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“Two of the most deadly roadblocks to peace are discouragement and pride.” Stephen r Covey/A. Roger Merrill.

In the book First Things First these two authors, along with Rebecca Merrill, opined that discouragement (literally lack of courage, as defined in that book) is a result of building life on an illusion rather than principle. It occurs most saliently when we are tired, angry, disappointed – in other words, when our focus on our mission is diluted by emotion. Instead of acting in accordance with our mission we excuse poor performance in the name of those emotional challenges, and ‘rational-lies’ our behaviour. The illusion is in the excuse.

Pride, in this context, stops us from behaving in accordance with our mission because Pride lies to us and tells us that our disciplined sacrifice may, in the moment, provide us with ‘less’ while providing someone else with ‘more’. It is a state of mind that in the moment seems to satisfy our ego (you now have something), while in the less obvious and longer term it also teaches us that someone, somewhere will have more than we have. By virtue of our pridefully thinking that we have the opportunity to obtain or do something ‘great’ and making a decision based on that pride, we accidentally accept that something else is greater, and in time we realise that we don’t have that. Peace is impossible when you spend your life looking for an illusory ‘better’.

Peace, inner peace, has been defined by Hyrum W. Smith as “having serenity, balance and harmony in your life through the appropriate control of events.” As events include every decision we make (and the consequences), it makes sense that one way to develop inner peace is through controlling events – by controlling each decision we make and by making sure that those decisions are based on compliance with our personal values and our mission statements. When we do that, inner peace is incubated because our conscience is not reminding us that we aren’t compliant with our chosen principles.

So to gain ‘inner peace’, make sure that you have identified your own Unifying Principles and that you make your decisions wholly with them in mind.

Act with courage – overcome the emotion of the moment and consider the greater emotion of the future peace. Act without pride – remember that what you gain from compliance with your principles is priceless. No-one has greater possession of personal value congruency. They either have it all, or they have none. You have it all – or you have none.