The importance of understanding the principles

goalA personal reflection from Shaz

I'm the first to admit I'm usually goal-oriented and impatient. I dislike what I consider to be time wasters and like information to be packaged appropriately - just enough to get on with what I'm expected to do, without any bothersome and unnecessary detail. This, I believe, is time-efficient and serves me well.

But over the years I've learnt that it is only efficient in the short term.

I now reluctantly admit that there are times when it is better, certainly in the longer term, to take the time to learn and understand the principles behind certain things - rather than simply how to deal with today's challenge and tick an item off my "to do" list.

Ralph Emerson put the reasoning most eloquently when he said:

As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps the principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.

Someone prepared to take the time to teach you the principles along with a method or two is empowering you to make an informed choice - and giving you the tools to choose the methods that are appropriate to your circumstances. So, if you tend to be like me, and in a rush to grab the method and put it into practice, do take the time to see if there is more on offer - and understand the reason why this method works (or not).

BJ Palmer also noted:

Great principles, like great men, are simple.

This means you've probably ignored a number of principles as stating the obvious - or as overused platitudes - without realising their value.

Malcolm Forbes was right when he said:

Education's main purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

There is great value in being a little less relentless in the pursuit of one's goals and learning to be open to the important principles to be learnt along the way.

04 June 2013, 02:18
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