I’ve alluded on and off to the fact that writing a manifesto is one of the best things I have done for myself this year. My friend and cosmic little bro. Joe O’Leary of NorCal Strength and Conditioning recently wrote about how he applied this advice to himself to overcome adversity and focus his life. Why are we so passionate about this process?
Because writing a manifesto may just be the simplest step you can take towards building a purposeful and amazing life.
Writing a manifesto means understanding and standing by your values. It means being honest with yourself – about who you are for, what you want and how you live. Writing a manifesto is an act of personal and public courage as you declare yourself, and your intentions to the world.
Reflecting back on this, I might have been a bit hasty when I said it was the ‘simplest step’ you could take, because all that honesty, courage and self-awareness isn’t something most people come by easily. It requires some soul searching, a bit of time, and will probably be a process rather than a one time affair.
There are some great posts on how to write a manifesto, what elements could go into it, There are even examples of some famous and inspirational ones. You know the Life in Focus way, though, it doesn’t matter what’s right for others, you have to figure out what’s right for you.
In my case I first considered the values I stood by. Then I thought of some behaviors or attitudes that are specific to me, things I do consistently maybe even quirks that are fundamental to my nature. Finally, I faced my fears and declared my aspirations, and made sure to add those. I have revisited my manifesto very recently and added some things. The more I ponder on life and how I want to live it, the more I can be true to myself.
The beauty of this document is that it provides me with guiding principles to live by. When I am in doubt, when I’m having a bad day all I need to do is come back to this document and I’m sure to find something that will help me make sense of the noise in my head. It’s like a compass, showing me my true north. I know where I need to head, what I want to build and how to behave to be in synch with my values and needs.
It’s my guide to right for me.
Wanna Try Writing Your Own?
Grab the PDF Five Questions + One Tip to Write a GREAT Manifesto. This is not a “how to” tool you can follow the links I have earlier in the post to find basic how to articles by other bloggers . That’s not the way we do things at Life in Focus, I’m not going to assume you’re a simple cookie cutter life person. This is a “you’re the expert, but how about I help you by asking some great questions and offering a bit of help?” tool. Just click on the image below to get your FREE PDF today, and let me know how it goes.
Wanna see mine?
THE PRIMARY PRINCIPLE – Speak in truth!
This is my most important rule and at times the most difficult to uphold.
Say what you mean and mean what you say!
Speak with honesty, rather than shrouding your feelings and thoughts in half truths and altered versions of your voice to satisfy the feelings, needs and perceptions of others.
Understand what you want and need, and express those things openly never leaving others to guess your intentions, doubt your word or question your true nature.
Stand by the words that come out of your mouth, without shame for who you are and what you do.
As I relate to the world:
Don’t just do what’s right, do what’s right for you!
Take chances, practice taking the big risks in life and face your fear of failure. You don’t have to be responsible or do the safe and reasonable thing. Listen to your future self, the self you want to become, the self you want to be.
Don’t play games
Great opportunities are rare; don’t waste time making people guess, hope, question and doubt. Be, say, show who you are, what you want and what you have to offer.
There is no real advantage to be had in stringing people along or slowly leading them somewhere. Life is too short, don’t pass-up the opportunity to connect with others for fear of their judgment, or because of some imposed social rule and arbitrary timelines.
You will be surrounded by others who think differently, care more or know more about certain topics than you. You will be subjected to people who will look down upon you for not sharing their views, their taste and their discriminations. Always refer back to the Primary Principle to say what you mean and mean what you say. Never be ashamed to like what you like and be who you are. Accept differences and dismiss from your life those who cannot accept yours.
As I relate to myself:
Take the time, effort and steps necessary to know yourself. Ask often what matters and why. Don’t allow yourself to feel without investigating the nature of those feelings. Do not dismiss your thoughts or emotions. Be aware, present and mindful.
Love fully, cry hard, worry when needed
Feel all there is to feel without fear of the highs and the lows. Love fully, even though that might mean losing and hurting deeply. Cry hard because sadness and tears are proof of having cared and caring deeply shows commitment and value. Worry when needed because life is hard at times, and trying to eliminate worry from your life violates the principle of living with insight.
More generally, experience what there is to experience without holding back. Too often we dull our senses and our emotions to avoid pain or social judgement.
Find the fun
Don’t hide from the hardship of life, but do your best to find the fun, adventure and excitement in the experiences that life throws your way. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the to-dos, the frustrations and the disappointments of life. Once those have been acknowledged and experienced move on to what is left. Try not to brood. Be silly, be goofy and be you – because you are someone who likes to see the brighter side of things.
Sing always, dance often, smile when possible
Sing always! Sing with abandon, commitment and conviction.
Dance often, because your body is made to move and the opportunities to physically express your emotions are few and far between.
Smile when possible. There is nothing that opens more doors, hearts and lives than a smile. A genuine smile is a powerful asset; it has the fascinating effect of throwing other off or producing great joy.
Never stop moving forward
Learn, grow, build.
Move forward physically: because your body is designed to be powerful and strong. Never allow yourself to give up trying simply because the candles on your birthday cake are increasing. Never let someone else tell you you’re not capable of something. If you are curious, try it, the worst that can happen is failure.
Move forward intellectually: there is more to learn, to understand and to acknowledge than what you know today. The day you stop learning is the day you should consider yourself dead.
Move forward with emotional and psychological growth: You think you know yourself, but you will change; what you want, need and value will shift over time. Be open to learning about yourself and accept the changes as they come.
Connect with others
Build your relationships and build the relationships among the people you know. Create a web of amazing individuals to support your life, and help them support each other. Be open and outgoing, allow for the possibility that extraordinary people may enter your life, and create those opportunities.
When in doubt, breathe
When life seems difficult, when choices feel oppressive, when fun, smiling and singing seem impossible, breathe. Stop, sit, do nothing, but breathe.
Love is a choice, not an obligation
Make all the relationships in your life count. Be with others not because you should, but because you want to, and allow the people in your life to make the same choices about being with you.
Do not hold back from loving and caring for others out of obligation, and neither hold back those you love from loving others out of obligation to you. When people are meant to be together, when people love each other they can do so with a multiplicity of beings.