I respected my father for having good principles. There were times, though, when he held to those principles so tightly that it did didn’t enhance his or anyone’s else’s life. I admit, it simplified his decision-making, however over time, he relied on those assumptions as the answer to every situation. This made for a very robotic existence, one without the fulfillment of rich and “texturous” experiences, without the benefit of knowing unintended spontaneity. His life became robotic.
There are certain truths we grow up with. We all thought the world was flat for a while and as we learned and experienced more, we adapted our thinking to accommodate new discoveries. We had to be open to the fact that the world might not be flat. How do you break that thought pattern? You sail to the edge of the flat world! And you come back on the other side, expanded.
The difference is a bit like eating out. The fast food menu is comforting in its predictability but should it apply to all eating experiences? If you hold tight to the principle of this is where I eat without examining any other possibilities, you might miss out on the smorgasbord down the street with its aromas, spices and eclectic variety.
Adapting and adopting a principle just for the sake of embracing what some people say is truth, without proving it yourself, makes life easy but also eliminates the other part of life that is creative, spontaneous, adventurous and alive.
Recently I met a fella, Lou Tortola, who wanted to improve the design of a touring bicycle. I can look at a hundred different bicycles and not see much difference between them. A lot of people would say you have your standard bike frame that works, it has been time-tested. You can’t put a circle on it, that’s just not the way it works. He designed a bicycle with a round element in the frame that from a design standpoint looks really cool but what he didn’t expect, as it turned out, is a functionally better design in that it absorbs the micro vibrations that makes for a healthier riding experience.
A good character grows out of having good principles to live by; while not holding onto those principles too tightly allows for strength and flexibility to play, drawing in unique, full, rich life experiences that build courage and creative expression.
Remaining Open = Strong but Flexible