A random conversation with a stranger that changes the course of your life. The lyrics of a song that transports you back to that endless summer. Kind words from mum at just the right time. A single phrase—“I have a dream”—that changed the world and defined the civil rights movement. Language is powerful. It changes lives. It helps us see the world through another person’s eyes. And when pen, paper, and emotion come together, we create words to live by.
Some of my favourite life advice is found in manifestos. Manifestos are big, bold, actionable declarations. They inspire change. They help us define core values, beliefs, intentions, opinions, motives, and so on. They can define us. Change the world. And start movements.
In this post, I’ll share some of my favourite manifestos. They all have practical advice that many of us can relate to. And use to live a better life. Let's take a look.
Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young
If you grew up in the nineties, you probably heard this manifesto packaged as the song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen). It was actually an essay written by Mary Schmich, a Chicago Tribune columnist. It was first published in 1997. The essay is packed full of life lessons written as a hypothetical commencement speech. I’ve listened to it many times when life got heavy. You can listen to the music video or read the original essay below.
The Holstee Manifesto
This is one of the most recognisable manifestos on the web. It’s also got a great back story. Created by brothers Dave and Mike Radparvar after they quit their jobs during the 2009 recession to follow their passion. They had no business plan. No experience in fashion. But they had a vision.
The brothers wanted to create a company that reflected their personal values and allowed them to have a positive impact on the world around them. One of the first things they did was write those values down. And so, the Holstee Manifesto was born and took on a life of its own.
The Lululemon Manifesto was the first corporate manifesto I read that didn’t sound like one big advertisement. It’s an evolving collection of bold thoughts on the culture Lululemon promotes. It's packed full of simple advice on living a healthy and happy life.
Apple’s Think Different Campaign
Think Different was an advertising campaign created for Apple in 1997. It was a huge success and helped put the then-struggling Apple back on the map. Despite being an advertising campaign, it contains good advice on thinking big and following your own path. Here's the video campaign and manifesto.
Optimised Fitness Manifesto
Finally, there’s the Optimised Fitness Manifesto. Written by yours truly. I wrote this to remind myself and others that living a fit and healthy life doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s the antithesis of magic bullets and quick fixes. It’s about focusing on the basics that are essential for health and happiness; eat real foods, move regularly, and find your purpose.
How to Use Manifestos
We’re bombarded by feel good statements telling us that we just need to think positively to have our heart’s desire. Or if we follow our passion we’ll live fairy tale lives. And while I think that positive thinking and finding your purpose are important, they’re useless without action. So, the point of this post is not to give you inspirational words that make you feel good for a few minutes out of your day. If these manifestos resonate with you, take the parts that you like and put them into practice. Here’s how you can use them:
- Take one piece of advice at a time and try it out for two weeks. It could be “stop over analysing” or “sweat once a day” or “don't worry about the future.” You get the point, just test something out that you don’t currently do.
- Print them out and look at them regularly. Especially when life gets tough.
- Use them as inspiration to write your own manifesto. It can be for your eyes only or for the world to see. Take a stab at putting what’s important to you into words. Considering how well we think we know ourselves. It can be hard articulating the values and beliefs that we live by.
Don’t just consume information. If you’ve read this far, I’m assuming you find this post useful. You’ve now got two choices: 1) close the screen and think ‘that’s nice’ and move on with your day. Or 2) follow the strategy for putting manifestos into practice. Start with one test at a time. Make it so small you can’t fail. And as Nike says, just do it! Decision creates action. Action creates results.
I Need Your Help
I’ve also got a huge favour to ask of you. No, I don’t want your money. But will happily accept it! I’m trying to get this blog off the ground and I can’t do it without your help. Simply sharing this post on social media (you're so close to the share buttons—look down below) or emailing it to a friend makes a HUGE difference in my life. In return, I promise we can be best mates and you can reach out anytime. Seriously. If you need help with any health, fitness, or Jedi Knight goals you can contact me here.
You can also share some love by adding a comment below. Let me know what your favourite manifesto is. Or share some words of advice that have helped you in the past.
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