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107 Examples of Life Principles

Life principles are truths or guidelines that are helpful in navigating life. These can be applied to your plans, problems, decisions, habits and behaviors in order to improve. The following list of life principles is based on sayings from several cultures starting with Western antiquity.


Latin sayings that generally originate with Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece.
Ab uno disce omnes
From one, learn all.
Ad impossibile nemo tenetur.
No one can be asked to do the impossible.
Aquila non capit muscas
The eagle doesn’t catch flies.
Ars est longa, vita brevis.
Art is long, life is short.
Ars gratia artis
Art for art's sake
Audentes fortuna iuvat
Fortune favors the bold.
Audi alteram partem
Listen to the other side.
Bene qui latuit, bene vixit
He who has lived well has lived unnoticed.
Carpe diem
Seize the day.
Carpe noctem
Seize the night.
Damnant quod non intelligunt
People condemn what they do not understand.
Dies diem docet
One day teaches the next.
Disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus
Learn as if you will always live, live as if you will die tomorrow.
Docendo discimus
By teaching, we learn.
Docendo discimus
By teaching, we learn.
Dum spiro, spero
While I breathe, I hope.
Dum vita est, spes est
While there is life, there is hope.
Dum vita est, spes est
While there is life, there is hope.
Dum vivimus, vivamus
While we live, let us live.
Dum vivimus, vivamus
While we live, let us live.
Errare est humanum, perseverare autem diabolicum
To err is human, to persist in error is diabolical.
Esse quam videri
To be, rather than to seem.
Ex nihilo nihil fit
Nothing comes from nothing.
Faber est suae quisque fortunae
You are the architect of your own fortune.
Fac totum, quod in te est
Do all that you can do.
Facta non verba
Actions, not words.
Fata viam invenient
The Fates will find a way.
Festina lente
Slowly go fast.
Fiat lux
Let there be light.
Fide, sed cui vide
Trust, but watch whom you trust.
Fortis cadere, cedere non potest
The brave may fall, but cannot yield.
Fugit hora
Time escapes.
Homo homini lupus est
Man is a wolf to man.
Ignorantia non est argumentum
Ignorance is not an argument.
In cauda venenum
In the tail is the poison – the worst is yet to come.
In dubio pro reo
The benefit of doubt goes to the accused.
In medio virtus
The middle is virtuous.
Inveniam viam aut faciam
I will find a way or make one.
Ipsa scientia potestas est
Knowledge is power.
Iustitia omnibus
Justice for all.
Labor omnia vincit
Work conquers all.
Libertas inaestimabilis res est
Freedom is a powerful thing.
Luctor et emergo
Struggle and emerge.
Memento mori
Remember that you will die.
Memento vivere
Remember to live.
Nihil sub sole novum
There is nothing new under the sun.
Nil desperandum
Never despair.
Nosce te ipsum
Know thyself.
Omne trium perfectum
Three is perfection. [this probably inspired the rule of three]
Omnia vincit amor
Love conquers all things.
Pacta sunt servanda
Agreements must be kept.
Per angusta ad augusta
Through difficulties to greatness.
Primum non nocere
First, do no harm.
Quod est in animo, est in corpore.
What is in the mind is in the body.
Si vis amari, ama
If you wish to be loved, love.
Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war.
Tempus edax rerum
Time devours all things.
Tempus fugit
Time flies.


Well known Japanese proverbs.
Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru
Dust can become a mountain.
Hana yori dango.
Practical things over luxuries. Literally: food before flowers.
Hotoke no kao mo sando made.
Even Buddha loses his temper three times.
Ichigo ichie.
Moments never repeat.
Ii hajime wa hanbun no seikou.
A good start is half the success.
Iro wa nioedo chirinuru o, waga yo tare zo tsune naran.
All things, even beautiful things, must inevitably come to an end.
Iwanu ga hana.
Silence is golden.
Kawaii ko ni wa tabi saseyo.
You can’t be overprotective of those you love. Literally: sending a child on a journey.
Kuchi wa wazawai no moto
The mouth is the source of trouble.
Me wa kuchi hodo ni mono wo iu.
Eyes speak as much as the mouth.
Nanakorobi yaoki.
Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.
A skilled hawk hides its talons.
Okite hanjou, nete ichijou
The more active you are the less you need. Literally: When awake, half a tatami mat is sufficient; when sleeping, one tatami mat is not enough.
Ryoyaku wa kuchi ni nigashi.
Good medicine tastes bitter.
Saru mo ki kara ochiru.
Even monkeys fall from trees.
Sente hisshou
He who strikes first wins.
Shikata ga nai.
Some things are beyond our control. Literally: It can't be helped.
Shiranu ga hotoke.
Not knowing is bliss.
Suki koso mono no jouzu nare.
Practice makes perfect in what you love.
Warau kado ni wa fuku kitaru.
Good fortune comes to those who smile.
Wazawai tenji te fuku to nasu.
Turn calamity into a blessing.


Traditional German sayings.
Alles zu seiner Zeit.
Everything in its season.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Starting is easy, persistence is an art.
Aufschub bringt Gefahr.
There is danger in delay.
Bald reif hält nicht steif.
Premature success is often shortlived.
Das Billige ist immer das Teuerste.
The cheapest is always the most expensive.
Ein Unglück kommt selten allein.
Misfortune seldom comes alone.
Ein guter Ruf ist schwer zu erwerben, aber leicht zu verlieren.
A good reputation is hard to earn, but easy to lose.
Geduld bringt Rosen.
Patience brings roses.
Hunde, die bellen, beißen nicht.
Barking dogs seldom bite.
Wer rastet, der rostet.
He who rests grows rusty.


French sayings and proverbs.
Après la pluie, le beau temps.
After the rain, good weather.
Autres temps, autres mœurs.
Different times, different customs. What was acceptable before may not be now.
C'est la goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase.
It's the drop of water that makes the vase overflow.
C'est la vie.
That's life.
C'est le ton qui fait la musique.
It's the tone that makes the music. It’s not what you say but how you say it.
Comme on fait son lit, on se couche.
It takes all sorts to make a world.
Il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger.
One must eat to live, not live to eat.
Il faut se méfier de l'eau qui dort.
Beware of the still water.
La nuit porte conseil.
The night carries advice. Sleep on it.
La vérité sort de la bouche des enfants.
Children speak the truth.
On va plus vite seul, mais on va plus loin ensemble.
You go faster alone, but you go further together.
Pas de nouvelles, bonnes nouvelles.
No news is good news.
Petite pluie abat grand vent.
A little rain calms a big wind.
Pierre qui roule n'amasse pas mousse.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés.
To live happily, live hidden.
Qui ne risque rien n'a rien.
Who risks nothing, gains nothing.
À chaque jour suffit sa peine.
Each day has enough trouble of its own. No need to make trouble as it will come of its own accord.
À quelque chose malheur est bon.
Misfortune is good for something.

Personal Development

This is the complete list of articles we have written about personal development.
Comfort Zone
Increased Productivity
Life Accomplishments
Life Change
Life Direction
Life Goals
Life Needs
Life Principles
Life Purpose
Meaningful Work
Negative Emotions
Peoples Why
Personal Challenges
Personal History
Personal Improvement
Personal Leadership
Personal Power
Personal Principles
Personal Productivity
Personal Projects
Personal Qualities
Personal Success
Personality Traits
Pragmatic Principles
Social Traits
To-Not-Do List
Why Statement
More ...
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