There is a scene in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland where Alice asks the Mad Hatter which direction she should go. When the Mad Hatter asked where she was headed, she replied that she didn’t know. “Then,” said the Mad Hatter, “any direction will do.”
This simple scene from a child’s tale holds so much wisdom for us. When you know where you are headed, you walk purposefully, quickly, with big strides. You may enjoy the scenery as you pass by, but every step you take has a meaning because it brings you one step closer to your purpose.
A personal creed provides a guide for living. When you recite your creed every day or every week, it becomes part of your psyche and guides your decisions and actions even in times of crisis when you don’t have much time to consciously think.
When you’re wandering aimlessly through life, your creed reveals a path for you to follow. If you already have goals in life but come to a fork in the road, a creed makes it clear which fork you should take.
Creeds can come from many sources.
The most common source of a creed is religion. Many people have a favourite verse in the bible that guides them in their daily living. Popular verses include:
– “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
– “Work with all your heart, soul and mind, as working for God and not for men.”
– “Forgive not seven times, but seventy-times seven.”
– “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
You could use a poem or verse that you find a powerful guide to living. The following is something I use as a philosophy of life, a way of thinking, taken from a poem attributed to Mme Grifsters:
You gotta dance like nobody’s watching
Dream like you will live forever
Live like you’ll die tomorrow
And love like it’s never going to hurt.
The lyrics of songs can move us deeply and make us want to be better people and do good things. You could use a line or a whole verse as a personal creed. The following is one that I like.
“May you always walk in sunshine,
Slumber warm when night winds blow;
May you always live with laughter,
For a smile becomes you so.”
4. Words of a friend
Sometimes the impact on us of what someone says is so profound that it can change us and the we live forever. These could be the words of a spouse, child, colleague, or friend.
– “You’re the greatest dad in the world!”
– “Leave every person feeling better for having met you.”
– “Brighten every room you walk into.”
– “Walk like you own the world.”
5. Inner conviction
Like Mother Teresa, you may have had one of those crystal clear revelations that tell you without a shadow of a doubt what you must do.
– “Nobody in the world should have to die alone.”
– “Every child must feel wanted.”
– “Live each day as a gift.”
– “The world is a better place for my having lived today.”
6. Chance sources
I was browsing in some little shops while waiting for a friend one day, when I stumbled across a wall plague. The words on it have become my personal creed and have changed the way I live.
Laugh a lot
7. Personal Affirmation
Many successful people use a customised personal creed. They think very seriously about the kind of person they want to be, write it down and then read it aloud at least once a day. This guides everything they do in life and moves them daily towards the life they want. For example:
I am wise, loving and kind. I love people and they love being around me. I invest my time in improving myself, helping others, and making the world a better place. Money comes to me easily and I have more than I need. I am healthy and fit, and look and feel fabulous. Every day brings me blessings beyond measure.
What’s Your Creed?
There is no right or wrong creed. You may have to try a few before you find one that belongs to you, or that you can belong to. A creed is something very personal, that you believe in even if no one else does. And when you truly believe, your behaviour changes and you become a better person.
Believe in something. Find a creed that defines who you are and how you live. Know where you are headed in life, so you’ll never have to ask anyone else for directions and get answers like “any direction will do.”
This is part of a 4-part series on Personal Creeds: