Operating Principles of My Life

Published on 16 Jun 2023

Standing in front of the black, glossy stele now famously known as the Law of Hammurabi,

I read its description online and one of its famous principles called "Lex Talionis" caught my attention. It is essentially the Law of Retaliation, taking "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", or in other words, the punishment for a crime should be proportional to the harm caused by the offender. This seems harsh or outdated by modern standards but it gives you a small insight into the moral values of the time. Would I accept the idea of hurting someone or be vengeful if I was wronged? Or would I take a few deep breaths and with a sane mind argue the case or even forgive and forget?

I left the museum towards home but found myself at this "moral crossroad", if you will; how would I inscribe my "Lex Talionis"? After some introspection, I jotted down a list of principles that I believe I operate on on a daily basis. They are not perfect, they likely have flaws but they direct my actions, help me navigate ups and downs in life, and define who I am as an individual. And they, certainly, can change with age and new learnings.

Following are the operating principles of my life. I am neither elaborating on them nor intending to offer advice or practical tips to the reader but I will be glad to discuss them.

  • Life is about searching, yearning, longing and wanting. But take a few moments to be grateful for what you have.
  • Practice empathy and understanding. They are two sides of the same coin. Both are key to forming strong, supportive relationships with others.
  • Nature's diverse tapestry fosters balance and beauty. Appreciate and take care of its every creation, including us.
  • Human first. A human-centric approach fosters fairness and equality. Only when necessary, consider factors such as ethnicity, religion, gender, or other categories to differentiate individuals.
  • Eat healthy, exercise regularly and keep a healthy social life.
  • Travel more. See more of the world. It enriches you culturally and broadens your perspective.
  • Honesty leads to truthfulness; which leads to trustfulness; which makes one authentic and attractive. Be honest always.
  • Altruism is good but hard. So, try to to give more than you wish to receive.
  • If it hurts, don't experience it again. If it doesn't, it is worth a try.
  • Life should be a healthy proportion of happiness to suffering. Mathematically speaking, keep that proportion greater than 1.
  • Sometimes we experience loss to realize how to value and respect others before putting ourselves first. So, take every loss as a lesson to become a better version of yourself.
  • Don't work in any establishment where the management doesn't understand the value its employees bring to its success.
  • Take care of your team and lead by example. Be a leader, not a boss.
  • Mistakes are gifts. Celebrate failures like you do on success.
  • We are but bundles of energy gathering memories and stories as we journey through life in this ever-expanding universe. So, collect good memories and tell good stories.
  • Always keep learning. But also un-learning. In other words, keep improving. Time spent on Earth doesn't mean you grow in mind.

So, what's my personal "Lex Talionis"? Well, the wrongdoer will not be a part of my healthy social life, so I would sever ties with them and put them out of my mind. And I would defer to the law for their rightful handling, if it comes to that.