Principles - What are they?

A principle is a recipe for behavior or action which helps you make better decisions.

It can be a: belief, idea, rule, theory, fundamental truth, or law.

They are programs for your mind. Taking thoughts as inputs - modifying them - outputting behaviors and actions.

You can filter your thoughts through one principle or many. Encoding your behavior in principles is like an algorithm always available to you. Once you've collected enough principles, you can run your decision-making process through them. Offloading your decisions into logical steps. It is a bottom-up approach to decision-making.

Decisions made through principles are called "principled behavior." The primary difference between principled behavior and non-principled behavior is that the action or behavior results from a principle. Whereas with non-principled, the action or behavior doesn't and is usually imprecisely rationalized after the fact.

Examples of principled vs non-principled behavior.


non-principled: We need to rewrite our app in the newest popular framework because everybody will be using it soon. 2 years feels like the right sort of time for a rewrite, anyway.

principled: Our application has separated core logic from the framework; we can adopt a new framework if it serves us without rewriting the app. We will always be able to hire people who know fundamentals.


non-principled: I need to cut some corners in order to release. Let's ignore making this go quickly. Otherwise, we might not get MVP.

principled: We have decided that Code should work, but does not have to be efficient. This will reduce code complexity in our MVP phase, as we don't know what paths we need to optimise, yet.

Next: Read about the benefits of principles