Principles and being let off the hook

Principles that we suspend during difficult times aren’t really principles. Principles really count when they’re difficult to maintain.

That’s not the same thing, though, as refusing to consider the edge cases.

“Free speech,” is a fine principle, one to live by. But shouting “fire” in a crowded movie theater isn’t allowed, for good reason.

The edge cases are always subject to endless debate. There are no easy bright lines. It’s tempting, then, to never consider the edge cases. A rule’s a rule.

But principles without judgment aren’t the easy path they seem to be. Because without our judgment on the edge cases, we’ve given up responsibility. It’s no longer our decision if we’re not making a decision.

The hard work involves willingly being on the hook for making a tough call.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Hi. I’m Seth Godin. I’m a teacher, and I do projects.

For more than thirty years, I’ve been trying to turn on lights, inspire people and teach them how to level up. This blog has been appearing daily for more than a decade. One day, if we meet, I hope you’ll share with me your favorite posts. Even better, I’d like to hear about how a book or course helped you interact with the world differently and make a difference.
Seth Godin

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