On Principle
On Principle

On Principle

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Cold turkey.

My grandmother quit smoking in her seventies. Cold turkey.
Not because smoking is gross. Not because her friends were dying. Not to eke out a few more years on the planet.

But because the price of a pack of cigarettes rose to $2.

This wasn’t a budget issue. She didn’t have to choose between food and medicine and smokes. This was one-hundred-percent a matter of principle. 

She wasn’t going to pay $2. And that was that. 

The powerful forces of addiction and withdrawal waged a battle royale inside her. But they were no match for her sheer, stubborn adherence to principle.

From her, I got my love of garlic, pizzelles and cool old ashtrays. The principle thing, not so much.

I pride myself on my pragmatism and the ability to see things from multiple perspectives (see yesterday’s post). I’m flexible. I’m easy.

Thinking of my grandmother, I tried an experiment recently at work.

I picked a principle and stuck to it. I put my foot down. My way or the highway. My way proved the path of most resistance. I spent 10x energy and time sticking to my principle than if I had just done the damn thing myself. But that was no longer the point.

I was in rarefied air, flying one-hundred-percent on principle. It was new. It was exciting. It was exhausting. 

The takeaway: my grandmother was a stone-cold bad-ass. Me? I’m flexible.

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