It’s that time of the year again. Time to step back, review your priorities, sort things out, eliminate noise and simplify to focus. So I did a little cleansing recently in my life ;) and updated my manifesto. 2021 version looks like this
Be kind. I am not a kind person and moving towards kindness takes a real effort from me, I need constant reminders, helpers if you like. “Be kind” is a post-it on my desk, a phrase on my desktop wallpaper and it’s also printed on my laptop’s sleeve.
Think = Act. Most people tend to separate thoughts and acts. It turns out our brain is wired to (and stimulated by) our body and our body is partly controlled by our brain. We are a whole. A pack of nerves and we act and think simultaneously. In fact, it’s now proven that we think better when we move. And we move better when we focus. It’s an absurdity to consider that our legs are just a way of getting our heads to meetings.
Now > Later. (Now beats Later) Every single time. Most people live their lives like it’s a rehearsal for the Big Act. There is no rehearsal, you only get one shot and it’s pretty short. I won’t wait for anything, it’s here and now. And I avoid people who constantly repeat “let’s wait for…” or “it’s urgent to wait…” or “wait and see”. In fact, this is was scares the sh*t out of me. That’s why I love this other manifesto.
Die Empty, There Is No Plan B. A while ago I read that book and sawthat movie (in my top 3 of all time). Some people are constantly holding back, not giving their best, not saying everything, not sharing everything, not following entirely through. In Gattaca, Vincent wins the race not because he is better than Anton, but because he doesn’t save anything for the swim back. Live your life like it’s the only one. Because, well, it is. (And go watch Soul by the way ;)
Form > Function. (Form beats and shapes contents). I know you usually hear it the other way around : “form follows function”. Well I strongly disagree because I see it everyday : the How shapes the What (and even the Why). That room you hold your meeting into influences the meeting’s content, that restaurant decor shapes the conversation, those clothes you’re wearing shape your self-confidence, that medium you’re writing / drawing on shapes what you’re writing / drawing. So choose the How with care.
Enough = small + simple + beautiful. That’s a personal equation of course. You’ll have your own definition of enough. For me, “something does the job” if it’s small, simple and beautiful, 3 highly subjective notions. But if I feel one is missing, then it’s not sufficient.
Say what you mean, mean what you say. Take position and be yourself. Too many people say the opposite of what they mean (hypocrisy or lie), or don’t say anything (shyness or absence of position) or worse, return the question. To me, saying what you mean has become a mark of courage and intelligence. You certainly have an opinion, I’d like to hear it, even if I don’t share you point of view (especially if I don’t, heck! teach me something). I’m not expecting it to be your ultimate point of view (I assume we all can be wrong and all have the right to evolve in time), I’m just asking for authenticity. I want to have a conversation with *you* and *your* opinions.
Don’t forget the obvious. This is a trivial note for myself to remind me that people are not in my head (surprisingly). What is obvious to me is — most of the time — irrelevant to them. So if there is an elephant in the room, point it out nonetheless. Always go back to the basics and state what you are here for, what this conversation is about, why this email is sent. Also, I’ll appreciate if you return the favor and state “your obvious” to me :)
Attention to details + grit + care = love. Jean Cocteau used to say : “There’s no such thing as love; only proof of love.” Pierre Reverdy used to say “There is no love; there are only proofs of love. Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will see only my action.” There is only one way to show people that you love them and care about them : it’s to dispense acts of love by paying attention to details, but with perseverance and over the long run. Short term acts of kindness is just a fling, a flirt. Things will go wrong and get ugly. If you can get past that, still pay attention to details and give care, then you’re giving love.
If you have a personal manifesto, a code of conduct, I’d love to read about it. That’s be lovely if you shared it.