“Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.”
– Jim Rohn
I recently read this article by Dr. Michael Gervais called “Living in Alignment With Your Personal Philosophy.” The idea behind the article is that whether we’re able to articulate it or not, each of us has a personal philosophy that guides the way we live our lives. The people who become the best in the world at what they do tend to be more clear about the principles that guide them than the average person.
The article also gives some tips for articulating your own personal philosophy succinctly in under 25 words. After going through the exercise, I boiled my personal philosophy down to five words: be open to sharing fire.
For me, there’s a lot of meaning packed into these five words.
“Be” is important because we live in a world where so many of us are focused on doing. One of the first things we ask people when we meet them for the first time is “what do you do?” However, what we do in the world is not who we are. Rather, it’s a byproduct of who we are. So when expressing my philosophy, I want to focus on being rather than doing.
“Open” is important because you don’t always know what opportunity looks like or when it is going to present itself. Sometimes we get so caught up with what we’re searching for and what we’re trying to do, that we fail to notice what is right in front of us. Making “be open” a part of my philosophy allows me to focus on the here and now, which is the only place where we can take action on opportunities.
“Sharing” is important because it is other-oriented. I want all I am and all I do to be making the world a better place. So I want to share my gifts and my knowledge with others. Moreover, sharing also involves a listening and learning component. When I interact with others, I want to listen deeply and truly understand the message they convey in their words and actions. I want to learn from their experiences and apply what is relevant to me in the way I live my own life.
To me, “fire” means what lights you up, what drives you, what makes you come alive, the essence of who you are. It’s the greatest gift I can ever hope to give or receive. It’s the most essential truth I can learn from another person.
Taken together, “be open to sharing fire” guides the way I want to approach my life. Now that I’ve created more clarity around that philosophy by expressing it in under 25 words, I can be that much more mindful about making sure that the actions I take are reflecting who I am.
If you’d like to take a crack at articulating your own personal philosophy, check out the link from the beginning of this post.