18 October 2022

Guiding Principles: the Triple A’s

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” 

― Anaïs Nin

Clarity is chief among decision making, but it requires the qualities of the Triple A’s: Awareness, Accountability, and Action. To have Awareness is to have knowledge and perception of a situation. Whereas Accountability is the condition of being accountable; taking responsibility. And finally, Action is the process of doing something to achieve an aim. When combined, these three qualities facilitate Presence. They do so by acting as guiding principles that help us to navigate life. Awareness being the first cab off the rank.


Awareness is the state of being in which one is conscious. Another word for it is cognisance. Being cognisant is when our understanding combines conceptual knowledge with intuitive knowing. That is, Awareness combined with factual knowledge and a deeper knowing. To be aware also means to be self-aware. This means being aware of oneself, in relation to one’s surroundings and others. Not only in the physical sense, but on a metaphysical level also. Which is to be aware of our essence; who we are at our core—which is consciousness. But on a more practical level, self-awareness is the quality of having a code of conduct. That is, having a moral and ethical code of values, as well as knowing the right etiquette. Developing self-awareness thus requires the clarity to be knowledgeable, alert, and perceptive. We can say that clarity is the ability to see. But Awareness is the ability to see through the smog; to grasp the subtext, if you will. It is the deeper wisdom, the clear-knowing of clarity. Thus, wisdom is knowing how to be, behave, and when to act.

Given this, cultivating Awareness and self-knowledge takes time. There are three important qualities needed for self-knowledge; cognisance, perceptiveness, and open mindedness. In other words, conscientiousness combined with fluidity. This is Presence. One way we can do this is to begin to notice the small things in daily life. To become aware; alert to the Present moment. What is going on at this moment? Am I seeing what is, or what I want to see? Often we force our thoughts, ideas, and feelings onto a situation, and in doing so we miss the Truth of the moment. Try to tune in. Be silent. Don’t feel the need to speak unless you have something genuine to say. Listen to others and give your full attention to the moment. Then, see what arises naturally within. What do you feel? If nothing surfaces, nothing surfaces, that’s okay. Don’t force anything. 

The point is, Awareness reveals Truth; and this is knowledge. But Awareness is not conceptual; it’s not an intellectual process requiring conceptual knowledge. Facts and figures may point to a certain brand of cleverness, it may even be intelligent, but it is not wisdom. And it’s far more important to cultivate wisdom than intelligence. To begin, note what catches your attention. Keep a journal with your thoughts. Sometimes clarity comes with hindsight, stay alert to subtle messages as time unfolds. Be perceptive of what is happening around you. This is to be and act with Awareness—intuition—an inner knowing. Awareness gives us clarity, and the next step is to accept what is; to take Accountability.


Accountability is to accept responsibility for our situation and actions. That is, to have the willingness to be accountable for our circumstances. Because without accountability we are victims. And a victim mentality is when one believes they are at the mercy of others. That is, they believe they are a victim of the adverse actions of others. Not only that, a victim believes they are a target for misfortune. In other words, they blame everything other than themselves for their adversity. To be clear, one may legitimately be a victim of wrongdoing by others—through no fault of their own. These extreme cases are very rare. An example is someone held against their will and threatened with violence. This is unfortunate and these situations deserve our understanding, compassion, and tolerance. But it is not an excuse to avoid responsibility when called for. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to transcend circumstances by accepting responsibility.

Despite what happens to us we must accept responsibility, including for our actions. Whether we are able to recognise it or not, in most circumstances, we have played a part in our situation. So we must accept this, there is no other way to move forward. Adversity and accountability are necessary for growth. But human beings avoid adversity like the plague. And while struggle and pain are not pleasurable experiences, but they are a fact of life. It’s difficult, but we need accept this. This is why acceptance is one of the most difficult qualities to master. Because it demands a high level of understanding and consciousness. To accept, we must not only have wisdom, but faith.

Faith and understanding are what’s lacking in the victim mentality. Which is also a mental condition that lives in the past. When in reality, there is only ever the Present moment. This may seem to be a very abstract concept, and thus nonsensical. But, this is key to understanding suffering. Reframing the situation with a sense of perspective is crucial if we are to move beyond it. Victimhood is a state that indulges in thoughts and feelings about the past. “This happened to me, so I am this.” In reality the only thing perpetuating this idea is the story about the idea itself. Once we are able to recognise this fact, and understand it with wisdom, we can transcend it.

While easier said than done, we must see challenges as an opportunity to learn and evolve. They are a chance for us to cultivate our Awareness, and to gain experience so that we can better navigate life. In times of hardship or crises: acknowledge, accept, understand, and move on. You will emerge more knowledgeable and wise. Understand that the past can only live as a story that the egoic mind chooses to perpetuate. The purpose of past experience is to serve our understanding of the Present moment. To give us the knowledge to make more informed, and empowered decisions. But it is Presence, Awareness, and experience—through action—that gives us wisdom.


Awareness is the greatest agent for change, but it requires us to follow through with Action. When appropriate Action is not taken we miss opportunities. This is because true knowledge and skills are learnt through the level of experience. On a metaphysical level, action reveals our rightful path; it shows us what works and what doesn’t. What we like and dislike. Also what we have a natural aptitude for. So action is necessary for our purpose. This is because Awareness and clarity can only come through the level of experience. Conceptual understanding stands worlds apart from physical experience. This does not mean to substitute Being, solitude, and contemplation with excessive doing. No, it means when necessary, take decisive steps forward with Awareness intact. Combine conceptual knowledge of the facts with the wisdom of intuition.

Only by taking Action can we gain experience, and only by experience can we gain clarity. The clarity that comes with self-knowledge and understanding—wisdom. Needless to say, honesty is paramount. Deception is delusion—it will always set you back. Meaning, you will continue to manifest the same experiences over, and over again. That is, until you learn the lessons behind them. Use your Awareness and accept Accountability for your life. Always consult the facts, especially when in doubt, and tune into your inner Being, then take Action. In closing, don’t kid yourself. Honour Truth and act with integrity. Use the Triple A’s to guide you in navigating life and to raise your level of consciousness.

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