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.
Using principles is a way of both simplifying and improving your decision making. While it might seem obvious to you by now, it’s worth repeating that realizing that almost all “cases at hand” are just “another one of those,” identifying which “one of those” it is, and then applying well-thought-out principles for dealing with it. This will allow you to massively reduce the number of decisions you have to make (I estimate by a factor of something like 100,000) and will lead you to make much better ones. The key to doing this well is to:
Identifying which “one of those” each thing is is like identifying which species an animal is. Doing that for each thing and then matching it up with the appropriate principles will become like playing a game, so it will be fun as well as helpful. Of course it can also be challenging. Many “cases at hand,” as I call them, are hybrids. When a case at hand contains a few “another ones of those,” one must weigh different principles against each other, using mental maps of how the different types of things I encounter should be handled. To help people do that, I created a tool called a Coach.
You can use your own principles, or you can use others’; you just want to use the best ones possible well. If you think that way constantly, you will become an excellent principled thinker.