A Personal Creed: Do You Have One?


I am a man of action, leading with passionate equanimity, rational self-interest, and never forgetting the power of individual liberty.  I will never forget that my wife is my queen, and I her king, and that my children are my gift to humanity.  I will respect the dignity of all, but measure the character of each.  I will honor my body and mind by taking care of them. I will light a candle in darkness.

The passage above is my creed.  This is not some fancy introduction to something I read, it really is mine.  I developed it over a period of years.  It took about 2 from when I started to put it in its present form.  I have had it in its present form for about five years now.  If you’ve read my bio on my profile page, you will see I put it there.

A creed can be a road map on your journey. (Photo: Jean Scheijen)  http://www.vierdrie.nl

A creed can be a road map on your journey. (Photo: Jean Scheijen) http://www.vierdrie.nl

I think everyone should have their own personal creed. For some it may be short and simple: “Always do right” or “Have Fun, Challenge Yourself, and Participate.”  (Those are more like mottoes, but I digress)  For others, like me, it might be longer.  In any case, I have this creed posted in several key locations in my life (e.g. inside the medicine cabinet door), so I can view it, reflect and remember what is important to me.

You might notice, my creed contains the elements of the 3 philosophies (Stoicism, Zen, Objectivism) that influence my writing here, and of course it reminds me “how to live.”  In true Stoic fashion, it also focuses me on the things I can control.

The Book of Genesis (photo by Adrian van Leen)

The Book of Genesis (photo by Adrian van Leen)

Some may say, “But I already have a creed.  It is the Apostle’s Creed/The Lord’s Prayer/The Bible/Upanishads/The Eight Fold Path/The Enchiridion,” etc.  In fact, I have filled in the blank many times on that previous statement.  They are all excellent guides to living, and they are all very helpful in my journey.  Each of these (along with many others) gives me a vector on how to live.  However, none of these are mine.  Maybe I am just too eclectic (eclectic–deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources).  Sometimes, I have an “a-ha” moment when I think I may have missed something in my creed.  When I realize I missed something, I adjust it.  I tweak a word, or add/delete a passage.  I haven’t done this in several years.  In any case, I have ownership of it.  My creed reminds me of how I have decided to live.  It is a product of my mind…it is a piece of me.

Because it is mine, my creed is a much more poignant guide than any other.  It is both a reflection (and admission) of who I am AND a reminder of who I should be.  My life is a journey, and most of it is an internal one.  Once in a while, who I should be becomes who I am, and then I see the next path in my journey.  At that point, my creed necessarily has to change, so I change it.

My personal creed works for me.  I offer the concept as something for you to consider.

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