Does the word “manifesto” bring to mind fanatical writings of communist dictators? Or do you remember some of these awesome manifestos that Lifehack posted a few months ago? Or these ones?

Although some manifestos are a bit extreme, the definition of manifesto from the Oxford American Dictionary is simply this:

Man•i•fes•to (noun) – A public declaration of policy and aims, esp. one issued before an election by a political party or candidate.

While you may never go into politics or try to take over the world, writing a manifesto is a great way to

  • Clarify your beliefs
  • Examine your motivations
  • Create personal “policies”
  • Describe what kind of world you’d like to live in
  • Write down your goals

Distilling these “policies and aims” down on paper helps you think about what you truly want out of life, which in turn helps you:

  • Make good decisions
  • Evaluate opportunities
  • Stick to your priorities when conflicts arise in your schedule or otherwise
  • Reach your goals

Your manifesto doesn’t have to be extreme or written in stone; you can review it annually and make changes as you grow personally. In fact, it might be neat to keep the old versions and see how your beliefs evolve over time. It doesn’t have to be a long document or take ten months to write. If you’re stumped on how to start, try the outline below.

  • I believe that everyone _______ (has these qualities and rights).
  • I believe it is important to _______ (do certain things).
  • In my world, people treat each other _______ (in these ways).
  • In my world, _______ (describe the environment, economy, etc).
  • My personal policy is _______ (to behave a certain way).
  • I believe that I am uniquely equipped to _______ (do something).
  • My overarching personal goal is _______ (add sub-goals if desired).
  • My overall business/career goal is _______ (add sub-goals if desired).

You don’t have to share your manifesto with anyone; it is for you alone. If you are single, it may help you attract the right mate, and you may enjoy talking about the topics you’ve covered with potential mates to see how compatible they are. Or share it with a few close friends and see what their reactions are. It’s a great way to start one hell of a conversation.

Write your manifesto with an open mind and a desire to clarify things for yourself — it’s not a soap box from which to preach. Nobody likes a know-it-all or an opinion-pusher. Since writing a manifesto requires you to really think about your reasons for your beliefs and opinions, you can unintentionally come across as arrogant (or annoying) if you start ranting and reciting your manifesto to those who are less “put together.” Everyone has their own personal viewpoint, and I think we all agree that each one deserves our respect.

(Photo credit: Fountain Pen via Shutterstock)

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