What Are Your Guiding Principles?

When you’re faced with a decision, what drives you?  Do you take the path of least resistance or act out of a need for self-protection?  Or are you guided by certain internal principles that defy apparent logic or short term thinking?  Part of self actualization – living a life built around knowing who you are – is having clearly defined principles and living within them:

  • Illuminado Boc earned under $5.00 per day driving a motorcycle taxi on central Bohol Island in the Philippines.  Money was tight, and he was already behind on his rent the day that he had to take his wife to the hospital.  That was the day he found a bag of cash — $17,000 – in his taxi.  Illuminado went to the local police station and turned it in so quickly that the woman reporting the loss was still there.  He explained, “It was not mine.”
  • In Great Britain, a reporter spent a day going to cash machines and “accidentally” leaving £20 behind.  Other bank machine users spent the day chasing him down to return it.  In one case an honest citizen followed him all the way into the produce section of a grocery story.  Only one person kept the money.
  • In 2008, three year old Paulina Filippova, hiking with her family, fell over the side of a cliff.  She clung to a tree root, her feet dangling 1,000 above the American Fork River in Utah.   Family friend Vitaly Tsikoza and strangers Mickey Horak, a novice hiker, and Marc Ellison, who suffered from a potentially lethal blood illness and was weakened from a bone marrow transplant three years before, climbed down to rescue the little girl.  Tsikoza slipped off a narrow ledge and fell 200 feet to his death, but the other two men were able to retrieve the girl and hold her on the steep, gravelly ledge until rescue workers could rappel down to help them.

The Philippine taxi-driver could have caught up on his rent and paid for anything his wife needed with that $17,000.  It wouldn’t have been hard to justify.  In these tough economic times, who couldn’t use an extra £20 or $20?  And discovering it just waiting at the ATM machine – that’s found money!  And those men who rescued Paulina – they had lives and concerns of their own.  Why should they risk — and in Tsikoza’s case, sacrifice – their lives for someone else?

Each of these people were driven by their principles – the internal guides that, for them, were more compelling than self-interest.  And while there is a cost to living according to your principles, it is the path to the peace of mind, joy, and fulfillment that comes through self actualization.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation, leadership, and teams. His tools and methods have helped hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of people transform the ways they work and live. To learn more, visit www.theheroschoice.com.


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