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Preferences vs. Principles

(Guest Editorial) Our Preferences are not right all the time. Many times we would like to do or have something or prefer an easy way around, but it is not necessarily the best thing to do because it lacks the worthiness of our principles. That is, if you have principles, of course. Here lies the wisdom of this saying. If our preferences are going against our principles, then think again.

Let’s look at some examples. Suppose you are walking about in a store and you see a bundle of cash on the floor. You pick it up and realize that it is nothing that will get you rich, but a substantial amount of money, say like some three or four hundred dollars. The first thought is “Hey, how fortunate am I.” However you realize that that money probably belongs to some person who has worked hard for it. He deserves to spend his own money on his needs, not your desires and fantasies.

Your principles tell you that you should try to return that money to its rightful owner, but your preferences are urging you to keep it and have a ball spending it. Your mind goes a little farther.  “Hey, it is money I luckily found; I did not steal it from anyone?” Oh yes, but deep inside you know that it is not yours to spend. Why should you deny an honest person his hard earned money? See how principles should prevail? Are you strong to live with principles rather than preferences?

Now there is money in the cash register which you manage, and which you can easily take for your own needs. What’s more is that you can easily cast the blame on someone else. You have a lot of preferences like a trip, wine, parties, jewelry, clothing, and other material things that will bring you temporary happiness. But the principles you have been taught tell you that it is not right to take something that does not belong to you and which will put someone in a predicament. Are you strong enough to make principles prevail over preferences?

There are virtually scores of examples where preferences over principles come into play. Many times we allow our preferences to prevail, but do you know what? When we go against our principles, we are becoming weaker individuals and it will have its toll in your future. Once you make it a habit to cheat your boss, you will move on to cheat everyone around you including your spouse, children and colleagues.

Once you develop the habit to steal, you will do so impulsively on anyone and even when you do not need it. Take a little time to digest this thought that our principles should come first and way over our preferences because our preferences are too worldly.

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