A constitution is a set of written or unwritten beliefs and laws of a nation or corporation. It is regarded as a set of basic principles by which a state or organisation is governed. Therefore, a personal constitution is a personal statement of principles that guides and propels an individual’s action, conduct or behaviour. It is popularly referred to as a mission or purpose statement.
Often times, people believe that mission statements are required only by businesses or designed only for organisations. Well, that isn’t completely true. As individuals, having a mission statement, purpose statement or personal constitution is not only essential or necessary but also valuable. And this is traditionally because of the mileage we cover and the benefits we enjoy when we craft, own and act on our individual philosophies. I for one believe that life is so mission-critical to warrant the adoption of a personal mantra.
“You cannot afford to live haphazardly and expect to make a huge impact with your life.”
Why do you do what you do? Why did you choose to study law and not medicine or engineering? Why are you a full-time entrepreneur and not a full-time employee? Why did you choose to work in banking instead of in telecoms? Why did you invest in real estate as opposed to investing in oil and gas? Or why do you live in the States and not in the Middle East? The answer to each of these questions is laced with a common thread called Purpose.
Now, purpose is defined as the WHY of WHAT you do. According to Rich Horwath, purpose can be broken down into two; current and future purpose. The current purpose is what is referred to as the mission while the future purpose is called the vision. So, when you have purpose at the heart of what you do, then, it is imperative that you clearly define your mission in a simple, clear and concise statement.
“Your personal mission or purpose statement is your personal constitution.”
In reality, you cannot afford to live haphazardly and expect to make a huge impact with your life. It is too much of a risk to work, school or do business without focus or a sense of direction. You’ve got to be strategic in your approach and systematic in your methods if you really desire to achieve results everyday; and success in the brief moments you have to live here on earth.
According to Steven Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he wrote;
“The most effective way to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.”
The point is clear: To become super effective at fulfilling your life’s goals, you’ll need to not only conceptualise your personal convictions but also to document, live and be driven by them.
Below are samples of some really interesting personal constitution alongside that of my very own self; 🙂
#1. Richard Branson
“To have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes.”
#2. Oprah Winfrey
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
#3. Sonnie Martins
“To leave a strong presence (influence & impact) everywhere I go (online & off-line).”
#4. Barack Obama
“To use my speaking skills to advance far in life. To love my wife Michelle till the day I die and be the honourable statesman that Lincoln was.”
#5. Warren Buffett
“To become wealthy. To use my talents to the best of my ability and make something out of myself.