10 Inspiring Principles To Live Your Life By

There are many inspiring principles that you could live your life by.  Here I highlight the ten that are particularly important to me.

inspiring principles for you to adopt

In this article I will cover what a principle is according to the Collins Dictionary, and then move on to my own inspiring principles which are:

  1. Start each day by making your bed
  2. Problems are managed easier if looked at in perspective
  3. The importance of managing your own time before someone else manages it for you
  4. Have an attitude of gratitude and be grateful for what you have
  5. We cannot change everything or everybody.  If we want to make an impact then the best starting point is to accept that change comes from within
  6. Adopt a mind-set of curiosity.  It really is the best way to learn
  7. Be yourself and exploit your own unique set of talents
  8. Be organised.  It allows efficiency, saving time and money, reduces clutter and improve the overall quality of life.
  9. Consider strangers as friends you haven’t met yet and get away from the fear of meeting new people
  10. We are what we think and why it is important that our thoughts are dominated by positivity.

To each principle I have included a quote which you might find thought provoking.


Before I start talking about my 10 Inspiring principles, I thought that I would start of with a definition of what a principle is.

According to the Collins Dictionary:

A principle is a general belief that you have about the way you should behave, which influences your behaviour.

Collins Dictionary

Why Advice Can Be Dangerous

When I set out on my blogging journey and working for myself, I sat down and thought about all the things that I could do to me make me successful. 

At the start I did a lot of research.  There was a lot of advice available.  After all, people are always happy to give advice.   Have you noticed that?  Most people give advice for free, even when you haven’t asked for it.

Let’s face it, we all have opinions and are happy to share them.  But, the thing about people who give advice, is that they do not have to face the consequences of a decision made upon it.  This is why it is important to carefully sort through any advice you have been given and only act on it if it fits in with your overall beliefs.

A Word Of Warning

Remember, the advice givers, however well intentioned, are looking at your situation with their own background, experience and frame of reference.  Only you are accountable for your actions.

As a result, I am not comfortable with the concept of giving advice.  Instead I would like to offer you some inspiring principles to live your life by.

Defining your life’s guiding principles is like setting out a roadmap for success.

The principles I share below are not a checklist of things that you need to be doing.  But, perhaps you might find a principle that applies in your own life.

The Principles I Live By

1.           Start Each Day By Making Your Bed

One of the most inspiring speeches I have heard is that of US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven talking about his training to become a Navy Seal.  ‘If you want to change the world, start by making your bed’.  This mundane, ordinary activity once done signifies the first successfully completed task of the day.

Action encourages more action and motivation is gained to complete other tasks.  It highlights that it is the little things in life that matter.  If you can’t do the little things right, then you won’t ever be able to do the big things right.  This is certainly an inspiring principle to live by.

2.           Problems Are A Matter of Perspective

A problem is defined as a situation, a person or a thing that needs attention.  We all have problems to a greater or lesser degree.  It is how we deal with them that matters.  The following quote by Dr. Seuss sums this up perfectly.

“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let is destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Dr. Seuss

Think of problems as a way to build character.  It is often in the face of adversity that we become more creative about finding a solution.  Working towards a solution reduces stress as taking action diminishes the fear of the problem.  This inspiring principle allows you to look at things in a different way.  Changing our perspective can also change so much about what you think and how you behave.

Inspiring Principle - manage your time or someone will manage it for you

3.           Manage Your Time Before Someone Else Manages It For You

Time is finite and time is valuable.  How much value are you putting on your own time? 

Golda Meir summed this up beautifully when she said “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”

Being in control of how you spend your time means that you are focussed on what you need to do to achieve your goals.  This inspiring principle highlights how utilising your time to best effect.  If you don’t manage your time effectively by making appropriate plans, then other people and distractions can get in the way.  Then before you know it, the day has gone and you will not have achieved anything. 

When we allow other people to manage our time with their own demands, we can feel completely overwhelmed.  We end up resolving their issues and our own are left behind.

4.           Be Thankful For What You Have

We are a consumer driven society.  Keeping up with the neighbours are not the only people we are comparing ourselves to.  We now compare ourselves to friends, family, celebrities and basically anyone we come across on social media.

‘Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.

Oprah Winfrey

This inspiring principle is a reminder that we all have something to be grateful for.  Learning to appreciate what you have and being grateful for it reduces the stress and anxiety that is put on you to compete with others.

If you are always searching for the next big thing, it creates restlessness.  It does not then matter what you have or what you achieve, the search is always on obtaining more.  Live with what you have.  Build on it and you will be a lot happier for it.

5.           Change Comes From Within

My favourite quote is by Rumi a 13th-Century poet

‘Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I am changing myself’


Rumi was an incredible talent.  His poetry and words are as relevant today as they were in the 13th-century, and I would say equally inspiring in relation to principles to live by. 

Here, Rumi is saying that if we want to make a difference to what is going on around us, the person to start with is ourselves. After all, we do not have the power to change other people.  We can only encourage change through leading a good example.

Many times it is your perception of other people or situations that creates tension and overwhelm.  Use this inspiring principle to learn to change your own perceptions.  It will be surprising how much better you feel with your place in the world.

6.           Be Curious

‘Curiosity Killed the Cat, but where human beings are concerned, the only thing a healthy curiosity can kill is ignorance’

Harry Lorayne aka the Yoda of Memory Training

Einstein has been quoted as saying that ‘I have no special talent.  I am only passionately curious’

Being curious means that you don’t always accept what is placed in front of you.  It’s all about understanding more about it.  A form of mental exploration.  It allows you to dig past what is the norm and be stimulated by new possibilities.

This inspiring principle encourages learning through curiosity.  If you approach things with curiosity, it means that you are open to new ideas and suggestions.  From this you can break out of the norm of what everyone else is doing and become more creative.  This fits in well with the concept of being yourself.

7.           Be Yourself

We are all individuals with our own unique set of talents.  In order to be yourself you need to know yourself, know your values, your beliefs and what you want from life.  Don’t get caught up in following someone else’s journey – make your journey your own adventure.

‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken’

Oscar Wilde

To be yourself is knowing what’s important to you.  When you act in accordance with this, it is easier to identify what it is that is causing conflict in your life.   Dealing with it then becomes more straightforward.

Do what’s right for you, not what others expect you to do.  It is your life you are living, not someone else’s.  Spend time in getting to know yourself, you will definitely feel better for it.  An inspiring principle that we should all adopt in life.

8.           Be Organized

‘Organization isn’t about perfection.  It’s about efficiency, reducing stress & clutter, saving time & money, & improving your overall quality of life.’ 

Christina Scalise

Organized minds are clear, and clear minds take action on clear objectives.  This helps to get things done quicker and with less stress.  It is a sure-fire way to ensure that you meet the goals that you have set yourself.

My attempt at being organized started with my desk and goal setting.  I start each day with a clear desk which is free from distractions.  As a result I am more focussed and get more work related items completed. 

Referring to this inspiring principle each day means having clear goals.  Clear goals means that I know what my priorities are each day.  From there I am organizing all aspects of my life.  Decluttering the house is one such project that I have undertaken.  Have a look at your life and see what needs to be organized.  I can guarantee that you will find life’s obstacles a lot easier to deal with.

9.           Strangers Are Just Friends You Haven’t Met Yet

I was about to go into a job interview and I was extremely nervous.  My husband quoted the above to me and it helped to calm my nerves.  I went into that interview a lot more confident than I thought I would be – I also got the job.  His words have stuck with me ever since. 

The correct quote is actually from Yeats ‘There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met’.

Meeting people for the first time can be really daunting.  In fact it may cause you to avoid meeting people at all.  Keeping this quote in mind can help reassure you that people are generally good and kind.  Adopting this inspiring principle means that if you approach strangers with an honest heart and an open mind, they will reciprocate.

10.        We Are What We Think

 “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespear, Hamlet

Adopting this inspiring principle to guide your internal dialogue means that you will have greater belief in yourself. Having belief in yourself reinforced with positive thoughts makes you believe that anything is possible.

Doubt about your capabilities will diminish.  You will be stronger in your actions and more accepting of your limitations.

None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes.  But if we consider these mistakes as learning experiences we grow as individuals. 


These inspiring principles are not an exhaustive list.  They are the main ones that I choose to live my life by.

Principles are a way of life.  They are a guideline as to how we live our lives to be happier and more content with the world around us.

As you read these principles, consider which ones are appropriate to you and consider adopting them.  As I said at the beginning, this is not a checklist of things that you need to adopt.  They are a suggestion of the types of things you could introduce to make your life easier.  After all, when things are easy we are a lot happier as a result. 

So what are the principles that you live your life by? It would be great if you could share yours, or perhaps you have some thoughts on one of mine. Please comment in the box below.

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About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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