A personal creed is more than an affirmation. Affirmations aim to give you confidence in yourself. Personal creeds are more spiritual. ‘Creed’ comes from the Latin word ‘credo’ which means “I believe”. So a personal creed is a statement of belief about who you are.
A personal creed is a blueprint for how you live your life. No respectable architect would start building without a blue-print. Yet many of us try to build our lives without a personal blueprint.
5 examples of a personal creed
Here are as models for developing your own personal creed. Note that yours does not need to be as long or as poetic. What is important is the emphasis on “being” as opposed to “doing” or “having”.
To live as gently as I can;
To be, no matter where, a man:
To take what comes of good or ill
And cling to faith and honor still;
To do my best, and let that stand
The record of my brain and hand;
And then, should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory.
To have no secret place therein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin;
To be the same when I’m alone
As when my every deed is known;
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made;
To be without pretense or sham
Exactly what men think I am.
To leave some simple mark behind
To keep my having lived in mind;
If enmity to aught I show,
To be an honest, generous foe,
To play my little part, nor whine
That greater honors are not mine.
This, I believe, is all I need
For my philosophy and creed.
Isn’t that wonderful? To have something that you can tell the world is your “philosophy and creed” is, I think, the essence of personhood.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
Gosh, if I could write like that I would die happy. No wonder “If” is probably one of the best-loved poems of all time.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the caption of my soul.
‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’ and this poem uses powerful language that is a call to both contemplation and action.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.
What a woman! Her ‘perfect poem’ is certainly an inspiration and benediction to generations after.
OUR FAMILY CREED
The Things That Make Life Most Worth Living
I believe in the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.
I believe that the law was made for man and not man for the law; that government is the servant of the people and not their master.
I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.
I believe that thrift is essential to well ordered living and that economy is a prime requisite of a sound financial structure, whether in government, business or personal affairs.
I believe that truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order.
I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man’s word should be as good as his bond, that character – not wealth or power or position – is of supreme worth.
I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and that only in the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.
I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individual’s highest fulfillment, greatest happiness and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His will.
I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.
These are the principles, however formulated, for which alll good men and women throughout the world, irrespective of race or creed, education, social position or occupation, are standing, and for which many of them are suffering and dying.
These are the principles upon which alone a new world recognizing the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God can be established.
Wow. With creeds like the above, are you in any doubt that all these people lived consciously and well?
Write your own personal creed
To start you thinking about your creed, highlight any lines in the five examples above that tugged at your heartstrings. These are points you may want to include in your own creed.
Next, re-phrase these key elements of your personal creed in your own words. It must feel natural for you to say these words out loud, even if only to yourself. Your creed must feel like YOU.
Don’t feel that your creed has to be a long poem or statement. It can be a one- or two-liner. What matters is these lines guide your life.
Using these points as a start, go on to write your own personal creed using this detailed walk-through. Feel free to adapt it to suit you.
59 replies on “Do You Have A Personal Creed?”
Daphne: Love this site. As a Life Coach who specializes in Grief work, I encourage writing Mission Statements…akin to Personal Creeds.
However, after pondering on the similarities/contrasts, I believe a Creed has more to do with Being; A Mission has more to do with Doing. And Being must come first!!
Thanks for the thought provocation
[…] Do You Have A Personal Creed? – Daphne challenges us to write our own Personal Creeds and gives some great examples of ones that have already been written. […]
Welcome! And thank you for sharing your creed here. I like your point about balancing curiosity and growth – it’s interesting because sometimes curiosity leads to growth, and sometimes to grow we have to stick with something for a long time. Very thought-provoking for me. Thanks!
Welcome! Kipling’s IF never fails to inspire me when I read it, and I’ve read it lots of times. I’m glad you felt inspired to write your own creed. I found the exercise both liberating and grounding, and I hope it helped you too. Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment!
Wonderful post! Kipling’s IF is amazing. I must say, it’s rare to come across a post that truly inspires me to do something after I read it. But writing my own Creed seems like something I should have done a long time ago. So I thank you for sharing and inspiring me to do so… Much appreciated
To live a life of authentic joy and harmony, balanced with curiousity and growth, connecting deeply with others in my world.
This is my first time here, but I will be coming back often! I work with affirmations all the time, but I never thought to write my own creed. How remiss of me! But I’m inspired to do so now and will be happy to share if you go ahead with your compilation project.
all the best,
I do not have a personal creed – never considered it actually. I know what my values are and how I want to live my life, but never considered writing it down. I write so many other things down! Interesting to think about though…Now off to read the next post!
Hi Stacey, it’s interesting that we write down so many things in life (my favourite are lists of things to do!) yet leave perhaps more important things unsaid and unwritten. I never thought about having a personal creed too until recently.
I do not have a personal creed yet and you had inspired me to have one. Thanks for the article 🙂
Personal Development Blogger
Thanks for your comment, Vincent.
It is as I understand basically a reflection of our deepest values, what we live for and which all our decisions should come.
I wish I could be that creative and write verses like Invictus in English, which is not my first language 🙂
Here is several of mines:
Live life of freedom and balance
Enjoy present moment and accept who I am
Learn and Grow Each and every Day
Be greatfull for who I am and what I have
Constantly raising mine and other peoples awareness
Accept others for who they are
Refining personal talents and develop them as much as possible
Thanks for the nice post
Looking forward for your next post
Peter, you’re right that a true creed, one you truly believe in, guides all your decisions. Thanks for sharing yours here.
And don’t worry about not writing in the style of Invictus. Most people who speak English as a first language can’t write like that anyway, including me! I think it’s admirable that you’re blogging in English though it’s not natural to you. Bravo!
Thanks Daphne for those encouraging words!!!
My personal creed that keeps me out of trouble is:
“I’ll judge nothing that occurs today.”
My favortie quote which backs this is “No matter what you think you have no idea wht is really going on.” Anasasi
Isn’t that the truth!
Tess, not judging others because we can never know the whole truth is certainly the truth! I try not to judge too but never put that into my creed so you’ve given me food for thought. Thank you!
I’ve never thought about creating my own creed. It sounds like fun. I’m pretty excited about your next post. I’ll be sure and sit down and create my own creed to share with you!
Dustin, I’m thrilled that you intend to create your creed to share with us! I hope you find the next post helpful!
Hi Daphne, the theme is great for further discussion.
I don’t write a personal creed yet, but I think my creed is create a life balance. However I love the examples. They are really wonderful and truly inspiring.
Thanks for sharing, Daphne. 🙂
Hi Arswino, the examples were truly inspiring indeed. I’m glad you liked them. Life balance is a good way to live!
After sixty-some years I still cannot settle on a few words that could become a creed. So, I have adopted an attitude expressed by the international school principal in Yangoon, Burma, which I attempt to live: I really appreciate a well prepared meal, but there is no dissappointment if it is not.
By the way, all the previous entries have reminded me of who and what is out there. Maybe it’s time to travel, once again. Thanks, Daphne.
Cal, welcome and thank you for this wise comment. “I appreciate a well-prepared meal, but there is no disappointment if it is not” is something I have to learn myself I think, especially in terms of relationships with others.
I wish you joyous travels, but there is no disappointment if it is not 🙂 I’m starting to love this line a lot, Cal. I’ve just written it in my journal so I will remember to practise this wisdom. Thank you for your comment. I am grateful.
Mine’s really simple:
To be kind.
Vered, being kind is a beautiful way to live.
Thank you from my soul, Daphne!
I give to the mind
Each uncovered find
I give to the heart
An awakening start
I give to the soul
That which is whole
I give all that is I
Until the day I die!
Henie, I knew you would have something beautiful to share. Thank you so much for this short and sweet creed!
The poem “If” sends quite a few valid messages in its wording.
“If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;”
tells us that our aim should be on the aspects being internalized, and that false motivations are not able to be maintained.
Also, the part
“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,”
reminds us that the people that rise to positions of talking with kings and talking to crowds are the ones that are not overwhelmed by the experience, and are able to see themselves in the forefront.
Armen, you know what? Those two pairs of lines you picked out are my favourite lines in that poem too! Yes, to be in control of our thoughts and dreams, instead of being in their grasp; to have the humility and the confidence to talk to anyone in the world… this is as close to nirvana as I can imagine. Thank you for your comment.
A Life Full of Gratitude
Each day, live and love to your fullest,
Tend your blessings and let your worries fall away;
Learn to find wealth and happiness in the life you have,
Maintain the discipline to succeed, and the courage to fail;
Live simply and honestly, always honor your word,
And let your heart, mind and body be pure;
Give away the best of whatever you have to offer,
But keep the worst to yourself;
Bow to God’s reflection in others,
And be a constant instrument of love and compassion;
Find peace, both within yourself and within the world,
Do not allow fear of pain or death to keep you from living;
Never lose sight of your hope and faith,
Let them remain your guiding light even through the darkest times;
Do not carry the weight of old debts, or past wrongs against you,
But remain graceful, lighthearted and forgiving;
Thanks, Daphne, this was a joyful challenge!
Michael, this was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your creed and for blogging about this post. I absolutely love your creed and find it as beautiful and inspiring as the examples I quoted. The fact that you articulated this so quickly shows that this has been your creed for some time, and you just needed to find the words. Thank you so much. I am grateful.
[…] Daphne of Joyful Days posted beautiful examples of personal creeds, and invited her readers to share their own. It was a […]
I have to say that I’m not sure I have a creed other than that I try to live my life the best I can. This means that I try to be kind to other people and treat them as I want to be treated. I enjoyed your examples though, they were very inspiring!
Hi Tabitha, those poems were incredible weren’t they? I’d give so much to be able to write like that. Glad you liked them!
[…] Joyful Days created an interesting post today on Do You Have A Personal Creed?Here’s a short outlinePersonal creeds are a little bit like affirmations, with one crucial difference. A creed is more spiritual, what you already strongly believe in rather than what you’d like to become. ‘Creed’ is a derivative of the Latin word ‘credo’ which means “I believe”. So a personal creed is a statement of belief about who you are. One way to think about a creed is as a blueprint for how you live your life. No respectable architect would start building without a blue-print, yet many of us try to buil […]
Wow, thank you for defining “creed” I think I intuitively understood what it meant before, but now I really understand 😉
All of your examples were very helpful. My favorites from your list are Rockefeller, Jr. and Henley.
I used to write a lot of poetry and pass it around…this creed-writing is definitely going to be a new thing for me tho!
Hey Carlota, I’m glad you liked Rockefeller and Henley. These are the less well-known among the five, and I’m glad you appreciate them!
Great to know that you write poetry. Maybe you should give this a shot. I’d love to publish yours here, together with Jocelyn’s and anyone else who responds in the next few days!
I have not written a personal creed before that rhymes and puts it like a poem. I may have to try it someday!! Thanks for sharing enough examples to inspire me!
Hmm, all my personal creeds and affirmations have never rhymed before either. I think rhyme just makes it easier to remember. Maybe I’ll try making mine rhyme this time round! I do hope you’re inspired enough to come up with something, Evelyn. Knowing you, it will be a beautifully written creed.
Hi Daphne, I have nothing so developed, not in the personal level.
Something to ponder about
Miguel, thank you for visiting and commenting. You have a lovely gravatar! Hey, how about a creed for your FRC ? Not a personal one, but one that all of you can share as a group to reach your goals… I tried to leave a comment on that post but my PC was acting up.
What a wonderful post. I love all of the examples personal creeds.
Lately I have been saying this one a lot. “Everything that I need is either already in me or it is coming to me.”
Imperfect Action is better than No Action
Giovanna, with your one-line creed, I’m not surprised you could bend metal. I still can’t get over that! So your repetition has certainly worked wonders.
You may like this line from “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” which I used for the beginning of my personal creed: “I am more than I appear to be. All the world’s strength and power rests inside me.”
This might be your best post. I do not want to take away from your other great post, but I simply love this. I am bookmarking this, and will put together a creed for myself and Inner Noodle. Thank you so much for shining a bright light on my life Daphne!
Jay, I’m so glad you’re putting something together. I can’t wait to see it up on Inner Noodle, and living inside your own inner noodle too! I’m also flattered that you think this is my best post – I actually felt I was cheating a little in this post because all the best lines were from 5 other people! Thank you for making me feel better about the post, Jay. You made my day.
This is an excellent idea. I will have to work on my own personal creed. I liked Kipling’s words the best, but there were numerous lines from all the poems and prose you shared that I could relate to. Your personal creed is sort of having a compass…to keep on track. You’ve really got me thinking. Thanks :~)
Sara, I’m glad you like the idea. I like various lines from different poems, and have literally cut and pasted the lines to combine my favourites into my personal creed. Tacky I know, but it works for me!
You got some nice collection of poems going on here. 🙂 Loved reading them.
When you talk about creeds I think you mean the core personal values. You have very rightly pointed out their importance and the need to consciously choose our core values.
I think it might interest you that I complied a massive list of values, 400 to be exact, for sharing it with like minded people like yourself. (Downloadable PDF)
There is also a free online tool available to help you pinpoint your values.
Hi Sunny, glad you like the poems. While prose is good, something about poetry just speaks to the soul. You’re right that values are certainly what our creeds articulate, in our own unique interpretation of them.
You must have spent some time on that post – 400 is a large number! I’ve read it and it’s a useful starting point for people to glance through and see which values jump out at them. Thanks for sharing it here.
Wonderful, wonderful post! I am of the belief that a personal creed is very much a great thing to develop – for each of us personally. And…I just looked at what I have (yikes! it’s been way to long since I updated it – timestamp of 1997!). So, I’ll not share that one with you. It’s not far off from where I think it should be – so I’ll work on updating this.
Anyway, I think this is such an important thing to do – and to review once in a while (I’m doing pretty badly there!). Daphne, thank you for this post today! It’s a message I needed to hear and revisit.
Lance, please do consider sharing your personal creed. You are one of the most affirming, encouraging people I know and I’d love to know what kind of creed you live by. I’m sure I’m not the only one too! You’ve lots of fans here, you know.
The 1997 version would be perfect if you have no time to update it, since it would show us how you started to become the person you are today. I’ll leave it to you though, and respect your decision either way.
Thank you also for the Stumble! It would be wonderful if more people would share their creeds!
Stay open, stay with it, it works.
Evan, that works!
Thanks, Daphne! It was great to have been given a chance to share something personal like that 🙂
I will go through this life only once,
and I shall have but one chance to live;
Not all people will like me,
others may even despise me,
as I may not be easily understood;
Yet I will take this chance to live,
and I will reach out in ways I know;
I will love those whom I can,
and I will strive to understand them more;
Not all days will bring me sunshine,
so I will rejoice also for the rain;
Not every endeavor will be a success,
but I will savor the victories I achieve;
Not all dreams I dream will be mine,
but in time new dreams will fill my heart,
and as from a star those hopes will propel me forward
doing everything the best way I know I can;
No fear shall trample me whatsoever,
though some tasks seem to outweigh my strength;
I will only do what I have to do,
and God will take care of the rest!
Jocelyn, I knew I could count on you for a poem! Thank you so much for posting the first personal creed. You’ve started the ball rolling and I’m counting already, how many I can collect and feature. Thank you!
[…] to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Fifteenth Anniversary Edition Reconsidered, Revised, & Do You Have A Personal Creed? – joyfuldays.com 03/02/2009 Personal creeds are a little bit like affirmations, with one crucial […]
This is my first time here. I love the spirit of your site!
I have yet to articulate my own creed, but you’ve inspired me to do just that.
I think another great example of a personal creed is Desiderata (see http://www.fleurdelis.com/desiderata.htm)
Michael, welcome and thank you for your comment! How could I forget Desiderata? Thanks for the reminder – that’s another wonderful (if a little long) creed.
I’m glad you’re thinking of your own creed. I am too! Do share your creed once you have it, either here or in the comments section of the next post in a couple of days, which gives us all time to think about it a little more.
I loved your blog post about affirming your wife. You’re a wonderful example to many husbands out there!
Thanks for this post. “Invictus” always stirs my blood and calls me to battle. (Vulnerable confession: I like to listen to a heavy metal song of the same name by “Virgin Steele” that has the same effect.)
I love Invictus as well, Chris. The last two lines are actually part of my personal creed. Never heard of the song though, and tried to listen to it on Youtube but the video has been removed – copyright I’m sure. Thanks for leaving a comment!