Principles are ways of successfully dealing with reality to get what you want out of life.
Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, cites principles as his key to success.
It is a great paradox that individually we are simultaneously everything and nothing. Through our own eyes, we are everything--e.g., when we die, the whole world disappears. So to most people (and to other species) dying is the worst thing possible, and it is of paramount importance that we have the best life possible. However, when we look down on ourselves through the eyes of nature we are of absolutely no significance. It is a reality that each one of us is only one of about seven billion of our species alive today and that our species is only one of about ten million species on our planet. Earth is just one of about 100 billion planets in our galaxy, which is just one of about two trillion galaxies in the universe. And our lifetimes are only about 1/3,000 of humanity's existence, which itself is only 1/20,000 of the Earth's existence. In other words, we are unbelievably tiny and short-lived and no matter what we accomplish, our impact will be insignificant. At the same time, we instinctually want to matter and to evolve, and we can matter a tiny bit--and it's all those tiny bits that add up to drive the evolution of the universe.
The question is how we matter and evolve. Do we matter to others (who also don't matter in the grand scope of things) or in some greater sense that we will never actually achieve? Or does it not matter if we matter so we should forget about the question and just enjoy our lives while they last?