Changing Principles

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This post might look like a note added to the list of ‘Things that are completely obvious’, but as obvious the concept may sound, it’s equally important and least thought of in daily life.  Uncertain if I should share my experience in this article or not, I decided not to at this moment, but share the context and the lessons learned.

It has been more than a year that the word ‘acceptance’ started playing a big role in my life. It first hit me deeply when I was walking with Mahesh Dai and he told me, “Saurav, now I am taking you to the Netherlands, but there might come a day when you will be above my position and take me somewhere. At that point, I will ‘accept’ that change happily. Because acceptance is very important as we grow in career, and one should always be positive enough to accept things in life.” That was from where my journey to acknowledging this word began. As time went by, I faced some circumstances at times where ‘acceptance’ was the only answer. Those circumstances were so crucial that they helped in my habit of accepting changes as a teenager. Well, ‘Changing Principles’ for me is a concept that can be difficult to accept and adapt to, but once accepted, it opens doors for big rewards in life, and I am in one of those journeys of learning to accept the change in principles in my life – I might sound overly judgmental about ‘life’ here, but this is one lesson I can be sure of as a teenager.

Here, I am not relating the lessons of acceptance with human beings having to accept changes with respect to evolution and all. Instead, I simply aim to share the wonders of ‘accepting’ that our principles in life might change as time passes by, and they give the best results when changed in the best ways. 

I am sure we all remember that one common phrase almost every teacher uses – “Cheating in exams is cheating Yourself” – a principle that most of us found profoundly true as a child. And does that stop us from cheating – well, in a generalized way NO! If we abide by that principle and still cheat, it means we are contradicting against a principle or a belief that we follow. “Not abiding” by our own principles or beliefs makes us feel bad about ourselves, it really does. To make this clearer, I am sure some of us have witnessed some top-class students who never cheat in exams, but when they do, we find them feeling disappointed because they had to cheat to get the best grades. The simple reason behind them feeling that way is that they went against a belief that they worked hard to hold on to. So, what most people do is they don’t abide by that principle of ‘cheating’ that I shared earlier, because many people don’t want to be a hypocrite by contradicting themselves if they are aware of it. So, what they do is – they come up with their own belief. Well, for me, a belief in this situation is – “cheating in a 3-hour examination is not ‘always’ bad, especially when I feel like the examination is not judging my true potential, and I am writing more dominantly for better grades rather than to prove my true theoretical knowledge on the subject”. And this is a changed belief or a changed principle. As a child, cheating in exams for me was similar to what teachers taught – cheating Ourselves!

PS: I am more of a donor when it comes to cheating in exams 😉

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On a broader level, let’s think about marriages in Nepal and a very popular belief among our people that married couples should be of the same caste. Now, how many people still follow this principle as compared to the past?– Very few! Why? – Because people’s perspective is changing! What does that mean? – It means their belief regarding ‘inter-caste marriage’ is slowly changing. Hence, their principles are changing. In addition, what do we call people who are still very strict and committed towards customs that are against cultural equality such as caste discrimination and all? We generally call them ‘conservative’. If we look at it deeply, we call them so because they are people who have not changed their principles according to what the generation demands, hence, we regard them as conservative. So here’s a thought – Is ‘not changing principles as per time demands’ is what’s called ‘being conservative’( or “just some very old grannies”)  :P. I say YES! I say being conservative, according to the modern generation is nothing else but not being able to change our principles as per time demands.

So how has this affected me in my life? – Well truth be told! – I am more of a principle-centered person. I respect principles, beliefs, and values of mine as well as of others a lot. In other words, I am more of a ‘value’ rather than a ‘policy’ type of person. When I look back at my beliefs from childhood to now, I find a drastic shift in a way that it surprises me at times. 

The above examples about ‘cheating’ and ‘marriage’ were only to make readers aware of my perception about what I feel is the definition of being conservative. However, my realization on this topic started fostering when I went through bad times – times when I failed to get what I wanted! In the past, I had a perception that ‘hard work gives desired results because that principle made perfect sense to me as a beginner. Slowly as time went by, I started realizing that I was wrong, and only hard work is not enough it itself. I noticed that ‘smart work’ plays an equally important role. So, gradually I started developing a belief of my own that ‘hard work + smart work’ gives desired results. I worked accordingly with that principle and it worked. But it didn’t work always, and when it didn’t work consistently even though I felt I fully deserved to get those results, I started realizing the importance of ‘Luck’. Some people might argue that luck is something that we create for ourselves, but even if that’s true, then it means that ‘luck’ exists – and it matters! So ya, now I believe that “hard work + Smart work + being lucky” gives us the best results that we desire. This is a principle I am following right now, being aware that as time goes by, this principle might not work as much as it’s working now. And when that happens, I must be able to make a proper distinction between right and wrong and change my belief or principle as per the necessity of time. If I had stuck to the same principle that “hard work gives you every result you desire”, I would reach nowhere. I would be stuck at point Zero. But changing principles in a rightful way gave me a way out, and made me very aware of where I stood in that time and situation, and how I should be heading forward. 

Being aware of the unintentional changing of principles opened doors for many possibilities. There are many times when our heart demands us to do something, but our brain suggests that it’s against our beliefs, and ultimately, we either end up not doing it, even though if it’s something rightful. The question here is ‘why let some worn and torn beliefs hinder my exploration?’ Well, some required renovation in the house of principles helped me be open towards new beliefs, new principles – and that evidently, became a huge milestone in broadening my horizons, replace new beliefs with the old, and feel like a different and better person than before. Like they say, it’s important to change your lens as time proceeds! Well, believe it or not – it’s all about changing perceptions, which is all about principles with which we define our life. So, this is what ‘changing principles’ mean to me, and it all started from wonderful lessons of “acceptance”. I am still learning it and I wish to learn more and be open to more amazing principles in life.

So let’s spend some time asking ourselves, ‘what changes do we find in our beliefs compared to the past?’ and how do we define ‘being conservative’? 😉 

How did you like this blog about Changing Principles, do comment your review on the comment section below.

Author: Saurav Bhatta

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