Throughout this podcast, we’ve made the case (and we will continue to make the case) that living an excellent life requires us to abide by a set of principles that are universal enough that we could say they are in accordance with human nature. But why? And what happens if we don’t? In this episode, we speak about how:

  • Having clear principles to live by helps guide decision making and reduces regret. Principle remain relevant even in times of strong emotion.
  • To pick truth as an example, white lies may seem harmless, but being consistently truthful builds a trustworthy reputation that’s worth developing.
  • External signs of success like wealth or status don’t guarantee happiness. Feeling secure comes  more reliably from living according to one’s values.
  • Shared basic principles like non-aggression allow people to get along across cultures and disagreements.
  • Self-care needs change over life stages, but the principle of treating oneself well endures.
  • Relying only on external motivation leaves one vulnerable to random chance; internal principles provide stability.
  • Assuming the best of others has benefits, but one must also protect against manipulation.
  • Courage means sticking to principles even in difficult or dangerous situations, as exemplified by Oskar Schindler.
  • Small acts of honesty like returning a lost wallet create a more trustworthy society and allow one to “sleep well at night,” literally and metaphorically.

Table of contents:

00:00 – Introduction
01:04 – Why should we live a principled life?
06:19 – Problems with “following your heart”
08:56 – Problems with prioritizing outward signs of success
12:48 – Principles transcend your egocentricity
20:24 – Does having principles make you gullible?
24:20 – What if those around you are not living by principles?
25:51 – When should you compromise on your principles?
29:43 – The softest pillow is an easy conscience
34:43 – Outro

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