Go to the principles office!

Todays post is inspired by Seth Godins’ blogpost, Principle is Inconvenient.

A principle is an approach you stick with even if you know it might lead to a short-term outcome you don’t prefer. Especially then.

It’s this gap between the short-term and the long-term that makes a principle valuable. If your guiding principle is to do whatever benefits you right now, you don’t have principles of much value.

Stand by your word

When you’re guided by a principle, follow through, even when it doesn’t benefit you. If one of your principles is to always be there for your friends if they’re in need, then you must help them even if you have other plans.

My Dad has always been great at that, a quality I’ve always admired. Reliable and trustworthy. He was, and still is, incredibly committed to the youth rugby scene in my province. Turning up every week, rain hail or shine. Getting there early to set up, turn the heat on in the winter and leaving late to ensure everyone is safe. True dedication. Especially when there is no monetary reward attached.  I remember when I was young, he would be up late on a weekday evening after a long day at work getting in contact with all the players about upcoming travel plans for games. This was pre-email and text where it took an entire evening to do what would take 3 minutes now. No complaints, just dedication to the task in hand.

Developing a framework of principles for your life will make decision making much simpler. A principle is an approach you stick with even if you know it may lead to a short term outcome you don’t prefer. Getting up at 6am every day might mean that you have to go to bed earlier than you like, can’t stay out as late with your friends and will have to fight off the desire to lie on in bed. You develop these principles to align you with long term goals. To guide you through murky waters.

If you don’t know what you stand for and what your guiding principles are, your time is being wasted not making solid decisions.