In his post “How Personal Manifesto’s help us make better decisions, author/podcaster Todd Henry talks about the importance of having our personal or team manifesto’s and how they can help us make decisions that are consistent to what we set out to achieve.
A personal manifesto is not a playbook but is like a friend, philosopher and a guide whenever we need one of them.
If you are like me, you would experiences where you come out and say to yourself – what the hell was I thinking when I made that decision or said/did whatever I said/did. This happens because in moments of stress, we resort to flight, fight or freeze response – not very apt for a delicate situation, usually.
If we have a personal manifesto, and look at it in moments of stress, it allows us to avoid the fight, flight or freeze response and make an alternate choice, one that is consistent with out personal manifesto.
So, in addition to helping us have clarity about what we stand for, in good times, a personal manifesto also helps us avoid some embarrassing moments in our life, by being a set of principles that guide your decisions.
They also serve us by reminding us of our core values, and what we are unwilling to compromise for short-term gain.
- In a complex world, a personal manifesto gives us a simple set of rules by which to live.
- It shows others what matters to us, and helps you be more consistent in how we approach our work.
- This consistency of thought, speech and action creates a brand, that is us.
Todd shares his personal manifesto in the blog post publicly. I don’t have a personal manifesto, but I think this is as good a moment to create one, as any other.
So, here we go.
My Personal Manifesto:
Be healthy (physically, emotionally, fiscally, intellectually & spiritually).
Without health (in all the five domains), there is nothing much that we can achieve. So, health in all these domains critical.
Be fiercely curious.
One of the things that define me and my personality is my curiosity. I don’t want to lose that. In fact, I want to nurture my curiosity by feeding it with curious and interesting stuff to feast on.
Be consistent & persistent.
One of the most important and under-rated virtues in people is their ability to show-up consistently and persist till the job is done. This is one area where i still have some work to do.
Do work that matters (to me).
Sometime back, I realised that I had tried to live someone else’s definition of a good life for a long time. Now, I want to live a life that I want to live, do work that matters to me and in a way that I believe to be the best way to do it.
Don’t judge others. To each, his own.
I have realised that no one sets out to do something wrong. They have their own reasons to do what they do. So, instead of working up about how wrong someone is, it is best not to judge their actions. To each, his own.
There is always a way out.
I have gone through some very deep and dark times and have always come out stronger. The depression, the sense of going nowhere, the feeling of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Despite how we feel in the moment, there is always a way out. We just need to figure it out.
Its better to apologise for taking action, than to wait for permission.
One thing that has always worked for me, through my career is my ability to take action without waiting for permission to take action. It has never happened that someone questioned my taking action. This will continue to be a theme that I will follow for life.
Always keep running experiments – small one’s. Use the TR/LR loop to keep getting better. TR/LR is how adult learning happens – You try something, Reflect on the result, Learn from the reflection and repeat the experiment.
Keep things simple.
Life is too short to complicate stuff. Simple is best. Simple expectations. Simple goals. Simple lifestyle.
Instead of “Either/Or”, think “And”
This is inspired from Peter Diamandis’s philosophy that he refers to in his book – Bold. When given a choice, select both. That is the way to not compromise and go for moonshot.
One of my mentors, Porus Munshi said it best. Its easier and more fun to try to go after a “10x” scale than anything else. It makes you think and work smarter, rather than work harder.
Steal like an artist & make it your own.
This one is inspired by Austin Kleon and his book – Steal like and artist. As long as we copy and bring in our very own individuality to the copy, copying is the best compliment that we can give to the artist. Just like the one that i am giving to Todd Henry, by getting inspired by his post.
Impossible is nothing.
This is another thing that i have not really lived by but want to. I want to do things that I feel passionate about, that people consider impossible. “Impossible is nothing” is what I want to learn and personify.
We are all behaving as if we are running a race and that if we don’t rush, we will be late. We will be late to the party, to our office, to our client meetings, to home, to watch the movie and for everything else. The world around us is beautiful; people around us are beautiful. It is ok to slow down. It is imperative that we slow down and enjoy the sunrise or the sunset or the slow movement of the leaves and flowers in the breeze.
Remember Rule No. 6
These are the guidelines that will help me lead my life. In times of stress or duress, when I am in doubt or tempted, these will be my friend, philosopher and guide and help me lead a life that I want to live.
Just like me, these are living, breathing and ever evolving.
What is your manifesto? If you don’t have one yet, time to build one now.