Random Acts of Wisdom II: Living by Principles

It’s popular to use the quotes of famous people to introduce topics in a post.

And there is certainly justification for it. I’ve done it here and will do the same in the future. But reading over my comments, I see the same pithy wisdom and quotable insight in the words of my readers as from the more famous quips typically used.

This, then, is the second in an ongoing series where insightful comments by wise readers introduce each segment of the article.

Note: I have edited some of the comments for grammar, spelling, punctuation, brevity and, in some instances, clarity. I believe, however, the meaning has been left unaltered. Still, in no way should the reader suppose the commenter necessarily endorses what follows their words.

Ayo at Discovering Purpose commenting on 10 Practical Ways to Develop Self-mastery

“Being our own masters leads us to a true form of authenticity and causes us to build confidence in who we are. It also creates an avenue to discover our talents as we engage in self-discipline and live by principles.”

Principles are unyielding things. They are the True North of character. Compassion, love, humility, gratitude, kindness, perseverance, forgiveness, generosity, courage – these are a sample of those True North principles of human relations and personal morality that are life-governing.

The happiest people are those who have such principles at the core of their beings. As principles, they are changeless and constant. As we build such character traits in us, we will increasingly stand true and tall with a confidence and self-assuredness that can withstand frontal assaults from external conditions that otherwise compromise who we truly are and long to be.

We will have come closer to tapping our true inner potential. We will then experience a more profound form of authenticity than a mere showing of our unguarded lives, more than the confession of surrender to our baser instincts or spontaneous expressions of raw emotion. It will be the authenticity of the higher you, the natural expression of the better you, the realness of the real you.

Steven at The Emotion Machine commenting on There is Change in all Things

“We are in a constant state of flux … evolving, growing, and decaying in new ways. Everything is changing from moment-to-moment … who you are today is much different than who you were 10 years ago, or will be 10 years from now. Embrace this change”

Change is, in fact, the great constant. There are life cycles, business cycles, lunar cycles, historical cycles, tidal cycles, weather cycles, and unicycles (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

And that’s just the fact of it. Our resistance to the changes inherent in the cycles of life creates unnecessary stress in life, compromising happiness.

And yet there’s an inner core that, once found, doesn’t change. It is the constant in the storm of life’s ups and downs. It is the steadiness of True North in the swirl that is the flurry of life rushing by.

In the midst of such pulse-throbbing changes that unpredictably shoot up around us day after constantly evolving day, there’s a sense of deep peace associated with being able to hold on to changeless principles, a timeless standard, a faith that is constant. Such can be a beacon in a storm, a candle in the dark, a rail to hold to in the difficulty and turmoil life can sometimes become.

Peter at Motivational Memo commenting on 10 Ways to Think Yourself Happy

“As I think so I am. So think happy – be happy. I choose my thoughts – my thoughts don’t choose me. And at times I need to lasso them – for they are an unruly beast at times needing absolute control by the master of my thoughts – me!”

We are the product of our thoughts. We rise to the level we think we can achieve and shrink to the level we think we can’t escape.

Our thoughts shape the world around us as well. If we focus on the negative we will see mostly negative. Why? Because that’s what we’re looking for, of course.

Both good and bad, uplifting and degrading, the beautiful and blemished exist in life simultaneously. What we focus our attention on gets amplified. What we don’t focus on fades to the background, sometimes disappearing altogether with neglect.

Have you ever learned a new word you’ve never heard before? You imagine yourself smart for now knowing a word no one else knows. And then once you’ve learned it, you start hearing it everywhere you quickly realize it wasn’t a new word after all.

Why did this happen? The answer is that your brain filtered out the word as so much unnecessary noise and gibberish until the moment you memorized its definition. Then, suddenly, the noise made sense, ceasing to be noise, bringing the hidden word into the open.

Our minds also often miss the very things we are so convinced are not there because we think they are not there. Change your beliefs and you can change the very nature of what you see and experience in life.

Our thoughts are extensions of our beliefs. If I believe I’m ugly, for example, I’ll look for the evidence to support that belief. I’ll focus on the crooked nose, the thinning hair, the narrow shoulders, the freckles or acne or gap in my teeth or any number of physical characteristics that complete the image of what I already believe to be true. There will always be evidence for just about anything you believe … even if it’s patently inaccurate.

So how do you change your limiting thoughts? Change what you believe about life and you will unlock the door to a new way of thinking that will utterly change the way you live and experience life.

Lisa at Getting to Zen commented on 22 Lessons Learned “When Sorrow Walked with Me”

 “Procrastination doesn’t work. Life rewards action. We can either sit around dreaming about the things we want to do or we can do them.”

A simple philosophy of life. But one shared by people who do great things and accomplish worthwhile goals and take steps into opportunities that take advantage of the bounty life provides. The opposite of taking action is delay and hibernation, stagnation and plateauing. None of these suggest doing much with the potential at our disposal.

Life is active. It is dynamic. It is, to borrow Steven’s words, in a constant state of flux. Life evolves and remakes itself in millions and millions of large and small ways every moment, expanding one moment, contracting the next.

If we sink our feet into the known, planting ourselves deep in the soil of what’s always been, we will also bury possibility and growth and discovery and joy there with it. Not a wise use of discretion.

John at The 100% You commented on Live Instead of Die

“Superb clarion call – to live at its fullest, highest, strongest, and best. To love not fear, grow not shrink, share not keep, give not take, and step up not step back.”

Life is all about options, about choices that confront us every moment of every day. We have the agency to decide on the course of our lives.

Will we spend it in front of the TV or building relationships? Will we sleep and nap our way through life or get up and create something new and exciting? Will we whine and complain or get off our butts and make something of ourselves?

Every action and reaction, every thought that we persist in, every act of forgiveness or spite, every judgment and act of kindness are the result of definite choices we make to live a particular way, to allow habits to continue to plague our lives or to inspire us to live with integrity to a higher set of values centered on universal principles of decency.

These are the choices before us. How we choose and the consistency of those choices makes all the difference to what we experience and who we become and the quality of our relationships and the quality of our lives.

Afterthoughts

We drive the ship of our lives, our hands firmly planted on the wheel. We ground it on the barrier reefs or sail it into open waters of opportunity. We take it into troubled seas or navigate to peaceful harbors.

But make no mistake about it: We are at the helm. Where we steer our lives, or to where we allow them to drift, depends on the choices we make, the thoughts we habitually think, the beliefs we accept against the backdrop of the principles we navigate our lives by.

Choose well and live well … potentially extremely well.

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You won’t want to miss the upcoming interview with Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha and the two-book give-away coming on the 22nd of this month! Details to come!

 

Flickr Credit: Shumon Huque