What is Your Personal Constitution?
The constitution of the United States was created as our most fundamental law, governing principles by which our great country would proceed forward.
James Ritchie, combining the effective use of a constitution in the founding of our country with the exaggerated speculation that if God gave Moses a second round of Ten Commandments it would contain a productivity pyramid, created the theory of the Personal Constitution written about in the book he co-authored, “Ministry of Business.”
Already in my life, I have had opportunities or tools presented to me that would generate lots of leads automatically, or make me a lot of money, or provide lots of entertainment, or any number of other “great” things. Because of this theory of the personal constitution though, I have been able to make the best choices that create long term success rather than short term victories.
You see, those things I talked about above would have provided me the promises they made: leads, money, entertainment, but at the expense of something else. I would gain those things but lose something else that is more important — my personal values and the person I want to become, so ultimately I choose to pass on opportunities that would compromise my values.
The point of a personal constitution is to be the governing principles by which our own life should proceed forward. It is a “single document outlining who you want to be and what you’re going to do to accomplish this objective. The Personal Constitution becomes the guiding document for how you live your daily life, and…will allow you to attain your loftiest goals and desires.” (See “Ministry of Business” pg. 133)
So how do you make this document to help you reach your goals? I will briefly outline the steps, though I highly recommend you purchase this book because all of the content is fantastic, not just this part.
- Brainstorm and write down all the values and qualities that are most important to you. Look to role models to get ideas, maybe you want to always be honest, or become energetic. Perhaps it is important for you to be straightforward, or maybe you want to be happy. Maybe you want to be wealthy. Write all of these down.
- Next, rank these in order of importance to you. This step is crucial because it will guide you in times of hard decisions. A good example of a hard decision is being offered a ton of money to do something dishonest. If honesty is higher on the list than money, you will make your choice accordingly. This step will dictate our actions.
- Now it is time to start writing your personal constitution. Make short paragraphs with the final sentence starting with “I am” and ending with the characteristic desired. It is important for psychological reasons to use “I am” in the sentence even though you don’t necessarily contain that characteristic yet.
Here is an example from my personal constitution:
“Gratitude lifts the soul, reminds us how great life is, and pleases God and others.
Gratitude in the little things and the big things make life worth living. I am grateful.”
After you have completed writing these small paragraphs for each of your values, you can move on to creating long-term goals, short-term goals, and daily tasks to reach those goals.
Take this tool, use it, and be more productive with your personal constitution outlined and goals written down. Use this to become the person you want to be in the future. Reaching your goals isn’t easy, but extremely important.
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