Principles are defined as “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.” (Dictionary, 2000) Whether we realize it or not, we all have some sort of principles. They are derived from what we’ve been taught, what we’ve read, what we’ve seen, and what we’ve experienced. The principles we create for ourselves are those “rules” we live by.  There are many different types of principles. Some examples would be being honest or treat all people with respect. Principles are the bedrock of who we are as a person.

Developing strong principles leads to a good life. Living by your own code will keep you at peace. Having good values can help you fade regret out of your life. Regret comes down to two simple things: regret of doing something and regret of not doing something. When your code of ethics is one that forbids you from doing harm to others, you will not have regrets for your actions. When your code requires you to put your best foot forward and take a well calculated risk, you will not have regrets because you took a chance. Developing strong principles and living by them will help eliminate regret from your life.

Great things are in store for those with great character. People are drawn to people of integrity. People will want to be around you and great opportunities will come your way when you are a person of high moral character. If things are not going well for you in life and opportunities are not flowing in, maybe it is a sign you need to improve yourself. We are never perfect and we can always improve. The more we grow, the greater we become. The greater we become, the more effect our voice has in our world. If you feel ignored, then it is time to focus on creating worthy principles and follow them.  (Moral standards is an example of types of principles).

We respect people for many different reasons – negative or positive attributes. These people influence our choices in principles and it is therefore important to have a good look at those we hold in esteem. How are they regarded?  Are people fearful of them? Do they treat you well? Are they honest? Kind?  Try to respect people who have strong moral principles and don’t rule by fear.

If you admire a person for their honesty, you can decide to live by the principle “to always tell the truth.” If you admire someone for their work ethic, you can live by the principle “to always give your all for the things you care for.” If you admire someone for the love they express to others, you can live by the principle “to always show love and be a bright spot in people’s days.” I learned that a lot of the people I read about and considered great in my life were people who radiated positive energy. So, I decided to live by the principle “to live life full of positive energy” and, over time, began to develop the trait that I admired so much in others. It is amazing how in life when you make a definite decision, things begin to fall in place. You can develop the trait you respect in others when you make the decision to become what you like in them.

You will be tested when you develop your code of principles and live by them. Whenever you feel pressure from the others to act contrary to your beliefs, ask yourself, “Who am I if I don’t do what I should do?” “Who am I if I betray what I hold most sacred?”  “Who am I if I am a bystander to wrong?” This will help get you to do what you know you have to. In the times I didn’t do what I needed to do, I felt terrible and learned from these mistakes. These moments caused me to say to myself, “I don’t ever want to feel like that again.” The amount of times that I have had that feeling of remorse are fewer and fewer the more I embody the principles I live by.

There is no greater joy in life than doing what you know is right. Showing your love for others, working valiantly to achieve something great, standing up for the person who needs it, being there for others in their darkest times, or whatever is righteous. Having a strong set of principles gives you a moral compass to follow in life. As Gordon A. Eadie said, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”[1]

Good principles lead to avoiding great pitfalls.

Activity

Write down what you value most in life.

Write down what makes you consider someone a great man or woman.

Write out principles that are in accordance with your values that you are willing to live by i.e. always be there for my family and friends, don’t speak badly about others, always tell the truth, etc.…

Start small with a few principles and try to exemplify them for the next week. You might find more meaning in your everyday life than ever before.

 

 

Exercise 10

 

What do I value most in life? Family? Friends? Education? Wealth? Success?

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What is it about someone that makes me consider them a great person?

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What principles can I bring into or enforce in my life that would hugely improve it?

 

 

What are my principles based on? My values?

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[1] 1945 January, Mental Hygiene, Volume 29, Number 1, “The Over-All Mental-Health Needs of the Industrial Plant, with Special Reference to War Veterans” by Gordon A. Eadie, M.D. (Affiliation: Eastern Aircraft Division, General Motors Corporation, Linden, New Jersey), Start Page 101, Quote Page 103, Published by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, Inc., New York. (Verified on microfilm)

 

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