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Dogma

Principles and Values are very important because they help us make consistent decisions and quick decisions. 

If my principle is to always prioritize my health over my career, I don't have to think about individual situations every time I need to make a decision. I can just make the decision that is in line with my principle.

However, there is no dissonance in the early days from when we embrace certain values or principles when it comes to the decisions we make. But as more time progresses, more the environment around us changes and sticking to the principles that we held may not benefit us in the new environment.

After all, this is the principle behind evolution. Survival of the fittest is about who adapts the best in a sustainable and on-going way.

When principles remain principles, we are supremely adaptable. Because we understand why the principles are in place and how they work.

When principles turn into dogma, then we lose sight of why they are good to follow in the first place and simply follow them because that's all we know.

This makes us the opposite of adaptable as we are no longer able to evaluate why we need to follow our principles and whether it is the right thing to do.

I was recently watching an episode of Suits, and in that, a partner at a law firm finds out that none of the associates think that he works as hard as them and that he just passes on the grunt work to them. So, that night, he finishes the grunt work assigned to every associate, all in one night before they turn up for work the next day. When they see the finished work on their desks, he tells them, "I assign this work to you not because I can't do it myself. I can do it much better and faster than you can do it. But I give it to you so that you can learn and grow along the way."

We should treat principles in similar vein. We don't evaluate every situation on its merit not because we can't, but simply because resorting to the short-hand of principles is more efficient for us. But we can always evaluate every situation on its merit if we had to. We retain the ability.

We lose that ability when we let principles turn into dogma.

Don't let your principles turn into dogma.

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