Have you ever had to work out what your ‘breaking points’ are? Have you ever been forced to choose between life and death? How would you behave in a home robbery? What are your breaking points – what would you not do, no matter what?
As we progress through life, at some point we are tested. Tested on the various areas in life – physically, emotionally, socially, financially, intellectually and so forth. Friendships reach breaking points, family relationships discover their breaking points and tolerance levels. We all get tested. No one is immune to this process of discovering their breaking points. I’m sure you could tell a few stories about these moments when your breaking points were tested.
Think about it for a second. Would you lie to save your kids’ lives? Would you conceal the truth to win a better business deal? To sell your car or your house? Would you ‘back-stab’ your friend or work colleague to get a promotion? How people interpret Right and Wrong is dependent on people’s or a group of peoples’ perception of what is the truth.
So, in essence from a social-behavioural viewpoint, TRUTH is the set of principles that people live by, regardless of what they might say they believe. We all know and have seen there are different truths – subjective, operational, hypothetical and intellectual – and then there is factual data. How true a belief is depends on the level of perception one is at. All levels of truth as we know it however, are examples of truth dependent and contingent on a given set of parameters.
This even applies to our exalted ‘scientific truth’ which is also defined and constrained by conditions and contexts, that they are subject to dispute and error. So, essentially, you are best advised not to believe everything you read, see or hear without at least asking the question ‘why?’ and seeking factual data.
The world seems to be getting ever increasingly filled with more and more laws and regulations. At the most simplest view, all of life is based on some assumption of principle. It is quite obvious now, that everything in nature is based on principles – irrefutable laws showing that all of life is in fact part of a greater design strategy.
Despite the ever increasing dependence on newer regulations, I think there is a finiteness to how reliable this is and every will be. There can never be sufficient rules and regulations, laws and auditors or inspectors to cover or check everything. Everything, whether it be in businesses and organizations or families. To pursue this end would see life get even more complicated and will prove too costly.
We see and read about this every day – people getting away with unprincipled behaviour simply because the person found a ‘loop-hole’ in the law, rule or regulation. We see this played out on the sporting field and we see it playing out in board rooms of organizations as well as on the office floors. We even see unthoughtful, unprincipled behaviour displayed quite regularly within families. This really pushes individuals to their breaking points as trust, above all things is eroded.
On a bigger scale, recent Global Financial Crisis and other events prove that there are many unprincipled people who thrive in a system based mainly on principle.
The answer to this problem seems to be: more rules and regulations to curb unprincipled behaviour in one are, within a specific scope. Inevitably, barriers that prevent trading would be dismantled for certain activities and players to remain competitive.
What’s needed more of and not just in business and the big cities are Principles and People of Principles. We need more of it in every corner of society. This is a precious commodity in today’s world. This begins in every home, where I believe little children must be taught that dangerous behaviours are ‘wrong’, but as they grow older, discernment should replace moralism.
Principles that would not waiver, even when tested. Especially in this world where organizations and industries are left to ‘self-regulate’ and ‘self-monitor’. Where individuals are given ‘free-reign’ to exercise their own discretion, without being supervised or because of cost-cutting measures.
We have all known or do know some people who operate with two sets of principles. Sometimes they don’t admit that they do until it is too late. Having two sets of principles – one for work and one for home, for example just does not end well. This applies to both the individual, organization or country-levels. It will always end with a catastrophe where many people get hurt. We see this playing out by parents who have double-standards when it comes to the treatment of their children favouring some over others.
Nothing in life happens by ‘chance’, there is no such thing as ‘coincidence’. I believe this so. So, it follows that, on the whole, the most efficient organizations are the most principled ones. I believe this applies to individuals too – in organizations and in families.
Every successful, long-term relationship whether it is with yourself or others (individuals or organizations) comes down to trust. It costs much less to trust than it is to comply with rules and regulations. It is sad that in many individuals, their lack of ‘spiritual truth’ leads to a dimness in moral vision and blindness to the truth. This is a major problem for society.
We’ve all heard that people need to ‘earn’ our trust before it is given. A very important point as for trust to work, you need to have principles and an awareness of your breaking points. I believe these principles only evolve from your belief systems or set of beliefs.
This is why ‘knowing yourself better’ is paramount to allowing you to constantly make changes to your set of beliefs that are applicable to you. You also have to consider where you are in life and your relationships with either family, friends and business colleagues – I refer to these as the context and parameters within which your particular perception of the truth holds true.
Know your breaking points and constantly be on guard when assessing whether or not sticking with them makes you a person of principle in today’s world.
One thing is certain – everything in life changes. Everything is constantly evolving. You are not the same person you were ten years ago. Gee, you are not the same person you were just a day ago. Nothing stays the same and that goes for your breaking points too. If there is one thing we can all learn from nature and from evolution theory is that it is not the smartest nor the strongest that ultimately survive. It is the one that adapts the fastest.
Progress and growth in life (and muscle building) comes from adaptation, but remember, sacrificing your principles to achieve this outcome does not always end well. It almost never does.
Know your breaking points. You can start this process by becoming more aware of YOU. Accepting responsibility for the truth of one’s life. This takes a lot of courage which leads ultimately to love and hopefully, forgiveness too.
All the best!
Until next time,