Confusing Approaches with Principles

Let’s consider 2 very short stories –

He met her at a friend’s get together.

They hit it off. He asked her out for coffee.

Over coffee, he realized that she loved reading mystery books too.

Oh, she was also an avid sports person. They had so many similar interests!

Their relationship was made in heaven.

Except, it wasn’t

6 months later, he sat on his park bench and wondered why he got into it in the first place.

He was introduced to him at an event for entrepreneurs.

He noticed they had similar styles and similar passions.

As they got talking, they realized they had both been looking for a partner to start up with.

He quit his job and they started a company together.

It was all meant to be.

Except it wasn’t.

6 months later, he was back at the park bench..

Styles and approaches are often confused with principles. The question – ‘How are you two so close?/How do you two work with each other? You seem so different?’ always refers to the style/approach because that is what is most evident. It is pretty easy to spot if he/she is pessimistic/quiet/reserved/loud/confident etc. It is, of course, much harder to see that he/she believes in family, integrity, humility versus money, power, fame.

Disagreements on principles are hard to reconcile. If you are not aligned on ‘learning’ as a principle, you are probably never going to approach or reflect on a situation the same way. If you disagree on ‘books’ as an approach to getting prepared, that can still be solved because your differences will likely make the learning experience richer.

Approach/Style is a bit like the personality of a celebrity. It tends to ‘wow’. Principles/Values are the boring character building stuff.

And as it is with most things in life, it is up to us to choose what works for us.