HomeEveryday Life40 in 40: Lesson #28

40 in 40: Lesson #28

Route 40

40 in 40: #28

When I was around 30 my kids were 9, 6, and 3. I was in the thick of young kid chaos. And I wasn’t sure how things were going for me as a dad.

So I looked for a solution. I asked a mentor, whose kids I thought had turned out terrific, this question:

“Pat, I need help. What were the rules that you used with your kids when they were young?”

First thing Pat said was, “Greg, I think you need to think differently about this. We have principles that guide our family, not rules.”

And then he shared those principles.

That was an invaluable lesson.

Lesson #28

In life, principles trump rules.

When I change my frame from “rule” to “principle” I see things differently.

The world gets a lot bigger. There is freedom. I can be creative.

I can look for solutions that work in my circumstances and in my life. I don’t need to live by arbitrary “rules” but rather by the things that I want to move toward in life.

There is joy in looking at life like that.

Are you striving to obey rules or are you looking for the principles that you want to be guided by?

Keep moving forward,


Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

3 Responses to “40 in 40: Lesson #28”

By Deb dininno - 2 October 2011

I’d love to hear some of those principals… Or the principals you use with middle/ high schoolers…

By deb dininno - 3 October 2011


By greg - 3 October 2011


I’ll share this week sometime a post with more of our families principles in it.


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