Recently I read a manifesto and it got me thinking: if I had to write down a code of practice, what would it be? How am I trying to live my life? What are my values and am I living up to them?
If you look back through the history of the 20th century, manifestos were everywhere. Political movements, artists, musicians, they all felt the need to write down what they stood for. It was an easy tool for showing the world how you saw things and the way you were going to act as a result.
The useful thing about a document like this is that it gives you a compass by which to navigate. Inevitably it will evolve and change over time. Just like you. But that shouldn’t stop us from trying to capture our perspective and ambitions as they currently stand. In fact, by writing them down now we have something to review in the future. A standard we can come back to and update. Without that, it’s easy to float and never be sure if you wanted to go in one direction or the other.
The following is my code of practice as of August 2018. It’s by no means complete, but it speaks to the way I am trying to operate right now. Most of it is received wisdom that I’ve digested and made my own by working with it over time. I encourage you to write one for yourself.
A Code For Living
- Now is as good as it gets
- Never shortchange now for later
- More is not satisfying
- Avoid being a connoisseur and learn to appreciate simplicity
- Make as few choices as possible
- Learn what your values are and align your actions accordingly
- You are the only person responsible for holding yourself accountable
- Treat everything (big or small, dead or alive) as you would treat yourself
- Your mind is a tool, learn how to use it properly
- Meditate as often as possible
- Technology is a tool, learn how to use it properly
- Go offline as often as possible
- Make your ideas more valuable than your data
- Practice discipline to find your freedom
- Everything is a process and nothing remains the same
- Put your oxygen mask on first
- Always be prepared to drop your ambitions in favour of what the moment demands
- Have commitments and stick to them
- Do something creative every single day no matter how small
- If something scares and excites you then make sure you do it
- Remember that everyone else is as clueless and dumb as you
- Avoid being an expert at all costs
- If you can’t argue for something, you shouldn’t be arguing against it
- Spend more time thinking about how they feel than you do criticising them
- You don’t own anything, you’re just taking care of it for a while
- Ask ‘why?’ until it seems stupid, then ask one more time
- You are not your thoughts and you don’t have to answer to them
- Never ask for permission