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The how and why to create your own personal manifesto

Workshop 1

Presentations and discussions
  • Thirty thousand days is an average lifetime, and as of today how many days do you and I have to live until our time is up? How will you and I use these remaining days? What is the purpose of these remaining days?


Know what your principles are

A basic belief, theory, or rule that has a major influence on the way in which something is done. For example, excellent customer service should be our guiding principle.

principle of:
It is a basic principle of English law that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

principle that:
the principle that education should be free to everyone.

A personal or specific basis of behaviour: living morally (concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes); keeping it simple and quick; reducing choices; not sweating the small stuff; declutter; live in the moment; age
positively, redefine success; live by your values; drop the should factor; be consistent; turn your ideas into action. Some principle examples:
  • To relax is the right approach to the twists and turns that inevitably come your way.
  • To be aware of what's taking place in our minds and bodies. Awareness illuminates the inner walls of your mind, thinking and emotions.
  • To be affectionate: forgive, be kind, be thoughtful, be nice, be good, be sensitive, be loving, be compassionate.
  • To be honest in deed and behaviour.
  • To be courageous with self-confidence and self-belief. Courage is important to live a good life according to your passion and take the necessary chances to follow your heart.
Know what your values are

Values provide an internal reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, constructive.
  • Values generate behaviour and help to solve problems for survival. Thus, values describe what’s important to you.
  • Your values are your compass. They can be ethical or moral values, political or religious values, social values, or, aesthetic values.
  • Values are the things that make you leap out of bed and keep you up late at night.

Core Values Exercise

Know what your beliefs are
  • something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
  • confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
  • confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
  • a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
Know what your motivations are
  • the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way. Synonyms: motive, inspiration, inducement, cause, impetus.
  • something that motivates; inducement; incentive: Clearly, the company's long-term motivation is profit.

Workshop 2

Review session 1 discuss and share

Your topics

Decide which topics to write about.
Some examples: 
  • your Learner Plan
  • your values
  • your principles
  • your morals (religious and non-religious)
  • your beliefs/knowledge
  • your rules for living
  • your comfort zone
  • your feelings/emotions (e.g., fear)
  • your health (exercise, water, diet)
  • your friends/family
  • your empathy (be curious about strangers, challenge your prejudices)
  • your career
  • your country
  • your crises/hardships/illnesses
  • your retirement
These topics are the areas of your life for which you want to declare your principles.

Set down your principles and values. Clarify your beliefs,  examine your motivations, and intentions about each of your chosen topics. Create personal policies. Describe what kind of world you’d like to live in. Write down your goals.

By distilling these “policies and aims” help you think about what you want out of life, which in turn helps you to: make sound decisions; evaluate opportunities; stick to your priorities when conflicts arise in your schedule or otherwise; reach your goals.

Workshop 3

Review session 2 discuss and share

Writing your personal manifesto

Putting it all together by writing your personal manifesto. This is a workshop for self-discovery. To teach you things you never knew about yourself: move your level of understanding beyond a line of “gut feeling” toward a more universal conceptualization. Writing helps you think. Writing takes time. Sometimes, a lot of time.

10 Sentences that may change your life
  • Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.
  • Comfort is the enemy of achievement.
  • Everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.
  • Go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated.
  • If you accept your limitations you go beyond them.
  • People aren’t against you; they are for themselves.
  • People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing... that’s why we recommend it daily.
  • The person that you will spend the most time with in your life is yourself, so you better try to make yourself as interesting as possible.
  • You learn more from failure than from success; don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character.

Workshop 4

Review session 3 discuss and share

1. There is no right or wrong way to write a manifesto; the style is entirely up to you. You may want to make it straightforward or launch into impassioned arguments setting out your believe in each principle.

To begin identify topics you want to write about. Some examples: principles, values, habits, parents, spouse/partner, children, religion, politics, love, hate, hardships, self-sufficiency, money, career, personal-growth, healthy-living, fear, and so forth. These are the areas of your life for which you may want to declare your principles. Thus, a manifesto is a document that encompasses: values, beliefs, dreams, and much more.

Writing your manifesto is a tremendous opportunity for self-exploration. You may be amazed by the range of thoughts, ideas, feelings that arise during this process that facilitates standing back to view them in a less abstract light.

I hope this helps and inspires you to not only write down your principles, values and so forth, but create a manifesto for your life. Not only will it help you grow as a person, but it will help you live out those beliefs. And, when all is said and done, one of the true hallmarks of being a person is knowing what you believe, and having the courage to live them when the chips are down.

Use strong, affirmative language e.g., “I will exhibit strength and control…” This may seem minor, but if you use active language, you’ll take it much more seriously. You may wish to punch up the language by using the present tense: “I exhibit strength and control.”

Video: Jack Palance - Aftershave

This commercial is for aftershave, yet it contains lessons about practicality, stoicism, confidence, and simple, direct communication.

2. Ponder your statements and ask questions about them, such as: What are my strengths? My weaknesses? Is this what my family, friends, colleagues would say about me? If not, why?

3. What theme is shining through? Write an opening sentence encapsulating that theme by expressing your world view that the body of your personal manifesto will aim towards spelling out in depth.

 4. Write the body of your manifesto by turning the introspection on your personal statements into explicit, concrete beliefs and goals.

5. Choose a title for your manifesto. The title should be you in a nutshell, something pithy that unites two seemingly opposed sides of your self into one harmonious you.

6. Develop a realistic plan for living up to the principles articulated in your manifesto.

Copyright © 2012 Dr Alfred L. C. van Amelsvoort

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Updated 11 December 2012