Principles Vs Purpose (I)

Thoughts from an unlikely conversation

3 min readAug 21, 2023
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels

There is a power problem on my street (transformer issues) so I charge my phone at a shop, business center or wherever I can once there is power.

Today, I was charging my phone as usual when I witnessed an interesting conversation between 2 people. A gentleman was passing by and stopped to greet the shop owner who admiring his shirt (a blue/black chequered long sleeved flannel shirt) asked where he got it and how much he bought it. He answered by indication of hands that he got it for N10,000 which elicited some interesting reactions.

The shop owner declared quite passionately that there was no way he would buy 1 item of clothing for that price. He proclaimed that he could however buy 2 articles – a shirt and a pair of trousers for that price or slightly higher but never just a single item of clothing. He explained still very passionately that he was a business man and a family man (the implication being that he had responsibilities and had a business to run – which both required prudence).

The gentleman wearing the shirt countered that it makes sense to look good and seemed slightly offended. The shop owner explained in a conciliatory tone that while he was at his shop everyday just like he was at that moment, no one would come in to do business expecting him to be expensively dressed (He wore a worn polo t-shirt and black distressed jeans) as it was unnecessary for him. While this was going on, the others in the shop listened to their exchange. Some of us laughed when the shop owner said that he could actually afford to buy it but would not and that if he did, his wife would not be happy with him.

I listened to both men with a smile on my face and summed up their conversation in 2 simple words 'Principle' and 'Purpose'.
These 2 terms guide and direct our every decision. Loosely applied, our principles are our 'What' while purpose is our 'Why'.

The dictionary defines Principle as 'A Kind of Rule, Belief or Idea that Guides You' and Purpose as 'The Reason for which Something is Done or Created or for which Something Exists'

In retrospect, I would assume the first gentleman’s principle would be something like ‘Dress as you would like to be addressed’ or ‘When you look good you feel good’ while the shop owner’s principle would be something like ‘Dress for purpose’ or ‘Dress for necessity

None of them is inherently wrong. They just had equally strong views and approaches on the matter.

While the conversation might have been sparked by the price of a shirt, the deeper meanings (for me) involved principle and purpose as guides in our every day decisions and actions.

To Be Continued




Writer, Poet, Author and Content Creator. Shop my digital products on Selar👇👇