What Are Your Life Principles?
They are the roots of your life.
“Let your thoughts be ruled by principle, and then live up to your thoughts.” — Wallace D. Wattles
Have you ever written your core principles down?
I reflected on this question recently. Shockingly, I have yet to write down any of my own principles. They exist in my notes. They float around in my head. But they should be front and center every day.
If you are in the same boat, let’s do this together!
Start with just a few principles.
Provide a summary of each one in your own words.
Put them somewhere prominent as inspiration and motivation.
Review and update the list each week.
I’m going for extra credit with the five life principles currently at the forefront of my mind. Each one has proven incredibly valuable to me as someone seeking a virtuous and happy life.
The meaning of life is unique to you. Find your "thing." Focus on action with intrinsic rewards. Adopt the flow mindset of a child. Prioritize love, happiness and fulfillment.
Actions form your identity. You ARE what you DO. You can dream up another person in your head, but action is a requirement. Do what the person you aspire to be would do.
Small, continuous improvements compound over time. Place small bets. Limit the blast radius of failure. Improve continuously through deliberate practice. Leverage the power of compounding through consistency.
Positive events require celebration. Negativity tends to stand out in memories. Enjoy life's journey to the fullest by celebrating every win, no matter how small. Celebration amplifies the good in your life.
Small gestures benefit from network effects. Your kindness to one person promotes kindness to others. Each small gesture ripples out like a wave, gaining in strength as it touches more lives.
These principles are now front and center in the “home note” of my note-making system. I will see them multiple times a day and be reminded of what is most important in my life.
If you do the same, we can compare notes when we meet. I look forward to the wisdom you have gained!
As you know, I am a fan of your writing so my critique today is written in the spirit of engagement. I believe you to be correct in advising us to be aware of the fundamental beliefs that frame our actions and from whose paradigm we construct our judgement of ourselves and others. Given that it so important, we need I think, to be especially carefully with our taxonomy and not confuse Instructions with the Principles from which they are derived.
The 10 Commandments are with one exception an instructional manual not a list of principles. Likewise your list contains one (almost) principle and four instructions which presumably are derived from underlying principles or „incontravertible truths“ that you believe to be foundational. „You are what you do“ is the closest you come to a principle and from it you derive behavioural habits and admonishments which, presumably, are the practical implication of believing that to be both true and important. Attached to that principle is a derived value of authenticity or integrity.
I think the distinction is much more than just semantics. If you think you are articulating principles but are in fact writing a recipe, then you will soon bump up against the limits of your recipe in helping you deal with adversity, moral conflict or questions of personal theology. An instruction manual just isn‘t up to the same job that principles are when the wind blows fiercely in our lives.
If you wanted to examine a book built on a recipe list that has its taxonomy right from the start then you could do worse than Stephen Covey‘s „7 Habits“ - he explicitly does not call them 7 Principles although their formulation comes close to statements of principle.
I don‘t want to hog your comments sectiom or detract from your piece - especially as you quoted William D. Wattles from his excellent and (incomprehensibly) totally ignored „The Science of Getting Rich“ at the start of the essay - but I would be very interested in knowing the principles that led to the creation of your commandments!