My 3 Principles at Life

19 Mar 2022


I am often asked by people... what are my core principles at life?

This is no easy question to answer, as there are simply too many values and principles that matter at life, it becomes extremely difficult to boil it down to a selected few.

However, I deeply believe in derivative reasoning, which is my own framework for boiling things down to the root. What we often don't realise is that one factor is a derivative of another, and that factor is also a derivative of another factor, and this list goes on until the root - the root is where it goes no further, and that is a fundamental truth.

Here, I will break down my approach to life down to three rooted principles.

Principle #1: Integrity

The principle of integrity is broad, elusive and paramount.

It is broad because it links to concepts like honesty, fairness and trustworthiness, amongst many other values. As such, the concept of integrity is also elusive precisely because it is broad, and therefore there is no single universal standard to what integrity means. However, I believe that integrity actually boils down to a system of determining what is "right" and what is "wrong".

You may ask, so what is "right" and what is "wrong"? Well, as cliche as it sounds... if you know, you know.

The principle of integrity is absolutely paramount because with most of our lives, we will be interacting with people, and all of the values that are foundational to the concept of integrity are often referring to the way you interact with others rather than just with yourself. For example, when we speak of honesty, we are often referring to being truthful to others, because lying to yourself ultimately hurts yourself, but at least it does not hurt others.

Ultimately, treating others with integrity empowers you to have a clear conscience, and in turn, people will naturally treat you with integrity. You will go as far as your moral compass allows you to.

Principle #2: Self-Honesty

While the principle of integrity underpins how one may treat others, the principle of self-honesty dictates how you treat yourself. To explain the concept of self-honesty, I often use the mirror analogy: if you look into the mirror, what do you see?

When asked such a question, you must not lie to yourself; you must be honest with yourself; and you must be able to reflect upon yourself. That is the crux of self-honesty.

Personally, I break down this concept into three distinct yet inter-related parts: self-awareness, self-evaluation and self-improvement. Firstly, self-awareness refers to the ability to identify your own shortcomings and ask "what am I not good enough at". People naturally hate to admit of their own shortcomings which naturally prevent them from becoming a better version of themselves. This false sense of pride is something that must be avoided. Secondly, self-evaluation takes self-awareness one-step further by actually enabling you to analyse yourself and ask "why am I not good enough". It is crucial to be able to pinpoint the reasons of your own shortcomings because otherwise, you may be trapped in a state of being overly self-critical with little action plan to make things better. Lastly, self-improvement focuses on what you are actually going do about it and ask "whether you are indeed becoming a better version of yourself or simply telling yourself so". Being honest with your own development is the final piece of the puzzle to completing the cycle of self-honesty, and this internal engine ought to be constantly running and evolving in order to become the best version of yourself. Perhaps it is also important to note that the combination of self-awareness, self-evaluation and self-improvement may also be applied to your own strengths rather than simply shortcomings, as it is important to know your own qualities, determine why they are as such, and work to maintain as well as improve on them. It is a balancing act.

Guided by the principle of self-honesty, you establish a system of identification, evaluation and action to continuously improve yourself. The ultimate result is that you are always a better version of yourself everyday, and the ultimate reward is that you are indeed the best version of yourself at all points in time.

Principle #3: Passion

Governed by integrity and self-honesty, passion guides the road you wish to take.

It is worth noting that I deliberately placed integrity as first, self-honesty as second and passion as third. This is because integrity determines how you treat people; self-honesty dictates how you treat yourself; and passion simply points you to where you want to go, but how you walk the road you choose remains the same... and that is with integrity and self-honesty.

Using myself as an example, my passion lies in crypto, finance, and interacting with people. As such, I am choosing to do something that aligns with my passion, which is to create a crypto-startup where I am able to dive into Web3.0, build the next unicorn, and do it with a wonderful team. Here, I treat the team with integrity, the users with integrity and all stakeholders with integrity. To myself, I am constantly being self-aware, evaluating myself, and ultimately work to improve on myself. If my passion was cooking let's say, the principles on which I operate on would remain the same, as I will still treat my team at the kitchen with integrity, treat customers with integrity and all stakeholders with integrity. And needless to say that I will work day in and day out to become a better chef. This is what it means to walk the road you choose the same way no matter what.

What you are passionate about may change and evolve over time, but the principle of passion is the internal compass in your deeper consciousness pointing you to the direction you want to go. Following your passion is one of the oldest phrases in the books, and yet it undoubtedly holds a special sort of value to all of us. While one should not blindly follow his or her own passion, doing what your heart desires elevates the purpose and meaning of your life to an entirely different level that only a person truly guided by passion would understand.

Final Thoughts

Everyone is different. My core principles at life would be different to that of my friends, and different to that my colleagues and different to yours. What remains constant, however, is that we are all ultimately guided by a few core principles, and it is crucial that these core principles are "right".

Imagine that your core principles are somehow "rotten", what would happen is that it will permeate to the next layer of values, then the other layer, and eventually emitted to the people around you and the life you live. Therefore, to put simply, the core of the apple must be "right", or else the apple will inevitably be "rotten".

Your core principles determine what kind of person you are, and ultimately what you will achieve at life. Therefore, it is paramount to invest in your mind and consciousness, so that you are the best that you can be.

Here are my three principles at life, what's yours?

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