On Principle And Purpose

Our principles should take precedence over our desires.

What we want should never be more important to us than what is right.

The problem is that, without a clearly defined, tested, and proven set of first principles in our lives, it is very difficult to know the difference between what we desire and what is good, true, and just.

We are not born understanding this distinction.

We are born only with needs.

As we get older, these needs turn into wants.

It is not until we gain the ability to make decisions that morality becomes something we must concern ourselves with.

Even then, morality is something that must be taught.

If we are not taught do discern between right and wrong, it is very difficult to understand that what we want, or even what seems to get us what we want, is not necessarily what is right.

In fact, the more that we try to dedicate ourselves to what is right, the more we find that our desires, and sometimes even our perceived needs, are often in direct conflict with what is moral.

This does not mean that we should adjust our morality to suit our desires.

Instead, we must work diligently to train, shape, and focus our desires toward that which is right.

The more we do this, the more consistently we are able to put our principles, our morality, ahead of our desires, the more we find that what we want is actually what is right and that passion, frivolity, and selfishness are undesirable distractions from our purpose.

Our purpose is to live a principled, meaningful, and impactful life.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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