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philosophy / life

My Manifesto | 2600 Years of Wisdom through 26 years of experience

. 14 min read .
Downtown by Noe Alonzo (@noealzii)

This manifesto is a result of deep introspection, self-discovery and cultural mining. It is a remix of many disciplines: Stoicism, Ancient Greek Philosophy, psychology, the business world, classical literature, Eastern Philosophy, pop culture, contemporary studies++
and thought leaders: Aristotle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Malcom X, Gandhi, Nietzsche, Nirvana, H. Thompson, Chuck Close, Marcus Aurelius, N.N Taleb, Cal Newport, Alain De Botton, Socrates, Alan Watts, Shakespeare, Sam Altman, Maya Angelou++

This manifesto is a living breathing artefact. Below is a snapshot taken on the day of my 26th birthday. Though I believe it is universally applicable, it is nevertheless my unique take on things.🤙

Be driven by curiosity and fuelled by passion.

You don’t find your passions in the depths of your soul. You are not born with them. You grow into them with experience. You create them.

So instead of asking yourself: ‘What do I love doing’, ask ‘What am I curious about.’

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Let curiosity lead the way to exciting new adventures. New places, new people, new stories, new tastes, new activities. Open up to them and let them teach you and shape you.

Somewhere along your adventures following your curiosity and through persistence, you will uncover your passions. That is finding joy in doing something; love of a pursuit.

Whatever that passion is, whatever it is you love doing, whatever makes you feel alive. Follow that. Trust that it will lead you to wonderful places.

Don’t chase abstract far-away dreams. Chase passion.

Some of those passions will eventually flourish into a mission/purpose; a truly worthy pursuit.

If this mission makes somebody’s life better, if it makes this world a better place then your purpose will evolve into one with meaning. Your ikigai.

Follow the ones YOU choose not the one that were dictated to you by society.

Let love lead the way. Love of your craft, love of self, love of humanity. Let that be the fire and the compass.

Happiness is not a state of being; it is a state of mind. Happiness is about how you look at things internally; not how things are externally. It is about perspective and perception.

Let go of your need to be in full control. You don’t control what happens to you but you do control how you react to it.

You have power over your mind, not your thoughts. Realise this, and you will find great strength.

Worry about what you can influence and let go of what you cannot control. Be mindful of the f*cks you give.

Expectation is the root of all heartache. Keep them low. There will always have something bigger, better, more to aspire towards. Always. A better physique, more material goods, bigger house, better job, more skills. It never ends.

Stop romanticising. Be an emotional sceptic instead. Learn what is good enough and be content with what you have today or you will find yourself on a hamster wheel of hedonism and unattainable satisfaction. Continuously have in check what you are sacrificing in your pursuit for more. A ‘good enough’ existence is a happy existence.

Balance a healthy dose of pessimism with intense optimism and ambition.

Change is the only thing certain. Learn to embrace and welcome it. Failure, rejection, setbacks, disappointments, anger, regret, grief are necessary parts of the journey that in fact make it more rewarding. Don’t deny them. Dig deeper into their core, grow stronger, move on, repeat.

Teach yourself to be antifragile and react to lows like a stoic; with apatheia.

Everybody has their own definition of success. Mine stems from humans’ 2 fundamental higher needs. 1. Self-expression and 2. Connection.

1. Having the freedom (creative, financial, time, physical) to do what brings me meaning (ikigai), what I am curious and what I am passionate about and avoid the rest. My success is to have the ability to create my own world, be myself, live my truth, pave my own path and live life on my own terms. To live unbound.
2. To live that life while cultivating deep connections with fellow humans and making as many lives as I can better by giving and inspiring.

Not all of us have to change the world. Not all of us can be in the top 1%. We tend to seek the extraordinary. To aim for the top. But those things, by definition are reserved for very few.

Luck (genetics, talents, circumstances, opportunities etc.) plays a huge role in your success. The loftier your definition of success, the more ‘hard work’ takes the back seat and tighter luck grabs the steering wheel. We are not the authors of our destinies but co-authors.

Hold those dreams and goals more loosely. Dreams don’t always come true even for the intelligent, the talented and the capable. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you wont get where you want. And it is ok.

Just make sure you don’t bet your fulfillment on telic pursuits. Fulfilment should flow from the activity itself; the journey and not the destination. The activity it is not a means to an end. It is the whole point.

Learning to say NO is what will make all the difference to your success. Every NO is a YES to other things that are more important.

If what you want to be is at the top 1% of a field, you have to be ready to put most of your time and energy on that one thing and say NO to all alternatives. You cannot be a top-of-the-field researcher & expert snowboarder & virtuoso violin player & amazing father & bookworm & good friend & master baker & world-famous speaker & philanthropist & explorer of the world at the same time. You are a limited resource.

Pick your pursuits carefully, set your priorities wisely and focus relentlessly.

Goals and plans are overrated. Don’t obsess over them. Instead set a direction.

Ask yourself: ‘Who am I and who do I want to become?’ and instead of long plans, build systems to propel you forward without relying on the magical thing called ‘motivation’. Habits/routines/rituals are the rhythm of life. Use them to reverse engineer the life you want to live and the person you want to become.

Routine enables focus & momentum to build up but it is important to break routine often; go out and explore!

Do the right things today and the right future will just flow as a result.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. Everything worth doing takes time, has a risk associated to it and involves a lot of hardship & pain.

Be patient. Be persistent in the phase of failure. Start early, keep the momentum at all costs and let the benefits compound.

Try to make your job, your vocation and your career be heavily intertwined. A career can be your means of self-expression (identity), connection and impact to the world (meaning). It is a big chunk of your life so seek to make it something you are passionate about and something that enables you to have the life you want.

Growth happens outside your comfort zone. That’s where you are supposed to be; only taking refuge in the comfort zone to recharge so that you go back to the battlezone. Keep moving! Because everything worthwhile happens outside it. Indeed, keep moving in discomfort! In transit you will find fulfilment.

The pursuit of the comfortable life is overrated and in fact a curse in disguise. Paradoxically, it is continuous cycles of meaningful discomfort & comfort that we strive for.

The ultimate goal is not a happy life but a meaningful life.

A life of contentment is good happy life but there is another level above that. A life of a sustained sense of fulfilment through pain and discomfort, through the ups and downs flowing from doing meaningful activities. Eudaimonia.

Life is a non-stop journey of self-discovery and self-development.

A growth mindset is a prerequisite to your journey to human flourishing. It should be the fire that pushes you forward to become the best version of yourself. A good human. A wise person.

The more mature you get, the more lonely and melancholic you will feel. This is the price to pay for escaping the herd, for living in depth and not on the surface, for a certain complexity of mind.

Develop EQ over IQ. Learn to listen actively more than you speak. Only break the beauty of silence if you have something better to say. Whatever that is; be laconic,honest, raw and direct without being rude. If people don’t appreciate it, it is their problem.

Keep your mind open. Keep questioning. Keep exploring wide while diving deep. Absorb, adopt what you like and repeat.

Travel. Immerse yourself in new cultures to discover the wonders life has to offer. Travel rejuvenates your spirit and your mind.

No matter how much you think you know and how good you think you are, keep your ego in check. Stay humble. You know nothing not only because of the vastness of knowledge out there but because our minds are biased, our subconscious brain is stronger than we thing and there are millions of points of view out there that we are not aware of.

If your physical body is not well, it doesn’t matter what happens inside that brain. Eat healthy, fast, sleep well, lift and pump your heart daily, stretch. Treat your body like the temple it is.

Dress and groom yourself in a way that makes you feel good.

A great functioning and looking body enhances your experience on this planet greatly!

Wealth has nothing to do with material possessions but has everything to do with freedom to live the life you want.

Put your money to work, don’t just work for money. Invest early.

Live a simple, frugal life. You don’t need much. Too much stuff and attachment to them is a burden. There is such a thing as good materialism. Invest in things that give you great joy, enable you to be the person you want to become or save you time to do what you truly love.

Remember the Mexican fisherman’s story. Stay true to your essence. Don’t chase status, fame, popularity, prestige, glory, respect, honour. They cannot fill the gap you are seeking to fill. In the infinity of time, nobody will remember you.

Don’t be a slave of these pursuits but don’t be a romantic that rejects their importance. Just like money, they offer you freedom and power and they are necessary if you want to make a ‘big’ impact in this world.

We are social animals. Fellow humans are what make this thing called life worthwhile. We need human connection.

In your pursuit of higher purpose, enlightenment, self-transcendence, eudaimonia, wisdom, ikigai or anything that seems ‘grander’, do not omit what might be seemingly trivial. Your people. Your partner, your family, your friends. You might come to realise that what actually appears like the details is indeed the core.

Even if you have everything else in perfect harmony; what is a life lived if not shared with other humans? We are born alone and die alone but in between, the highest journey is done alongside other humans and for other humans.

We are brought to this world through connection and it is through connection that we accomplish all important things in life.

Open up, be vulnerable, warm, playful and empathetic above all. Allow yourself to truly experience the magic of intimacy. It is depth of connection that we seek; not number of connections. One person loving you is the equivalent of 1000 liking you.

Love fully, madly, deeply without holding back. Love so intensely that people call you crazy.

The man who has not manifested love in the now, has not loved.

If you are alone and feel lonely, you are in bad company. Learn to be best friends with yourself. That is the best gift you can give to yourself and all the people you end up bringing in your life. You have to love yourself first before you are able to love other people fully. You have to be complete as an individual first and not expect other people to fill your gaps.

Love between two people is the waves exchanged between two solitary shores. Love is a partnership not a union. Love is two individuals walking alongside one another; and on occasions leaning on each other.

When somebody else’s happiness is your own, when you would sacrifice for them to be happier, you know you have found love. You have found love when you have found pursuits worthy to be loved not when you have found things that will love you.

There are few things as fulfilling and meaningful as giving to other humans. Lifting others up.

Give generously, wholly and unconditionally. Smile freely, be polite and warm, forgive, help, serve, share; as if everything is of abundance.

Life is not a competition. We are all in this together.

Empathy is a super power. Be kind, be tender, give comfort & reassurance, be trustworthy and live with philotimo. They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Love, art, experiences are all amplified by sharing, especially with those you love most. Share your art. Not because of the applause but because it educates, it inspires, it entertains, it radiates emotion, it contributes to a better culture, it gives you joy.

We are subconsciously shaped by our environment.

Be deliberate about what and who you interact with. Surround yourself with awesome people. We become what we repeatedly do and who we repeatedly interact with.

Observe other humans and realize what you like and what you don’t. Get inspired and learn from all people; especially the ones you find awesome. Mentors, colleagues, friends, collaborators will all teach you valuable lessons.

Find your mediums of creative self-expression.

Cooking, painting, coding, designing, composing, writing, videography etc. Creative freedom and flow through creative work are bliss.

Your ideas are as good as the material you consume. Study and learn in breadth.

Ideas and thoughts are fragile. Pay attention and capture them while they are in the aether. Creativity is then remixing them in interesting useful ways.

Be careful to always balance consumption with creation though.

They say: Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. So don’t expect the muse to come knocking on your door. You won’t feel like it most of the times. Make it a habit to just move your ass and get started.

Don’t obsess over quality nor groundbreaking work, seek quantity. Just keep at it. With time and skill you will become more passionate, motivated, confident, develop your style and become a master of your craft (shokunin).

At the end of the day becoming really good at something is all about consistent hard work. Grit. Do the important, not the urgent.

Seek moments of stillness, reflection and introspection. Use these solitary breaks to re-calibrate daily, weekly, monthly. Ponder: ‘Who am I? Who do I want to become? How am I getting there?’ Call these your rituals; your meditations.

Through solitude you can make peace with yourself, tune into the deepest voices within you and align with your ever changing identity.

This cycle of discovery and reverse engineering of yourself is one of the most fulfilling life has to give you.

Be closer to nature and the wilderness. It will ground you, free your soul and rekindle your spirit.

The hardest thing to do is be yourself in a world that constantly tries to change you.

Dig deep to find who you are at your core. That is the first step to authenticity. Our guiding truth for a fulfilled life.

Find the source of your intersect motivation and drive. Your fire. Use that as your fuel. Not what society and people around you want you and expect you to do. Don’t let anything dictate how you are to live. Everything starts and ends with you.

Ignore any fixation with pride & honour. Your highest duty is to yourself. Think of your deathbed and you will understand how dangerous the path of pleasing others over your truth really is.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be unapologetically you. Rather be someone’s shot of whiskey than everyone’s cup of tea.

The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference so have a strong point of view and put it out there. If you are not pissing someone off, you are not influencing change in the world. You are not here to please everybody. You are not a jar of nutella.

Accept criticism and feedback. In fact seek these new perspectives. Process them, take whatever you need then throw the rest away.

Don’t ask for approval, ask for forgiveness. Be bold. Break rules. Don’t conform. Challenge the status quo. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.

Create your narrative. Choose the kind of story you want to embody. Act in a way today that will make you proud tomorrow.

Set your standards, your rules and your principles. Hold them high and strong. If you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything.

Don’t compare yourself to others, be inspired instead. Your circumstances are not the same, you hence cannot compare. You compete against yourself and yourself only.

The best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

If you never ask, the answer will always be no. If you never act, the status quo won’t change. Nobody will come serve you your dreams on a silver platter. You gotta go out and fight for the things you want.

The best way to predict the future is to create it. The catalyst of that change is one thing and one thing only. Action.

‘Παν μέτρον άριστον’. Everything has a balance. A virtuous person can always find the ‘right’ balance between vices. Avoiding the extremes is easy but finding the ‘right’ balance is an art and a never ending pursuit to master.

Use your values, principles, mental models as a system to continuously help you become more virtuous; an ubermansch.

Be the change you want to see in the world; the inspiration you would want as a kid.

Lead by example. By embodying your philosophy and showing your ordinary true self; not just the extraordinary parts of it. So that when the end comes, you have made a dent in this world just by being you and radiating how one could or should live.

Stop. Close your eyes. Take a slow deep breath. You are alive. No matter of your life’s circumstances at this very moment, it is a miracle.

Be grateful. Every single day. You have won the evolutionary lottery. Take advantage of the privilege.

Memento mori. Remind yourself that one day you will cease to exist. There will be no you. However sad, grasp this and you shall find freedom and empowerment beyond belief to live the life you are meant to live. A life well lived. A good life.

Tempus fugit. Protect time as if it is your most valuable possession.Spend each moment consciously, doing what matters to you.

Carpe Diem. Live in the present. That is all that matters. Excitement for the future is natural but an illusion. Plan and then step back and seek the magic in the small daily joys of a cup of tea and a good conversation instead of letting the anticipation of the next epic adventure or ambitious project overtake. Live now.

Be mindful. Breathe the crisp air, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, get carried away by the sound of the waves, stare at the sublime, taste life.

It is always about the journey; not the destination. Have fun along the way.

You will never be as young and have never been as wise as this very moment. Now is always the right time.

Go out and kill it!🤙