Center of Principles, Stephen R. CoveyReal character development begins with the humble recognition that we are not in charge, that principles ultimately govern. I don’t talk much about ethics and values because to me those words imply situational behaviors, subjective beliefs, social mores, cultural norms, or relative truths. I prefer to talk about universal principles and natural laws that are more absolute. You may think that it’s just a matter of semantics and that when most people talk about values they really mean these universal principles. But I see a clear difference between principles and values. Hitler was value-driven; Saddam Hussein is value-driven. Every person and organization is driven by what they value, bt they aren’t necessarily ethical or principle-centered. The Humility of Principles The key to quality of life is to be centered on principles. We’re not in control; principles are in control. We’re arrogant when we think we are in control. Yes, we may control our actions, but not the consequences of our actions. Those are controlled by principles, by natural laws. Building character and creating quality of life is a function of aligning our beliefs and behaviors with universal principles. These principles are impersonal, external, factual, objective, and self-evident. They operate regardless of our awareness of them, or our obedience to them.