Your Guiding Principles
Author: Catherine Pulsifer © 2011
Whether we realize it or not, each one of us has guiding principles that guides our life in the choices we make. Most of us do not even realize what they are; they are just ingrained in our beliefs . If you were to make a list of what your guiding life principles are, what would they be?
What You Need To Know
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, made a list of his guiding principles. These principles were fundamental in how Mr. Jefferson lived his life.
I. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
II. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
III. Never spend your money before you have it.
IV. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
V. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
VI. We never repent of having eaten too little.
VII. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
VIII. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
IX. Take things always by their smooth handle.
X. When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.
Write Them Down and Use Daily
Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, however many of his words of wisdom still apply today and are good principles to live by. If you had to write down your ten guiding principles, what would they be? Once you’ve written them down, ask yourself if your life is reflective of these principles.
Guiding principles in your life are extremely important today just as much as they were at the time of Jefferson. There are countless issues and challenges you will face through your life that will push hard against your principles assuming that you have strongly established them within your mind, attitudes and actions. These testing issues can arise from the most unusual situations, or can happen to you at work depending on your particular circumstances.
You Will Be Tested Constantly
Take for example, a person who has strong guiding principles that have not him or her to lie – that is, they are honest and forthright and have lived that creed daily. Then, they are promoted over the years to a senior manager’s position and come face to face with what may at first appear to be a terrible dilemma. This dilemma is that you are told to tell a story, a lie in fact, to union members that just isn’t true. Senior staff wants you to make sure that the union does not know the truth because it would cause senior management total embarrassment and would jeopardize union relationships for many years to come. What do you do? Do you go along with perpetrating the lie for it will have to come from your mouth and you will carry the weight of any adverse reactions? What do you do? What do your guiding principles tell you?
How To Resolve Issues
Your guiding principles clearly tell you that the action asked for by senior staff is absolutely wrong. Your principles tell you that you should tell the truth. If you go along with what senior staff wants you to do, you will be doing what they want and will not jeopardize your job but you will seriously violate your own ethics. Or, do you just do it this once and say never again?
The real test of the strength of your personal ethics or principles is what you decide to do. If you violate your own ethics, you set a terrible pattern in motion where you put yourself forward as one who will easily change their ethics as the direction of the wind blows.
How much is your cherished ethics worth to you?
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
” I have ever deemed it more honorable and more profitable, too, to set a good example than to follow a bad one.” Thomas Jefferson
“Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy, but my friend, these I reckon will give you a good lift.” Abraham Lincoln
“May we, in our dealings with all the peoples of the earth, ever speak the truth and serve justice.” Dwight Eisenhower
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