During an informal discussion, our Professor advised a few of us that one could not be truly happy unless one lived one’s life according to one’s principles. As an example, he said that he dabbled in the stock-market, but he never traded in shares of companies connected with the alcohol and tobacco industries since he was strongly opposed to the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
When one of us asked him why that was such a big deal, the Professor revealed that, six months earlier, his Investment Analyst had advised him to sell his shares in an engineering company and buy shares in a cigarette manufacturing company, but he had refused to do this as a matter of principle. Both company’s shares were trading at about Rs. 200 then. Now, the engineering company’s shares were trading at Rs. 210, while the cigarette company’s shares were trading at Rs. 240. If he had sold the engineering company’s shares and bought the cigarette company’s shares, he would have been richer by Rs. 30 per share! But he had absolutely no regrets.
In the process of adhering to his principles, our Professor had willingly given up the chance to earn a profit that was more than half his annual salary!
What a refreshing change from owners of alcohol businesses who remain teetotalers due to the ill-effects of alcohol, owners of tobacco product businesses who don’t consume their own products because they are carcinogenic, and religious leaders who gladly accept donations from alcohol and tobacco businesses despite preaching against alcohol and tobacco!
“Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.” – Abraham Lincoln
“There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.” – Stephen Covey
“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.” – Victor Hugo