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Non-Negotiable Core Principles

non-negotiable core principles

Non-Negotiable Core Principles

Why Strong Core Values are no Longer “Nice to have” but a Must

Probably the oldest saying regarding change goes, “Love it. Change it. Or leave it.” For me, this triad hits the nail on the head in its simplicity. In all areas of life, we have exactly these three options. If we love the status quo, then, of course, this is the perfect case, because we are intrinsically motivated and enthusiastic to take the necessary action. It gets trickier when we are dissatisfied with any things, conditions, or situations. Then we basically have two options: we can change the unsuitable state of affairs, or – if this isn’t possible for some reason – at least change our attitude toward it. For example, we can use a new perspective, gather new information, or increase our choices. And then there is the rare – but definitely possible – case that all our efforts will fizzle out with no results.

Core Values are the Foundation of a Successful Business

So far, so good. But what sounds so simple is a great challenge for many people because they don’t have the necessary internal compass to guide them to choose one of the three options. This is precisely where the non-negotiable core principles come into play. It’s a concept that I have been using for many years as my personal navigation system to help me make important decisions and that gives me the necessary guidance. These principles are the prerequisites, necessary conditions, or requirements that determine whether or not to do things. Let’s take my business strategy as a concrete example. When I first wrestled with the concept of non-negotiable core principles many years ago, I asked myself the following question: “What absolutely must be given to make a job permanent, to run a business, or to take a business opportunity?” What resulted are my four non-negotiable core principles.

Non-Negotiable Core Principle 1: I Must Be Able to Act on My Own

Self-determination is my most important value and, therefore, not negotiable. Whatever I do, I must have maximum freedom in my thinking, decisions, and actions. By this, I don’t mean that I can do what I want, but that I do not have to do what I do not want to do. It’s a small but very decisive difference that is often overlooked. Here’s an example. For me today, it’s the greatest freedom ever to be able to reject a lucrative offer because the potential customer contradicts all of my values.

Non-Negotiable Core Principle 2: It Must Have a Purpose

Life is too short to waste it with insignificance, and I have no desire for purposeless tasks anymore. For this reason, it’s also important to me that my work has a meaning. The greater this is, the happier I am.

Non-Negotiable Core Principle 3: I Have to Be Able to Earn Money with It

No, not because I’m so keen on having a lot of cash (although I really enjoy making money, even a lot of it), but to grow my company, provide for my family and give my two daughters the best possible future. If I can’t earn money with an idea, it may be a nice hobby, but to count as a business, there needs to be a demand that corresponds to the supply. Incidentally, this is one of the main reasons why aspiring entrepreneurs fail. They are so driven by their passion that they forget about important economic principles.

Non-Negotiable Core Principle 4: It Must Be Pretty Damn Fun

The world is full of humourless people who manage to spoil every moment with their grumpy attitude. I, personally, would like to have as much fun as possible. Not only do I always enjoy an endorphin rush, but I also know that you make the best decisions under positive conditions. Not to mention that all the successful people I know have one trait in common: a sense of humour. Because those who can laugh about themselves and their problems can also deal much better with the various challenges of life.

Love it. Change it. Or Leave it.

These are the four most important factors that are crucial to everything I do. They are non-negotiable and serve as a kind of internal constitution for my entrepreneurial existence, and indeed for my life, in general. I’m well aware that one or more of these values can’t be met in the short term. That’s okay because your life is not always a jukebox. In the medium and long term, however, I am not ready to make lazy compromises. If I find that even one of these non-negotiable core principles is consistently violated, then I take appropriate measures. And now the circle closes, because at this point, we’re back to the good old “Love it. Change it. Or leave it.”

Be Firm in Your Values, But Flexible in Your Behaviour

I’m sure you’ve been thinking about your own values while reading my four principles, but I’d like to explicitly ask you the pivotal question here: What are your non-negotiable principles, with which you can pursue your profession with passion and motivation? Which core values are non-negotiable for you and serve as an inner compass for all your decisions in business and in life? The more concretely you can formulate these principles, the more flexible you will be in your behaviour. The more you can rely on stable principles, the better you will be able to withstand change, even in times of constant change. Moreover, once you’ve defined your non-negotiable core principles, you’ll feel an unexpected sense of freedom. For one thing, you gain a wonderful clarity about what you want and what you expect from life.

At the same time, you also install an unconscious signal system, which will always sound an alarm if your basic principles are consistently violated. You will then know that it’s time to leave. The bottom line is the following rule of thumb: Stay true to your values and principles, but be as flexible as possible in your behaviour. Or, as Victor Hugo said, “Change your opinions, but stick to your principles. Change your leaves, but keep your roots intact.” There’s nothing more to add. Grzeskowitz over and out.

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