Principles Over Rules


Dear Friends,

Before we dive in, I have one big favor to ask. If at any point in your reading of this letter you find something that resonates with you, please consider sharing it with those that you love. I’m sure it would mean the world to them, and I know it would mean the world to me. Thank you so much :-)

Now, let’s do this!

In school, I was a pretty good student. I always did my work on time and did well in my classes.

But the thing of it was, as much as I followed the rules, I didn’t necessarily like them.

The only thing that I liked less was getting in trouble. 

Now five years out of college and ten years out of high school, I have no problem breaking the rules…but before I get too carried away, I digress.

The reason why I don’t like rules is that they are not fun. And you know I’m all about having fun.

Rules are rigid that rarely account for the ebbs and flows of life.

Now, I’m not saying this is just one big free-for-all. I’m suggesting something better.

Instead of rules, I’m a much bigger proponent of principles.

You see, principles provide a framework or a template that can help provide some relatively loose parameters to get you started.

Principles are guidelines that help you make the best decision you can with everything you have available to you at that time.

With rules, you’re either in, or you’re out. Life just isn’t that black and white.

Consider the yellow and white lines on the road. While the laws surrounding staying in the lines are rules, what’s more, important is that these lines are in place to keep you safe. You stay on your side, and I stay on my side and let’s both stay out of the ditch.

But what if there is something in the road, and you need to cross into the other lane?

Since the lines themselves are just paint, there is absolutely nothing preventing you from doing so.

But, because you know that you’re leaving your side of the road, you’re going to have to pay extra attention to ensure that your next action is safe for you and anyone else in the oncoming direction.

These lines provide a framework for driving on the roads and are supported by signs, lights, and signals.

Even the US Constitution is a set of principles and not hard and fast rules. Don’t believe me? Then why would we ever have the Supreme Court whose job it is to interpret the Constitution? 

If it were only black and white answers, there would be no room for interpretation. It would either be or not be (is that still the question?).

A lot of the work I do is help my clients develop a framework for fitness, nutrition, and optimizing their life; a set of tools that can be used to help produce the best outcome in each situation and over time.

For example, one of the habits we work with is eating a lean protein at each meal. It’s a pretty simple habit for many but one that can require a good bit of practice.

But let’s say this client decides to go out for ice cream with their niece and nephew. Do they need to order some high protein variety or pair it with a protein bar? 

Absolutely not!

Not every “meal” has to be perfect.

Eating lean protein with every meal is part of the framework to help you look, feel, and perform at your best.

But it’s not a rule. It’s a guideline you can play with and explore.

So here’s the thing: some of us are going to do well with more structure than others.

And that’s great. That simply means you’re going to hold yourself a bit more closely to the framework. Your level of exploration may be a little less than others. Totally fine.

And some of us are going to have a much better time taking the guidelines, the framework, and continuing to play, adapt, and get creative.

Also great. Because honestly, it’s all good.

It’s all a matter of finding what works for you.

Principles are your starting point - something to help you conquer the blank page of your life.

Use them to your advantage. Use them how you will.


Sending you my best today and always,


Evan CookComment