Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Words to Live By: Rules vs. Principles

“Be the exception not the rule.” I say this often, and often mean be exceptional and not the expected.
However, at the root I try to reinforce that principles are more important than rules.

Laid side-by-side, a stick and a rope of the same length share a similar appearance. Likewise, rules and principles look alike even though they have virtually nothing in common.

Rules are like sticks.
You can prod people with them.
You can threaten people with them.
You can beat people with them.
But you cannot lead people with them.

When a rule doesn’t fit the circumstance, your only choice is to break it.

Principles are like ropes, able to conform to the shape of any problem. They are less brittle than rules, and thus stronger. Principles whisper valuable advice when needed most and when applied regularly shape you from the inside out. Rules only shape you from the outside in. Unlike rules, people are happily led by principles, often wearing them like a badge of honor.

A rule requires obedience.

A principle requires contemplation.

People are often complaining about the abundance of rules. Ever once hear that about principles? I am sure you have heard, “rules are meant to be broken.”  Ever once hear that about principles?

I admonish tyrannical beings who seek to lead by rules. I secretly (and not so secretly) reveled in their misfortunes and demise.

I have aligned myself with those who are far from flawless but whose principles are unwavering.
Rules are demanded by people who have not the wit to understand and apply the appropriate, all-encompassing principle.

My principle? Have principles!

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