The Lighthouse Principle


  • Principles as Lighthouses: Just as a ship cannot break a lighthouse, we cannot break principles; we can only harm ourselves by going against them.
  • Moral Compass: The story emphasizes the role of principles as a moral compass, guiding us and preventing us from being swayed by external pressures.
  • Timeless & Universal: The article highlights that principles are timeless and universal, providing stability and direction in a world with shifting values.
  • Importance for Future Generations: The author emphasizes the growing need for strong principles in the face of declining standards. It suggests that future generations will need even more guidance from these "lighthouses."
"Principles are like lighthouses. They are natural laws that cannot be broken. As Cecil B. DeMille observed of the principles contained in his monumental movie, The Ten Commandments, “It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law.” "
 - Steven R Covey

The author of the above quote tells this story below in his epic book; "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" to make the point regarding principles in life that hold us steady in turmoil. These form our moral compass to give us direction so we're not knocked about by every wind or fancy. It goes something like this:

One night at sea, a captain asks his first mate to send a warning message to another ship on a collision course in their sea-lane. The message read: 

'Advise you move Starboard, 20 degrees.'

The return message came back fast; 'Suggest You Move Starboard 20 degrees!'

Taking over the comms radio, and pulling rank and importance, the captain hails; ‘This is the Captain speaking onboard the Battleship HMS Vanguard. Starboard, 20 degrees, Now!’

The reply? ‘This is Petty Officer Third Class, at the Lighthouse. Your call Mate!’

You can feel your perspective shift, as the 'Aha!' dawns, right?

The moral of the story alludes to life’s timeless principles, which are like lighthouses.
  • You don’t break them.
  • You only break yourself against them.


Keeping ourselves in line with universal law is not easy. Mental health has become a global problem as freedoms are hailed and standards dropped. Whatever your personal persuasions, evaluate them well before you pass them on to the next generation. Tehy are going to need more 'lighthouses' than ever before! 

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical or psychological advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

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1 comment

Very true! A good lesson.


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