What's a Principle?
Principles are natural laws. Gravity is a principle. If you toss an apple into the air, it will come down, regardless of whether you live in New York or New Delhi, or whether you're alive today or in 2,000 B.C.
Just as there are principles that govern the physical world, there are principles that govern human interaction. Honesty, for example, is a principle. If you are honest with other people, you will earn their trust. If you are dishonest, you may fool people for some time but you'll eventually be found out - always. Other examples of principles are hard work, respect, service, focus, patience, responsibility, love, renewal, choice, and justice. There are dozens more.
The following is a transcript of an apocryphal radio conversation between a U.S. naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland. It illustrates what we mean by principles.Americans:
"Please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision."Canadians:
"Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision."Americans:
"This is the captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again, diver YOUR course."Canadians:
"No, I say again, you divert YOUR course."Americans:
"This is the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I Demand that you change your course 15 degrees north. That's one-five degrees north, or countermeasures will be taken to ensure the safety of this ship."Canadians:
"This is a lighthouse. Your call."
Principles are like lighthouses. They're timeless, universal, and self-evident. You can't break principles; you can only break yourself against them, no matter who you are.
Since principles can never fail us, they are the best possible things to center our lives on. By centering on principles, all the other important aspects of our lives - friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, school and family - find their proper place. Ironically putting principles first is the key to doing better in all these other areas.Compiled From:
"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make"
- Sean Covey, pp. 17, 18http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=1049602440&msgid=31079841&act=216G&c=68038&admin=0&destination=http://shopping.franklincovey.com/shopping/catalog/productbooks.jsp?navAction%3Dpush%26crc%3Dcat30019%26navCount%3D0%26id%3Dprod1640022