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  • Writer's picturejoel

My 8 Principles that Guide Me.

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

As we go through life, it is important to have guiding principles to help us make decisions, navigate challenges, and stay true to who we are. These principles shape our character, values, and worldview. Here are my personal principles to live by, which have been instrumental in shaping the person I am today.

In the fall of 1991 I experienced a paradigm shift in my worldview that completely disrupted my outlook on life. I had to make a decision about what I am going to live for. That day I made this list in about an hour and I have worked hard to make these my personal mantra ever since. They are my lighthouse. When I am lost or lose track of the dangerous rocks, I can always come back to these solid truthes to help me find my way. These have become the focus of my self-talk.

1. It's not about me - The world does not revolve around us, and it is important to remember that we are not the center of everyone else's universe either. We should approach each day with a sense of humility and a willingness to put others' needs before our own. This mindset helps us build stronger relationships, practice empathy, and cultivate a spirit of generosity.

2. No one owes me anything - We live in a world where people are quick to demand their rights and complain when they don't get what they want. However, this entitlement mentality is toxic and breeds resentment and frustration. Instead, we should approach each day with the understanding that no one owes us anything. This mindset helps us focus on what we can control and motivates us to work hard for the things we want in life.

3. No excuses - We are responsible for our own actions, and it is essential to take ownership of our mistakes and failures. Instead of making excuses or blaming others, we should take responsibility for our mistakes and work to fix them. This not only shows maturity and integrity but also helps us learn from our experiences and grow as individuals.

4. If I broke it, I fix it - This principle is closely related to the previous one. When we make a mistake or cause harm to others, it is important to take steps to repair the damage we have done. This might involve apologizing, making restitution, or simply being more mindful in the future. By taking responsibility for our actions, we demonstrate accountability and earn the respect of others.

5. Responsibility comes before freedom - Freedom is a precious commodity, and we all value our independence. However, true freedom only comes with responsibility. Before we can enjoy the benefits of freedom, we must first accept the responsibilities that come with it. This includes making choices that reflect our values, working hard, and being accountable for our actions. By taking responsibility, we earn the right to enjoy true freedom.

6. Finish what you start - It is easy to start a project or task with enthusiasm, only to lose interest or give up when the going gets tough. However, this type of behavior sends a message of unreliability and can negatively impact our relationships and reputation. To avoid this, we should only start tasks that we are committed to completing. By finishing what we start, we demonstrate determination, discipline, and integrity.

7. I am not a victim - It can be tempting to play the victim, especially when life throws us a curveball. However, this victim mentality is limiting and ultimately holds us back. Instead, we should embrace the idea that we are in control of our own lives and are responsible for our own happiness. This mindset helps us overcome adversity and find strength in difficult situations.

8. Stand out from the crowd - In a world that values conformity and sameness, it can be difficult to stand out and be unique. However, it is essential to remember that our individuality is what makes us special and valuable. Instead of blending in with the crowd, we should embrace our quirks, interests, and passions and let our individuality shine through. This not only helps us build a stronger sense of self-identity but also allows us to make a positive impact on the world.

What other life guiding principles to live by would you add to this list?

Curious about what flipped my world? Just ask.

Joel Smith

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