Discovering Your Personal Philosophy for Success

Whether you know it or not, every single action and decision you’ve made in your life has been because of your inner philosophy. Though you may not have ever set aside time to articulate your personal philosophy, we all have an internal set of beliefs and values that govern our decisions!

The benefit of articulating a personal philosophy is that you can consciously go about your life, pursuing success, all the while being secure in your self-identity and life purpose. You’ll know why you do what you do

When your personal philosophy is laid out clearly, it’s similar to a roadmap. You can now check if you’re on track or if you’ve accidentally taken a detour. Having this roadmap is essential when navigating life. 

What is ‘Personal Philosophy’?

Your personal philosophy is a set of guiding principles that you’ve internalized and collected over the years. It presides over every decision you make, how much you tip or when you decide to tell a ‘white lie.’ But it’s not just about moral choices. Your personal philosophy caters to every aspect of your life: including your personal attitude towards success. 

When you decide to push yourself or take a break: that’s your personal philosophy whispering in your ear.

The way you feel about your friends or how much time you invest in building social capital is also, believe it or not, related to your personal philosophy. 

Articulating your Personal Philosophy

Whether you think of yourself as a particularly moralistic person or not, we all have values. These core values are both a product of your upbringing as well as your personal beliefs and decisions. 

Personal philosophy and values are intrinsically connected: discovering your value system is an excellent place to start. 

Write down 10-15 values that you stand for. Don’t try to think too hard. If you spend a lot of time coming up with new words, you might be focusing too much on what sounds like the person you want to be instead of the person you are. 

Write down the words in less than three minutes as they naturally come to you. 

Here are the values that I wrote down while doing this exercise:

  1. Strength
  2. Love
  3. Creativity
  4. Prowess 
  5. Accomplishment
  6. Balance
  7. Beauty
  8. Awe
  9. Fulfillment
  10. Authenticity
  11. Healing

After writing these, I read over them and realized that I had written words that encompassed the areas of life that I am passionate about. Take a few moments to reflect on the words you’ve written. 

After this, narrow them down to less than five words. If you think two words are similar, pick one that is more significant in its meaning to you.

I selected: Creativity, Accomplishment, Awe, Balance, and Fulfillment. 

Now that you’ve selected the words that matter the most to you, it’s time to ask yourself why? What does each of these words mean? 

Creativity was crucial because I’ve experienced dark times of feeling creatively stifled, which taught me how important it was for my personal existence. Similarly, each word will have a significant impact on your life; otherwise, you wouldn’t have written it down in the first place. 

Think about these words’ context and try to join them to make your first draft of a personal philosophy statement. 

Here was mine:
“To live an inward life with creative fulfillment and balanced accomplishments and look outward with awe.’

As this is only a first draft, you’ll naturally want to tinker with it until it sounds right. I’m not completely satisfied with my personal philosophy statement as it feels too wordy. You’ll be able to shave it down as time goes by.

Examples of Personal Philosophy

You’ll likely want more than just my example of a personal philosophy statement before you go ahead. I’ve collected some from various sources on the internet, mostly from successful entrepreneurs sharing their collective experiences.

“Be mindful in your personal and professional life.”

This one sounds simple enough, but it is profound. Mindfulness is a tricky skill to master. To continually be present in a given situation without being bogged down by thoughts of either the past or the future is easier said than done. 

Being mindful requires every action and decision to be done with reflection and purpose. Put simply, it means being aware. While going about your day, you would be aware of your own emotions and in tune with your thoughts and feelings. Being ‘in tune’ with oneself helps with authenticity. You’re always acting in accordance with your truth. 

The values that go along with this personal philosophy are truth, authenticity, awareness.

“Look for opportunities to leave the world a better place.”

Many would argue that the only true happiness you can ever get is by helping other people. A life lived in selfish pursuit can be meaningless. One of the only ways to ensure that our life wasn’t lived in vain is by impacting other people’s lives. 

If you spent your entire life on earth without leaving it for the better, you haven’t really left your mark. Going through each day with this personal philosophy will make sure that you never do anything solely for personal gain: but always with others’ benefit in your mind.

The values that go along with this personal philosophy are compassion, altruism, kindness.

“Learn by Doing”

The real lessons that life gives us aren’t found in textbooks. It’s only through experiences that we grow and evolve to be better people. 

Reaching personal goals and polishing skills happen through constant failures and successes. If you don’t push yourself to go out of your comfort zone and try the things you may not be good at, you’ll never really learn much.

The values that go along with this personal philosophy are courage, strength, learning.

“Gratitude multiples happiness.”

Most of us wish we were happier than we are right now. But we don’t always know how to approach this happiness or how to pursue it. More often than not, the reason why we’re not as happy as we want to be is that we blame our circumstances. 

When we resent things in our lives and forget to, quite literally, ‘count our blessings,’ we have a shortage of gratitude. The relationship between gratitude and happiness is an interconnected one. As we increase the gratitude in our lives, happiness automatically multiples. 

The values that go along with this personal philosophy are appreciation, thankfulness, joy.

“To follow my passion by doing what I love until I reach success.”

We’ve all heard someone tell us that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Cliche as it may be, it’s entirely true. If you know what gives you real joy and makes you feel fulfilled, there’s no reason to waste another minute doing anything else! 

Success can be a monetary gain for many, but if this is your personal philosophy, you’ll know it’s so much more. Receiving the self-validation that you have improved upon your skill and followed your heart to create something worthwhile is the true meaning of success

What’s Yours?

Now that you’ve read about how to articulate your personal philosophy statement and read some words of others: it’s time to come up with your own. 

We all have our own set of values but don’t always take the time to give them some attention and awareness. This could be an excellent weekend exercise, so set aside an hour and a notebook and pen, and discover your personal philosophy for success!