By now, the story of Enron’s corporate ethic is well known: the company chiseled its values into the stone walls of its lobby, and employees walked past those words morning and night until the day the company failed.

That’s why we begin with ethics: until you’re clear on them, you can’t proceed to economics, politics, or beyond — and being clear on your ethics is never as simple as choosing the words (even if you carve them in stone).

Aristotle taught this way. The Buddha taught this way. Most of our great teachers, ancient and modern, teach this way: before fixing your neighbor — or your bank account, or your representatives — ensure you have removed the log from your own eye.

Ethics themselves are actions more than words, and (as Aristotle well knew) habits even more than actions.

What principles have you (or should you) write down?

Which ones might you be walking past every day?