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Manifesto

"A personal manifesto is a set of statements that make up rules for your life. It’s a touchstone that helps you reconnect with what’s important, and it becomes a methodology for staying true to your values, goals, and intentions."

- Stephanie Vozza, Why you need a personal manifesto and how to write one


Here's my personal manifesto, divided into a number of themes:

Social Change / Impact

  • Success is measured by the positive change we create, not the money we accumulate or the reputation we build.
  • Your impact as an individual is your counterfactual (not absolute) impact. Although doing good things deserves recognition, what ultimately counts is that you do the good things that nobody else would have otherwise done.
  • Everything operates within a system, whether it's a person, an institution, or celestial body. While we cannot change systems directly, we can influence the conditions under which they function.
  • To achieve lasting solutions, "design with, not for" - your stakeholders/constituents/customers/users ultimately determine your success.
  • There is no special reason you possess the privileges you do - some of your resources should be dedicated to repaying that debt.
  • Othering is the root of almost every global, national, and regional issue facing human and non-human animals today.

Living / Behavior

  • Life is a positive-sum game - treat others accordingly.
  • Focus on the things you can control, not the things you can't.
  • What matters is not what happens to you, but how you react to it.
  • Your emotions are a feature, not a bug. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose.
  • You are not your mind - you're not obligated to believe everything you think.
  • Reject the Golden Rule, embrace the Platinum Rule: Treat people as they want to be treated, not as you would want to be treated.

Ideology / Perception

  • No one can say with certainty they would have acted differently in someone else's situation - we are a product of our inputs and circumstances more than we'd like to believe.
  • Our worldview is predominately shaped by the information we consume and the experiences we accumulate - given the right blend of information and right set of experiences, anyone can believe anything.
  • There is no evil - there are just people and systems with bad goals.

Meaning / Purpose

  • Meaning, like happiness, is a verb, not a noun - people create meaning through their actions rather than achieving it as a state.

Innovation / Progress