Sunday, December 24, 2006

Curious about Principles: What Are the Ones that You Live By?

Definitions of a Principle: (1) A source, or origin; that from which anything proceeds; fundamental substance or energy; primordial substance; ultimate element, or cause.
(2) A settled rule of action; a governing law of conduct; an opinion or belief which exercises a directing influence on the life and behavior; a rule (usually, a right rule) of conduct consistently directing one's actions; as, a person of principle.

I am presently listening to Stephen Covey presenting a live seminar on “Principle Centered Leadership.” Therefore, I have been thinking a great deal about principles and decided that this is a good time of year to write a blog about principles - how we embrace them, live by them, make use of them and understand them.

I also have been involved with a program called the “Happy, Healthy and Wealthy Game” - actually the “Game of Life.” We just had a section on the Law of Attraction. To follow up, I watched “The Secret” on my computer - WOW! Powerful! And, one of the spokespersons is James A. Ray, whose book “The Science of Success” I purchased earlier this year. I am just about finished reading it for the first time and Ray devotes it to the seven Power Principles: Understanding, Paradigms, Vision, Partnerships, Giving, Gratitude and Accountability. I am planning to put them to daily use as we enter 2007.

Being full of all of the focus on principles, I thought it would be interesting to find out what the experts have expressed:
  • Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.” - Abraham Lincoln, president
  • It's easy to have principles when you're rich. The important thing is to have principles when you're poor.” - Ray Kroc, businessman
  • General principles... are to the facts as the root and sap of a tree are to its leaves.” - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet
  • There are three constants in life... change, choice and principles.” - Stephen Covey, businessman
  • Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, president

Some quotations with a bit of a twist:

  • Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” - Groucho Marx, comedian
  • We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.” - Martha Graham, dancer
  • I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” - Leonardo da Vinci, artist
  • A man is usually more careful of his money than he is of his principles.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet

And, then as they relate to other fields:

  • Bottom up thinkers try to start from experience and move from experience to understanding. They don't start with certain general principles they think beforehand are likely to be true; they just hope to find out what reality is like.” - John Polkinghorne, physicist
  • And since geometry is the right foundation of all painting, I have decided to teach its rudiments and principles to all youngsters eager for art.” - Albrecht Durer, artist
  • I certainly feel that the time is not far distant when a knowledge of the principles of diet will be an essential part of one's education. Then mankind will eat to live, be able to do better mental and physical work and disease will be less frequent.” - Fannie Farmer, celebrity
  • In the span of my own lifetime I observed such wondrous progress in plant evolution that I look forward optimistically to a healthy, happy world as soon as its children are taught the principles of simple and rational living.” - Luther Burbank, environmentalist
  • Market principles are very competitive. There are more losers than winners, and the losers are in pain and sorrow.” - Mary Douglas, scientist

As always, I will leave you with some thoughts for the upcoming week:

  • Know the difference between principles based on right or wrong vs. principles based on personal gain, and consider the basis of your own principles.” - Marilyn vos Savant, writer
  • A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, president
  • “‘Think simple’ as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.” - Frank Lloyd Wright, architect

And, do have a wonderful and happy, happy Holiday Season! You are all in my heart and I am so grateful that you read and enjoy my blog.