Family guy and dedicated high-school teacher in Florida. Aiming to help students with everything I can. Love reading and critical analysis.
Why Having a Personal Manifesto Matters
Do you wish you had a compass for life? Something that could direct your steps and help give you a clue as to which path you need to take? If so, you might want to think about writing your personal manifesto.
Sometimes life is a lot like feeling your way around in the dark. And with the amount of decisions we have to make on a daily basis it would be nice to have a helping hand. Right?
Personally my family helps direct me. But I also use a couple of practical tools to help direct my path — one of them being my personal manifesto.
I think of it as my compass for everyday living, and though it doesn’t physically direct my steps, having this valuable declaration of who I am at my fingertips helps me to live a more authentic and purposeful life.
What is a Personal Manifesto?
Your personal manifesto is a declaration of who you are — it represents the things that drive you and you believe in. It encompasses your strengths, values, passions and beliefs. It is the words that represent your most authentic self — you at your best.
Imagine someone walking up to you at a party. They introduce themselves, and you begin the polite back and forth dance that is predictable in these situations:
- What’s your name?
- Where are you from?
- What do you do?
There have been times when I’d wished the last of these questions could have been different. When I’ve wished we could cut it off and talk about our characters and what makes us come alive.
Unfortunately this isn’t socially acceptable, but wouldn’t it be so nice if it was? If we could discover what makes a person passionate about life, rather than what they do for a living? Because let’s face it, the two don’t always go hand-in-hand.
That stuff I’d rather talk about? The stuff that drives me. That’s what my personal manifesto is all about. And it serves as a reminder of what matters to me in those times when I have forgotten.
How Your Manifesto Will Help Direct Your Path
Much like the mission or manifesto of a business helps customers and employees know why they’re buying or selling, our personal manifesto does the same thing. It directs us as we make important decisions and helps us to be our most authentic selves in our relationships.
How to Write Your Personal Manifesto
Here I am going to give you 5 helpful tips to write your own personal manifesto. These will help you to create a great and full personal manifesto and direct your path.
1. Determine your core values
Your core values are the words you live by — the parts of yourself without which you wouldn’t feel whole.
Initially you may circle many that you believe represent who you are, but try to narrow your list down to five or six words that most accurately represent your core personality.
As an example, here are my own: authentic, loving, spiritual, confident, creative, respectful, joyful. I have seven (I cheated a little.) I am not all of these things all of the time, but if I was consistently missing one of these values, I would struggle to be my whole self.
2. Consider your strengths
You probably have a good awareness of your strengths — we’re often asked about them in different life circumstances, but do you know what they are outside of a work environment? Do you know what others value in you? Take some time to write about what you believe your main strengths to be and don’t be afraid to ask friends, family members and colleagues. You may be surprised by their answers.
3. Think about your beliefs
What do you believe about the world and your place within it?
According to Albert Einstein the most important question you can ever ask is this:
“Is the world a friendly place?”
I think this is a great question to begin with. Do you believe the world is a friendly place? What do you believe about the people within it, their rights and your relationship to them? Are there any issues that drive you? Make you angry? Touch you deeply? What are your spiritual beliefs?
What do you believe about who you are and the influence you have on others? In your community? And in society as a whole?
Take some time to write down your thoughts about these questions.
4. Follow your passions
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” ― Steve Jobs
Determining our passions might seem like the easiest task of all, but not always. Many people struggle to really connect with what motivates them and what they love, often because they simply never have a chance to be in the process of discovery.
From a young age I knew I was passionate about telling stories and writing. But I never really allowed myself to connect with that passion, simply because I didn’t think it would get me far in life. And I'm happy it turned just right for me and at the end I managed to follow my passion.
Often we deny our passions, put them on the back burner as distant dreams or long-lost talents. But they are the inner fires that often need rekindling as we age and forget who we are.
To determine your passions write not only about the things you love to do but also the things that interest you. You may be interested in something you’ve never tried before. Why not try it now?
I once met a lady in a writing class who was 87 years old. I was 30 at the time and regretting how long I had waited to write. But looking at that lady, I realized it’s never too late. I also vowed to never again procrastinate over my passions.
Your passions don’t have to be your life work, but they need to be the sparks that keep your inner fire aglow.
5. Understand your purpose
You may or may not believe we all have one true purpose in life and a mandate to discover what it is. Personally I believe that the “true purpose” theory is a little like the “soul mate” theory: there are many people out there we could spend a lifetime with, but some are far more right for us than others.
I believe the same when it comes to our purpose. I think purpose is about doing something we’re good at and passionate about — something that provides meaning and fulfillment both for ourselves and others. And it isn’t necessarily connected to your career.
If you spend your whole life looking for that one thing you were “supposed” to do, you might miss the many great things you could (or already are) doing along the way. Purpose can not be separated from passion. When you find your passion, you find your purpose.
As you write about this one, think about what you loved to do as a child but may not have done for years. Ask yourself what brings you joy and what you could easily allow yourself to become lost in doing.
Once you’ve figured out your passions, strengths, values and beliefs, your purpose will begin to take shape in your mind.
Try it Yourself Now
It’s over to you now, but don’t think you will figure all this out overnight. It takes time, thought and a willingness to be curious and open about who you are and who you’d like to be. Once you’ve written around each component of the manifesto, it’s up to you how you write it. Be creative. You can even create a vision board if you like.
- Have you tried writing in any of these areas before?
- About which area do you have the most self-awareness?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!