Tag lines and guidelines are not just for companies. They can be extremely useful for individuals as well. A motto, dictate, intention, manifesto, whatever you choose to call it, can be very helpful in providing direction and guidance for decisions we make actions we take and the path we follow.
What Is A Personal Manifesto?
This is not a personal branding slogan for us to broadcast to the public arena. Nor is it a personal mission statement. My apologies to those teachers or success gurus, who have told us that we need to develop a very deep, specific, and detailed personal mission statement. I simply don’t agree. Often this type of mission statement takes hours to create and in the end is much too complicated to be useful for practical application.
It’s more of a personal dictate or code that serves as a guide as you navigate throughout life. It simplifies your decisions and choices and functions as a reminder of your intentions, beliefs, and priorities for life. While it is a useful tool for determining behavior and certainly helps direct actions that will help us move towards our important goals, it’s bigger than any specific goal or objective. It’s more of a broader sense of what lies underneath your goals.
The process of asking ourselves what our values are, what is important to us in life, and what our overall purpose is can be very revealing and extremely valuable. It sounds heavy, deep, and complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. We have a tendency to make things more complex than they need to be, but in terms of application, a simple statement can be much more powerful.
Creating Your Personal Manifesto
Do not mistake a manifesto for a resolution. That is a recipe for failure. A manifesto is not something we resolve to do, but instead it’s something we believe, a philosophy for how we want to live our lives. It can be a statement of purpose, a simple life intention, or the type of person we’d like to be. It’s also good to remember that over the course of our lives our personal manifesto may change. As we grow and experience life, we evolve, our priorities change and very often our beliefs shift as well as we grow in wisdom and exposure to the outside world. As we change, so may our intentions. That’s perfectly fine. Our personal code belongs to us alone. We created it, we choose to live by it, and so we have the power and the right to change it if it no longer fits us.
Some questions to help in the process of creating your manifesto:
What do I want out of life?
What are my values, my code of ethics?
Is there something I want to contribute to the world?
What do I wish to experience during my lifetime?
What type of person do I wish to be or become?
What do I want to accomplish?
A great example of a personal manifesto is “To continually grow as a person in every way.” When I asked the person who created this manifesto what it meant to him, he explained that his intention was to make the choice, whenever possible to move in the direction of growth. In practical terms that meant, to gain knowledge, to improve his skills, to explore his creative talents, and to strive to improve his relationships, his health, and his ability to contribute to the world around him.
Another wonderful example of a very simple manifesto is “Make Time Count.” The creator of this credo described that in the simplest of terms her intention for how to live her life in every area was to make the most of her time. That means that she chooses the most meaningful use of her time over the mundane. She chooses activities that add something to the quality of her life whether it’s at work or at home. That means conversations over television, projects before e-mail, experiences, creativity, and fun over rigid routines. It also means the elimination of unnecessary tasks, mindless activities, and meaningless resentments. A brief statement yes, and yet its simplicity is what makes it even more powerful.
When created with sincerity and self-awareness, your manifesto will be not only your creed, and your compass, but also a guideline for making decisions, big and small. Huge in its implication, practical in its application.
Do you have a manifesto of sorts?