sharp as a wet Frisbee. Let’s face it, people are stupid. OK, not ALL people, but there are more out there than we would like to believe.

Miserable people don’t create an effective lifestyle mainly because they are not effective. They may be effectively wasting their lives working a mundane, pointless job, but they are not taking control of their lives and making something good happen.

The Solution: Sharpening your skill set, cleaning up your bad habits, and committing to daily action are all things that will help get your life on the track you want. Of course, you actually have to decide what you want your lifestyle to look like first, but once you do, it’s time to turn it into a reality.

The Conclusion

I’m trying to decide whether or not I should publish this in print because I think having a New York Times Best Seller banner would look great in my sidebar. Yes?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my incredibly profound words of wisdom here (and the longest post I’ve ever written) and look forward to your comments, opinions, and unsubscribes emails….

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