Living A Principle Driven Life

Lighthouses To Show The Way

I’ve always wonder how people live without lighthouses to show the way.

Now before I go on to explain, let me share with you what is purported to be transcript of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland, one version of which was used by Stephen Covey to talk about what he called ‘the lighthouse principles’:

Americans: “Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.”
Canadians: “Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.”
Americans: “This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert your course.”
Canadians: “No, I say again, you divert your course.”
Americans: “This is the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The second largest ship in the United States Atlantic Fleet. We are accompanies by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees north. That’s one five degrees north, or counter measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.”
Canadians: “This is a lighthouse. It’s your call.”

Let’s think of our principles – integrity, commitment, love, faith, as  lighthouses. They are the beacons that guide our lives. Our decisions and choices are based on our lighthouses.

Lighthouses To Show The Way

Thinking about this today, I realized how important it is for people to first of all know what their lighthouses are. In other words, what are the principles you live by? 

If you realize what they are and live by them then no threat of attack from outside can shake you. You will remain steadfast. What people say about you won’t matter, you know that you are on the right path.

Looking back on my own experience, I realize that every time I’ve tried to go against my own set of principles, it resulted in brokenness for me. When I tried to compromise on things, I found it hard to live – life was meaningless. I was constantly lying to others, but mostly to myself. I couldn’t recognize ‘me’. It was only when I came back to being guided by my ‘lighthouses’ that I began to really live again.

I’ve interacted with people who are extremely confused about their principles. They are absolutely lost and with no inner security. Any passing wind can take them away. Being that way must be ever so scary.

Today, I’m recommiting myself to living by my principles – the top 5 being – Faith, Love/Kindness, Authenticity, Gratitude and Justice – and will be writing about this through October.

Are you aware of what your ‘lighthouses’ are? Have you tried living by them?

In October, I started writing a series called 31 Days about Living A Principle Driven Life. Since I wasn’t able to complete it then, I’m doing so now. You can follow my posts here.


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An inspirational writer, a creativity and writing trainer/coach, I write about life, gratitude, healing, wellness, relationships at Everyday Gyaan. I offer training/coaching to anyone looking to explore their creativity and heal through writing via The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, Bytes of Gyaan, on Substack.

9 Comments on “Lighthouses To Show The Way

  1. This is a very interesting story about the lighthouse and the US navy ship. Love, kindness, integrity, faith, and gratitude are all principles that are important to me. Thank you for sharing your very inspiring and thought provoking words.

  2. That transcript did make me chuckle. But it brought home a serious point. “If you realize what they are and live by them then no threat of attack from outside can shake you” – I like the idea of thinking about our principles as lighthouses and you’re right, whenever I’ve strayed from mine, I feel lost and know I’m lying to myself. Great post

  3. I love this! “Any passing wind can take us away.” It’s so true that we must be guided a resolute set of principles and values. We must be anchored to God and tethered to His word. I am so glad that I stopped by your corner of the word, Corrine. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Looking forward to reading your writings.

  4. Excellent! Yes and Amen! I recently learned that if we do something against our principles, we wound ourselves. In psychology it’s called a moral injury. When I learned those words it was like a breeze swept over me. That’s why I quit writing for the newspaper! That’s why that tutoring job was a relief to get released from! That’s why I can’t work retail anymore! We all have things that are difficult to do in our lives, but if we go too far we sell our soul. I look back now and see that when that moment presented itself and I said “no” in my heart, I needed to say “NO!” out loud.
    Thank you for the encouragement!

  5. So glad you’re participating in the 31-Day Writing Challenge, Corinne! And such a great reminder and food for thought regarding the lighthouses in our lives and what is directing our course. Thank you for sharing!

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