7 signs you’re a highly principled person (and how it benefits you)

I’ll tell it to you straight: when you have your principles together, you have a distinct advantage over most people in life. 

Think about it, if you were an employer, would you rather hire a highly principled candidate over someone you’re unsure about? I think we both know the answer. The same reasoning applies to potential business partners, romantic partners, and so on.

The question is: how do you spot principled behavior in yourself and others? Well, you’re in luck. In this article, I’ll walk you through the telltale signs. 

Let’s dive in! 

1) You’re consistent 

Here’s the thing: when you’re highly principled, your actions aren’t dictated by emotions or mood swings. You’re consistent with how you move, with core values and beliefs always at the forefront. 

You see, when people act disingenuously, the cracks begin to surface once they inevitably run out of steam. 

They might be able to display kindness and empathy in spurts, for instance, but it’ll be short-lived and inauthentic. And people catch on fast. 

Your actions only become truly real (i.e. a part of your essence) when they’re consistent. Once you develop this consistency, expect to gain respect from those around you.  

When I graduated college, I was pretty ambitious. I wanted to own a business, I wanted a chiseled physique, I wanted a model girlfriend. 

However, for me to achieve such lofty ideals, consistent effort would be required. And sure, some days when I felt like it, I’d put the work in. 

For example, I’d write the first couple of pages of a business plan, only to get sidetracked soon after by a basketball game or YouTube. 

It was only when I consistently worked hard with minimal interruptions that I started to see actual progress. 

2) You have integrity

Believe it or not, some people are motivated to act solely as a means of gaining the approval of others, a habit ultimately rooted in self-interest. 

Are you honest and truthful, even when nobody is watching? Then chances are you have a pretty high level of integrity. 

When you have genuine integrity, you refuse to stretch the truth or omit information, even if it means personal gain. 

You have a firm set of principles and you stick to them with the stubbornness of a mule standing their ground. 

At the end of the day, having integrity will greatly benefit your professional and personal life.

The people who matter know that things like integrity, reliability, and trustworthiness are incredible assets in life… and guess what? You have them all in your arsenal.  

3) You have respect for others 

As a highly principled person, you know the importance of treating everyone equally and fairly, regardless of external and superficial factors like race, gender, status, etc. 

You recognize that we’re all just humans with similar needs and struggles. 

You don’t have a lot of prejudices and always choose the language of kindness and respect, which means stronger connections in life. 

As a result of your respectful ways, you’re treated in kind by others. This world is governed by give and take, something that very much extends to our interactions and relationships. 

I know people who are only nice to others when something’s in it for them. They’ll act like longtime best pals with people they think can advance their status in life.

But when the waiter comes around, the true colors will invariably surface. They’ll speak to the server dismissively and rudely as if they’re a second (or even third) class citizen. 

Suddenly, the friendly persona dissipates and their inner Karen comes out. A word to the wise, don’t be like this.

Don’t forget: true character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you. 

4) You’re pretty courageous 

Real talk: when you notice things don’t add up, you’re not shy to speak out. You aren’t scared to stand up for what you believe in, even when it’s unpopular. 

Let’s say your employer has a tendency to overwork employees and cross boundaries by making you work on weekends with little to no compensation. 

While your colleagues stay quiet, afraid to rock the boat, you have the courage to confront the boss about the unfair treatment. 

Soon after, your boss starts to show newfound respect for staff. 

This ability to bravely speak up in potentially hostile scenarios makes you an effective leader… and a highly principled one as well. 

Your courage also has the potential to inspire others and lead to positive change for everyone. Ain’t that something? 

5) You have accountability 

Fun fact: to err is human. In other words, making mistakes is part of life, part of the human experience–it’s how we respond that counts. 

When something goes wrong, do you take responsibility for your actions or try to shift blame to others? 

People with a high level of principles take accountability for their actions, even if it means having to endure the consequences. 

They often consider mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow.

But above all else, they know that being accountable is simply the right thing to do and that alone is sufficient reason to act. 

6) You’re disciplined

From my experience, highly principled people have enormous self-control when doing the right thing, despite all the temptations to abandon it. 

They know that by regularly choosing the righteous and diligent path, everything will come into place down the line.

High principled people are fully aware that to achieve things of value in life, like harmonious relationships or a job promotion, they have to put the time in, with minimal shortcuts. 

I mean, sure, you can get lucky and win the Powerball, but thinking this way isn’t sustainable for the majority of people. 

Having discipline allows you to achieve long-term goals, teaching you patience and endurance along the way. So just like that fabled tortoise, know that slow and steady often wins the race. 

When you achieve and earn something out of sheer hard work and discipline, there’s no better feeling in the world frankly.

7) You don’t give up easily 

Many people have the potential to do well in life but throw in the towel at the first appearance of adversity. 

Remember, success is 99 percent perspiration, 1 percent inspiration. You can have all the talent in the world but without a resilient attitude, it will only take you so far. 

When you’re highly principled, you tend to have this ability to bounce back from disappointments and come back stronger, equipped with a ton of valuable lessons. 

Opening my dream business: How my persistence paid off

My dream was always to start my own restaurant. Ten years ago, I got that opportunity. I opened a rotisserie chicken spot in my hometown. 

I had high expectations for the business. But in the first few weeks, reality firmly slapped me in the face: there were barely any customers, and I was on the verge of panic. 

Fortunately, I got my act together and was able to methodically fix things. 

I organized marketing events with food influencers, I had handed out flyers on busy streets and gave our social media channels a facelift. 

Soon, the customers began pouring in… much to my relief. Fast forward a few years later, I opened several branches all over town, including a couple of franchises. 

We were so popular we were getting franchise inquiries from all over the world! 

The brand became the success that I had always envisioned. Despite the initial scare, things worked out, in large part due to my persistent attitude

Moral of the story? If you stay determined with your eyes constantly on the prize, then you can fully expect good things to happen. 

You’ll come out the other side with stronger character and richer life experiences too. 

Final thoughts

To recap, living as a highly principled person can yield some remarkable benefits. 

When these principles become a part of you, you can expect your personal and professional wins to soar exponentially. 

And as a bonus, you’ll be contributing to a fairer society in your own way. 

So stay true to your principles and don’t let up, you’ll be a role model to yourself and others in no time. 

If you aren’t quite where you want to be, that’s fine. As long as you have the will and dedication to move forward, then you’re golden. 

Take baby steps, but always take into account progress. So keep going, become that principled person you’ve always wanted to be, and make the world a better place.  

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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