Living by Your Life Principles

Exordium

This week’s blog post is a non-technical one, focused on a ‘growth mindset’ topic. I’ll be talking about life principles, how to set them, and why it’s important to live by them. I’ll also be breaking down my eleven life principles.

What Are Life Principles?

I describe life principles as principles that are truly and deeply important to you as a human. They are principles that you won’t merely budge on — and they make up the core of your character. These things are different for every single human, though some of us may share similar principles.

I’ve seen life principles labeled as things to motivate you, ways to make you happier, or give you a better life. I disagree with these labels and believe that your life principles should be much deeper than this. So, how do you come up with principles that mean something to you?

How to Set Your Life Principles

Let me start by saying there is no set number you need to aim for when setting your life principles. If you have one life principle, great. I don’t aim to sway you in choosing your principles, because again, they should mean something to you. All I can do is share with you the steps I took to set my own life principles.

When setting life principles, get in a quiet place. You want to be able to really focus on what is important to you and do it without distractions. You can do this in many ways — such as closing the door to your office, wearing noise-canceling headphones in your home, or even taking a weekend trip to the woods. Whatever you need to get in a quiet place — do it.

Once you’ve found a quiet place, take five minutes to meditate. Even if you’ve never meditated in your life, this will help center your mind, body, and spirit in the moment. You want to be completely entuned because these principles must come from a deep and true place.

Some quick tips for those new to meditation:

  1. Sit up straight, close your eyes, and begin breathing in a comfortable & natural pattern.
  2. The point of this exercise is to not think about anything but the present moment. One way to help with this is by focusing on your breathing.
  3. Literally, just breathe in and out for five minutes. When random thoughts come to your mind, be patient with yourself, and re-center your focus to your breathing.
  4. After five minutes, open your eyes.

Now that you’re centered, you can begin to think about the things that mean the most to you in life. For some, this is providing for their family. For others, this may be making an impact through their work. Each of us will have different things that come to mind and in different quantities. Next, I’ll share with you my 11 Life Principles.

My Life Principles

1. Team Human.

Team Human means doing things for the greater good of humanity. We are all one species and should work together as one. It’s that simple.

2. Always aim to understand by breaking things down to the first principles (the fundamentals).

I approach all things with ‘first principle’ thinking. I like to know how and why things work, so breaking things down to their fundamentals helps with my overall understanding.

3. Focus on constant improvement.

Everything can be better and more efficient.

4. Everything is learnable.

We, as humans, have the ability to learn anything we want. New things may be hard and scary, but with patience and hunger — we can learn anything.

5. There is always a solution.

Though there are a finite amount of problems to solve, the ways those problems can be solved are infinite.

6. Dwell, or move forward.

The idea is simple — I can dwell on my failures, the small details, and the ‘could haves’ or I can just move forward. Think of it as binary code — zeros and ones. By giving myself two options, I really only have one. I either dwell or move forward; there are no other options.

7. Remain intellectually stimulated.

Never stop challenging the mind. Never stop connecting with other intellectuals.

8. I make the conscious decisions of being who I am.

I’m committed to clearing the fog of life and remaining true to whom I want to be.

9. Always over-deliver.

In everything. Big and small.

10. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Staying hungry means never being satisfied and always pushing yourself. Staying foolish means doing the things people say cannot be done and being humble enough to recognize that you don’t know everything.

11. Scratch your own itch.

You have permission to learn about the things you’re interested in and try the things you want to try. If you think you can impact a certain domain, don’t be afraid to do it, even if you don’t know anything about the subject. If you think you can solve a problem, don’t be afraid to solve it. Do the things that you want to do and live on your terms.

Living by Your Principles

Living by your principles makes decision making easier and your character more steadfast. When you stick to your principles, you create a compound effect related to your character. The more you practice and hold on to those principles, the stronger they become.

Over time, you become more and more the person you want to be. This is not only a great thing for yourself, but others will know what to expect when working and interacting with you. To build your character, you must be open to new ways and remain humble.

When you live by your principles, your confidence increases, as does your self-love. There is no more efficient way to make an impact other than knowing yourself deeply.

Closing

Thank you for reading this non-technical post. I hope it was a light in the darkness and that you could find some value through these words.

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Andrew Lundy

Andrew Lundy

I write about programming and careers in tech.