Principles are the foundation from which a person’s values are established. They shape decisions and perceptions of the surrounding world, provide a personal navigation system, and define good from bad. A person’s Principles are the essence of what a person is and what they stand for. Accepting this, the significance and importance of personal Principles becomes obvious. So too is revealed why opinions are shared so quickly and often by the surrounding world.
Authority figures and common people alike share ideas of right and wrong. The world is quick to share opinions and reactions to current events, the actions of other people, and any and all other happenings. A person’s Principles are woven throughout their commentary. With increasingly more avenues by which individuals are able to share their commentary; it is understood that an individual’s Principles are under constant barrage of competing and complimenting ideas. It can further be understood how Principles can be unintentionally altered when meeting such a volume of outside influence. Personal Principles; therefore, must be reviewed and evaluated regularly to maintain clear alignment with philosophy and goals.
Useful to the discussion is breaking down major categories of Principles:
- Internal – Internal Principles are those Principles that are the bedrock of a personal philosophy. These play the largest role in shaping a strong individual’s world view. These are held with the utmost conviction and are the most clearly defined to the individual. These are the unnegotiable Principles of the individual.
- External – External Principles are the principles held by the surrounding community. These are the principles that are broadcasted by others and are responsible for challenging personal values. Those weaker of conviction will allow these external Principles to dictate their values, actions, and perceptions.
- Pseudo-Internal – External influences are unavoidable and will act upon the internal Principles of an individual. Pseudo-internal Principles is a term coined to define those Principles that are made to feel important to an individual but are ultimately a conflict of internal Principles with outside influences. These Principles often feel unauthentic when pursued and cause internal conflict and confusion as they are regarded as important; however, are not of true importance to the individual.
The first goal in evaluating principles is to resolve all pseudo-internal Principles. As discussed above, these Principles are corrupted internal Principles and must be recategorized into an internal or external Principle and from there accepted or rejected. If identified as an external Principle, it must be identified as one that can either coexist with internal Principles or one to be avoided. Resolving pseudo-internal Principles removes uncertainty and doubt in an individuals philosophy and values.
Second to this is the goal of validating and prioritizing the values being pursued. While a person’s principles generally do not change much; the attached values and the pursuits of these values will marginally shift and morph as an individual grows. It is through this evaluation process that the opportunity to optimize efforts is realized.
There are potentially difficult realizations and decisions that will be revealed through this process. The nature of external influence is that it comes from the surrounding community, potentially from those people that are in one’s inner circle – those closest to an individual. If expectations have been established between an individual and their surrounding community, explicitly or otherwise, it may become realized that those expectations will ultimately not be fulfilled if they conflict with the Principles of the individual. These conflicts must be addressed and resolved in order to move forward.
Regardless of what is found through this process, the importance of performing these steps cannot be compromised by the findings. The resulting decisions must be made with conviction, confidence, and purpose in order to realign one’s values with their Principles. This is critical to forging on the path toward the life a person wants to live.
Evaluate Principles and remain true to self.
In the follow-up Transmission, External Influence: The Community, I take a closer look at the role and impacts one’s community can have on values.
Yours in strength,