Society is governed by principles.
Society is governed by principles.

In June of 2006, President Obama stated, " We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values." This statement is an example of how ideals (principles) and set of values (morals) can work together in forming a positive image. When the words are used singularly, however, they are referencing a particular meaning. One of the easiest ways to define and understand the distinctive meaning between morals and principles is by the context in which they are used in everyday living.

The Meaning of Principles

The dictionary definition for principle is " An accepted or professed rule of action or conduct." In life, there are countless principles that a society develops, accepts and lives by. Principles can be found in a work environment where an employer has outlined acceptable codes of conduct. In the educational world, principles are rules that ensure that students and teachers exist in a successful learning environment. Without principles each individual would behave in a way that he deems appropriate, regardless of how acceptable his behavior is to those around him.

Principles in Life Context

It's very probable that you will one day ponder, "How can I be successful?" Success in your career or in fulfilling your life dream is a journey of trials and errors. For some people, this idea is enough; you, however, may want to know what daily rules (principles) a successful person lives by. Salman Amin, executive vice president of global marketing and chief marketing officer for PepsiCo, lists cultivating a learning agility, an ability to listen carefully and learning how to embrace change as principles for success.

The Meaning of Morals

Morals are accepted behaviors that govern how an individual lives. The development of morals is primarily based on the concept of doing no harm to oneself or others. Harm in the context of moral limitations can refer to damaging personal property, hurting someone's feelings, physical violence and causing discouragement. Morals exceed the purpose of principles as they are personal behavioral restrictions that are applied regardless of time or location.

Morals in Life Context

When a parent is concerned about her child's becoming a good person, she will focus on developing the child's morals. This process may begin by the parent's instilling the importance of self-control, learning how to follow principles set in society, developing positive self-esteem and nurturing the inclination to empathize. These morals are designed to help the child live by a consistent self-contained realm of "goodness."