“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” ~Epictetus
(Download a digital version to print and fill out here.)
A Declaration of Intent
What is a manifesto?
The word brings to mind Karl Marx, thundering politicians, and grand ambitions. While those images are not totally off the mark, they don’t get at the heart of what “manifesto” actually means.
Wikipedia describes it as “a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party, or government.” The word “manifesto” traces its roots to the Latin manifestus, which means “obvious,” that then morphed into the verb manifesto, which means “make public.” The English roots of the word also share the dual meaning: as an adjective, “manifest” means “clear or obvious to the eye or mind,” and in its verb form the word means “display or show (a quality or feeling) by one’s acts or appearance; demonstrate.”
While a manifesto is often used by companies and politicians, we’re going to focus on using it as a personal tool to determine our goals and structure our mindset.
Say To Yourself What You Would Be
Life has a way of getting so busy and needs so much immediate attention that we don’t often get the chance to consider the future. This can lead to a feeling of aimlessness and a lack of control in becoming the person you want to become. In order to think about the directions we want to take in our lives, it is necessary to carve out that time with intention to set intentions.
It is important to create a personal manifesto because without any reference points, it is impossible to plan your trajectory. Just as Seneca said, “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” However, it is just as important to have other reference points in addition to your “port destination.” Much the same way sailors of yore used the stars to navigate, we use our principles and personal truths to guide our actions and our way through life.
Enter our Mindset Manifesto cards.
We created these cards to include in every package to get the ball rolling for you. Think of it as your personal mission statement (should you choose to accept it) and a starting guide for setting a positive course for yourself. Feel free to write a rough draft before transferring your manifesto onto the card.
[If you made a purchase before we launched this package goodie or if you just think it’s a cool idea, you can download a digital version to print and fill out here.]
This section is intended to be a space for you to write down what you have found to be true in life. That can look like writing down your values or principles, your compass point morals, or even the force that drives you on a daily basis. Drafting these statements as bullet points is a great place to start and the next step is to turn them into short, active, declarative sentences. For example, maybe you wrote “I think discipline is important.” Try rewording that as “I believe… discipline is more important than immediate gratification.”
This section is space for you to write down your plans to help you embody your beliefs and take steps towards your goals. These can be directly or indirectly connected to the things you wrote down in the previous section (“I Believe”). We intentionally titled this segment as “I will” instead of “I want to” because while we all share the desire to enact change, framing those wants through an “I will” statement puts those aspirations into action. The more specific you can be with these plans, the better! Maybe you wrote “I believe continual personal growth is important” in the first portion - how do you plan to work on your personal growth? One way could be to resolve to “treat obstacles as obstacles for growth” or to say “I will respond, not react.”
I KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE…
Your manifesto is a declaration of independence from negative self-talk. We want you to use this section to write down quotes that resonate with you and that speak to you in a more inspiring way than you already speak to yourself. Whether your quotes are from well-known figures in history or from close friends and family, pick something that motivates you to hold to your goals in the “I will” section.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor Frankl
Do What You Have To Do
Of course, words will remain empty without any action to back them up, just as we’ve discussed in our Acta Non Verba blog. Without a clear direction and a daily reminder that helps you take positive action, you risk repeating the cycle of promising yourself that you will change, only to end up back where you started and no closer to that better version of yourself you have always wanted to work towards. The Mindset Manifesto creates a daily exercise for you in self awareness and self control and facilitates taking small steps in a consistent manner. Soon enough, obstacles will have transformed into stepping stones that help you reach your goals and your aspirations will have become regular habits.
Our pendants and Manifesto cards are meant to be used in tandem to remind us of how we want to respond to things and therefore become the best version of ourselves. The pendant acts as a placeholder for the long-form statements you wrote in your manifesto. By reading your personal manifesto every morning before setting out for your day, your intentions are fresh in your mind for your pendant to call forth as needed and help you take charge of your journey.
Fill out your personal manifesto, and start to become the hero of your story.
(Download a digital version to print and fill out here.)