What’s Your Personal Philosophy?

Sharing a Message

Somewhere on my job description is says that, among other things, I mentor some up-and-coming speakers and writers. They are mostly people who feel that they have some kind of motivational and/or educational message to share with the world. Some of them are young and some are slightly more experienced. Either way, they’re all relatively new to the world of disseminating information to the masses. Or, at the very least, to a small audience.

At some stage in our first mentoring session, I ask them to share their personal philosophy with me. Now, depending on where we’re at in the conversation, I might be talking about their philosophy on business, spirituality, transformation, relationships, happiness, health, life or maybe, the whole shooting match. Invariably, what follows is some monologue that sounds like it’s been lifted from the back of a self-help book. A bad self-help book.

Awkward.

“No Sally, I don’t want Dr. Phil’s, Oprah’s, Deepak’s, Marianne’s, Tony’s or Eckhart’s philosophy, I want yours. What do you believe, think and value? What really drives you? What is success for you? What is your purpose and how do you know? Where does your stuff finish and where do you start? What has life (not Eckhart or Deepak) taught you and what are you compelled to share with others?”

Silence.

Dr. Phil(ish)

Somewhere along our lumpy, bumpy, messy journey of learning, growing and transforming, it seems that some of us have allowed ourselves to become a patch of someone else. Which is understandable but not always healthy. We’ve all met at least one Tony Robbins or Dr. Phil replica haven’t we? And while it’s great to be inspired, influenced and educated by our mentors, it’s not great to want to be them. Of course, the only person you can ever be is you and if you’re going to convey a presence, energy and message of authenticity and power, then – in the middle of all those influences – you need to think, choose and create for yourself.

That is, to develop your own ‘uniquely you’ philosophy.

Inspiration not Imitation

While I could happily learn something from all of the gurus listed above (and I have in the past), I don’t want to be any of them. Apart from Oprah, I’ve read books written by all of them and while I respect their talent, drive and accomplishments, I’m not in total alignment or agreement with all of their thoughts and ideas. That is, their philosophy is not mine because they are not me.

Thankfully.

It’s been my experience that many people are miserable, confused and conflicted because they’re so busy trying to be somebody else that they never really get to discover who they are beyond all the acting, mimicking, conforming and role-playing.

So unnecessary.

What Makes You, You?

If personal transformation is part of your mission, then my advice to you is to develop your own personal philosophy. Nobody else’s – yours. One that accurately reflects your core beliefs, standards and values. Don’t tell me what Oprah thinks or believes, tell me what you think and believe. I don’t want to meet an Oprah doll, I want to meet you. Don’t recite some bullshitty self-help mantra to me, tell me what drives you. What inspires you. What resonates for you. What excites you from a cellular level up. What makes you, you.

Tell me about your personal philosophy. :)

* I’ll announce book winners (from last week’s Your-Turn-to-Teach post), next time.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa January 25, 2011 at 12:54 am

My personal philosophy is to live a life that is true to who I am.

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BearRider January 25, 2011 at 2:02 am

My personal philosphy has two (interrelated) parts:

(1) I want to be as happy* as possible,
(2) while striving to, by the end of my life, have made a net positive contribution to the welfare of other sentient creatures** on this planet.

* “Happy” for me has multiple components, including; hedonic pleasure, joy, security, mastery/accomplishments, and the feeling that I’m doing my reasonable best to achieve (2).

** I’m including at least the higher mammals. Not sure about other animal life, but since a certain number of functional entire ecosystems seems to be a necessity for said higher mammals’ (including h. sapiens’) long-term welfare, invertebrates, plants etc. are to some degree included by default, as a mass if not as individual beings.

(2) includes my direct actions (people/animals I directly interact with) as well as indirect effects (f.i., donating to an effective charity; consuming X times my share of the planet’s resources).

I believe that simply by virtue of having been born and grown up in a very rich country, I’m starting out very much in the red as regards (2). Through no fault of my own, certainly (which is also true for the majority who were less fortunate), but as an adult I am now able to choose to try to “pay back” (or “forward”, or both) and try to at least get to an imagined “neutral”, hopefully “net positive” total impact – both through increasing my positive contributions, and decreasing the negative ones (at least so far as they don’t interfere too much with part (1); I’m no saint, but I find there’s a LOT that can be done (or not done) without in any way surrendering my own version of “the good life”.)

I try to consider individual personal relationships, “local” (to various degrees: ie. neighborhood, region, country, as well as other non-geographic “groups” I am a part of) and “global” issues equally, but make a conscious effort to emphasize the global ones as an attempt to counteract the pervasive human tendency to care so much more about people in our personal “tribe” (which, to me, doesn’t really stand up to rational ethical scrutiny).

Sorry for the length. If the above sounds stilted and unnatural to some, that’s due to my personal thinking/writing style, not because I copied it from any particular book. (Not that I’m claiming it’s particulary original, either.) *I* do find it inspiring, actually, and it’s the closest I’ve come so far (30ish) to pin down “what I want my life to be about”. Haven’t felt the need to change it for some years.

- BearRider (Long time reader, first time commenter; thanks for the site & emails, Craig!)

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Fiona January 25, 2011 at 6:28 am

I recently went through my very long list of ‘principles’ and realised they mostly related to a much shorter list:
Make the most of everything
Best the best me I can
Enjoy the journey

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Kate January 25, 2011 at 8:37 am

My personal philioshopy is similar to riding in a pack. You are totally responsbile for pushing your own pedals but you can draft, help team mates and we are in it together. I dont agree wtih elbowing or getting in anothers persons way as if you do .. Ill tell you what when they do get back up from the crash they will be sprinting to push you off.

All in all what honestly drives me is a two edge sword..I have a massive heart so helping others but unfortunately this can be at my own detrement.. more recently I have come to realise I just have to love myself, care for myself and really that helps to get me out of my own and other peoples ways…it helps with focus and allows me not to feel jealousy, hatred etc… which I know is an awesome gift.

To be fit, healthy and to know you passion in life… that is one worth living! You get life once do whatever the hell turns you on!

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Kate January 25, 2011 at 8:37 am

PS My real passion is RPM, Music and excercise I love it.

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noles January 25, 2011 at 8:53 am

To Learn to Enjoy bein Me, more often, more easily n accept that for Me to have ‘More’… All i need is to Work Harder!

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Ros January 25, 2011 at 9:15 am

I make me me! :) I love to cook healthy food … and to have others delight in the love that I put into it. I like to make the most of the life I have. Time is short and there’s SO much to do! I love to sit and do nothing sometimes. I love to gain knowledge. I love to laugh. I love to hug. I like to listen – most of the time – to what others have to say. I really DON’T want to be someone else … not even a little … I love me … all of the time, but sometimes I don’t LIKE me – and it might just be because I haven’t had enough sleep, or I’m not enjoying my work – whatever.
Ros

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

to do well while doing good

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Nycole January 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

Wow! What a great question…
I had this whole fantastic answer in my head and actually started to write it in response. I started philosophising through my whole life and the different motivations I had at various stages my life and as I did so I realised that the ideas I had about life during my teen years still stand strong today.
My personal philosophy is this “To get to the end of my life having lived, laughed and loved without always staying inside the boundaries. To live my life in such a way that when it is done I will be happy to exit with a glass of champagne in my hand and a smile on my face.”
Anything that does not fit with that philosophy is just crap I don’t need in my life!
:-) enjoy the day.
Nyc

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Kathryn January 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

You had me searching for the right words to explain accurately the core beliefs standards and values that are unique to me for a little while. It was tricky.

I get the most out of singing with people nearly every day. You only need your voice, honest enthusiasm and the expectation that those you are leading will make that harmony. It is inevitable. In a short time the air is filled with layers of harmonies upon harmonies, that they thought they could never achieve. You believed and expected they could because you believed that you could do it, and as a result they have a new sense of belief in themselves.

This is what inspires me, resonates within me and excites me every day.

Be the best you can be at what you love. How could you live life any other way?

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Mon January 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Wow, this post made me feel like I was one of your less-than-experienced writers (who might have a message to share) being mentored here. And of course it has made me think.

I guess if I am to have a ”uniquely me” philosphy it would have to involve my life as a mother. Above anything else I do, that role is my most treasured and important, but I would also like to share a message (one about good health and weight loss) .
I think that is why I did try to connect those two things in my ebook, by using examples from my own ‘family life’ experiences and relating them to lifestyle change, as I think mothers of young kids (or just mothers in general) are living a specific set of circumstances and I felt I could address some of those circumstances.

Anyhow…this post has given me some more food for thought. Yes, being unique and not just a replica of someone else is important. Thanks for that reminder!

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Evan January 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm

My philosophy: stay open, stay with; it works.

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Leigh-ann January 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm

“What makes You, You?” Brilliant and so simple!

Thank you Craig, I’m going away to answer this one now :)

xo

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Liz January 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Kate, love that you love RPM – love how it can be both a team and individual ride :)

My philosophy? Love what you do and show it!

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Robyn January 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Be authentic.
Be humble.
Learn from mistakes.
Do no harm.

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Rae January 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm

hey Craig… lost my boy this week =”(

i’m afraid i’v never found anything betta than:

-to accept the things i cannot change
-change those things i can
-and wisdom to know the difference

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Witburg Taube-Hansen January 26, 2011 at 3:21 am

Thats what drives me: Taking care of people who need and want it.
And show them ways to become strong again.
The most inspiring things are found in this beautiful world. Just take a look around.
What makes me,me: That despit all naysayers, at the end of my days, I´ll say, I did it my way.

Thanks for this incrediable blog, Craig.

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Tash January 26, 2011 at 7:43 am

Fantastic question Craig – really making me think.
What makes me – Me.
What is my personal philosophy

To be the best I can be, to be able to cope with whatever life throws at me.

‘Whatever life throws at me’ probably isn’t the best wording. It’s I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to turn down an opportunity that presents itself because I’m not in the best shape to cope with it.
eg: One Sunday last August – Mid morning run a 5k race & win my age group, then jump into the car & go to an event where I’m performing (I’m a dancer in a troupe), then get back in time for my yoga class.
If I wasn’t in my best shape i wouldn’t have been able to do all of that.

But the ‘best shape’ isn’t just physical & nutrition (which I believe have to be interelated) but also financially, mentally, emotionally etc.

I’m passionate about health & fitness, exploring new places

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Kate January 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Liz….love how u put it abt self and team… Someone once said there is no ‘i’ in team and i said but theres a me….love rpm

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Lavina January 27, 2011 at 1:19 am

Hello Craig! Another fantastic and thought provoking post =)
Growing up in a single parent Christian household has moulded and shaped the way I view the world =)
I have many sayings I like to share with my (many) friends to uplift and inspire! Here are a few;
~ As long as life makes you better, and not bitter, you are doing something right!
~ Make choices that make yourself happy because no matter what decision you make, you cannot make anyone else happy.
~ If you are feeling down, the best way to help yourself, is to lift someone else’s spirits up.
~ Earth is a place for tests, experiences and character development. Expect a bumpy ride! – only Heaven is for cruise control!
~ Music makes the world go round, but always chose to dance to your own tune.
Hope these haven’t been regurgitated too much (I don’t watch TV, so don’t know what the latest Dr Phil/Oprah sayings are! LOL! )

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littlejohn January 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm

There are two things that are a given, and given, in this conscious life of mine…my physical body that is connected with an ethereal mind.
But the intrigue most have with this circumstance is greatly focused and anchored on the physical aspect, as the mind, through thought and word descriptives, endeavours to control and protect the circumstance of my physical existence. I am either satisfied or dissatisfied as I compare who I am and where I am. The thought and the descriptive anchor my connection with the physical, and so it is that I venture forth with each breath to control and to protect the ‘me’.
So it is that my life revolves around thought and words as if that is who I am. Any intrigue or curiousity is fostered towards how I can build this ‘image’ of me. How can I be more beautiful, or more wealthy, or more healthy or more admired and respected?

At the heart of this singular focus and effort is the comparison aided and brought into existence by descriptive thought and word.

Is that it? Is that me? Is that life described? Everyone will see the sunset differently if thought and word are used to describe such.
Thought and words do not lead me to the holy grail of understanding a spot, my spot in the infinite and eternal cosmos.

They are a distraction, they are an avoidance… as I fear the void, I will continuously and incessantly fill it with thought and words attempting to overshadow the void.
Seeing the futility of the mind chasing it’s tail with tales of description, life now becomes in becoming unattached from any physical descriptive. My curiousity and intrigue now pushes me onto and into the field, to the point where “what does it matter?”
There IS no answer, for to describe one would null and void effortless non-attachment!

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Oriax May 19, 2011 at 8:02 am

My life philosophy:
Always look to improve myself in any way
This world is meant for me. My soul doesn’t need you when I die!
Break free of all the society chains that bind our minds into the right you.
Lastly, be as evil dark and infernal as you want, just never be impolite.

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Anonymous May 3, 2012 at 4:49 am

Be happy.

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carol July 10, 2012 at 2:29 am

my personal philosophy is learning from my mistakes and aiming for the best while remembering that life is not a trip.

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Inecita Illanes August 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Im happy person in this life.my philosophy is my motivation is GOd my famly an to put colour in myl life every day…..

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zenobia August 31, 2012 at 2:23 am

in the case where am asked to develop my own philosophy as a teacher how do i do so?

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garmin edge 705 September 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers but this paragraph
is really a good post, keep it up.

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