Where can I apply the P/PC Balance?

Three major areas for the wisdom from the fable of The Goose And The Golden Egg.

In The Seven Habits, Stephen Covey coined the term P/PC balance. He categorizes the PC production capacity into three kinds of assets.

Three kinds of asset

The three kinds of assets are physical, financial, and human assets.

Physical asset: The lawnmower

When Stephen Covey used a newly bought powered lawnmower without maintenance for two seasons, it finally broke down. He wanted to revive it with service and sharpening but found the motor with less than half of the original capacity. As a result, the mower is now worthless.

Maintenance before it’s too late

If Stephen Covey had invested in preserving and maintaining the producing asset, his lawnmower, he could still enjoy the production, the mowed lawn. But, unfortunately, it now costs much more to replace the mower, and this simply isn’t effective.

Other examples of physical assets are cars, computers, our bodies, and the environment.

Beyond the physical assets, there are financial assets.

Financial asset: Capital

Many people invade capital to increase their standard of living. The capacity of the capital to generate interest and income therefore decreases. This simply isn’t effective.

Financial asset: Our capacity to earn

Our capacity to earn is the most important financial asset. Not investing in our ability to earn will limit our choices, resulting in a feeling that we are forever locked into our current situation. That makes us dependent and defensive. This simply isn’t effective.

Human asset: Humans

We are the most valuable assets because we have control over the physical and financial assets. When the production, the golden egg, can be done by a single person, this person is the producing asset. When the production is to be done by a group of people, the producing asset is the relationship.

We can look at the first example of parenting.

Your daughter’s clean room

Suppose you want your daughter to have a clean room. If you are overly focused on the clean room, which is the P, production, in the P/PC balance, the fastest way might be to nag, threaten, and yell at your daughter. The room might soon get cleaned, but you’ve undermined the production capacity, which includes your daughter’s trust and the relationship between you. This simply isn’t effective.

Two types of golden egg mentality in parenting

Parents sometimes become overly focused on producing results and fall into one of the two golden egg mentalities. The first type of mentality is authoritarian, which goes for the child's behavior change and demands it immediately. Parents threaten, intimidate, manipulate their children for quick fixes. On the other side of the spectrum is the second type of mentality, the permissive. Parents go for their own popularity, pleasing their children without boundaries, so they eventually grow up with no concept of discipline and responsibilities. Ignoring the production capacity, the goose, is simply not effective.

This mentality is often found in marriage, too.

The golden egg mentality in marriage

You might tend to focus on the benefits, the golden egg, in a marriage. You could become less interested in preserving the relationship that produces the benefits. You become insensitive and inconsiderate; stop being kind and courteous but demand the benefit of the opposite from the other. You might begin to use strategies of control and manipulation. You find ways to justify your position and even look for evidence that proves the wrongness of the other. This simply isn’t effective.

So what can we do exactly to shift some attention to the goose?

A Star War night with daughter

Stephen Covey often spends dedicated time to have a private date with each of his children. One time he was planning on a date with one of his daughters.

“Honey, tonight’s your night. What do you want to do?” He asked.

“I want to watch Star Wars… But, forget about it. You don’t like them.” She replied.

“Well, if that’s what you want, I want to do it,” He affirmed.

“I think the reason you slept through it last time is that you didn’t understand the Jedi Knight’s philosophy and training. They are actually the same as your teaching.” The daughter added.

“Really? Let’s go to Star Wars!” He got excited.

That experience turned out to be bonding and satisfying. The father became the student, listening to the daughter giving him the new paradigm.

I hope these stories and applications of the P/PC balance help you better understand what to do and how to apply it. They have certainly helped me tremendously.

If you find articles like this helpful, don’t keep your thoughts in your head. Go out and ACT. Sharing ideas like this with others strengthen your memory, and making a change in your actions accordingly gives you real-world feedback. I hope the best for you, and let’s keep the journey going.



Snippets rephrased and dissected from the legendary book by Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

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Po H

I coach for happiness. I take the stance that life is here for you to enjoy! 😉 When the foundation is taken care of, whatever you do will be a success! 😎