“I believe in living on grateful terms with the earth.” ~Maxine Kumin
Mahatma Ghandi said that our beliefs influence the people we become. William James said that what we believe helps create a life worth living. And Soren Kierkegaard said that belief is what holds the world together.
When I was a student in Pacific University’s MFA program, faculty writer John Rember asked what my personal credo was. My personal credo? What did that have to do with becoming a better writer? I was flummoxed–even put off–by his question, but over the next several years, I came to understand that my personal credo had everything to do with what I did. A credo is a belief, and my belief–in regards to writing–is that words and stories matter. (I recognize that I’m not original in thinking this, and others have stated this belief far more eloquently than me.)
I’m now exploring a new venture with my husband (although I’ll still continue with my writing career), and while we’re in the midst of a strategic planning process to identify why we want to do this thing, and what our core values are, I believe we also need to come up with our credo. In fact, I think we all need to identify and articulate what our overarching beliefs are, just in case Ghandi and James and Kierkegaard our right. If we spent more time living what we believe, the world might be a better place.
Stay tuned for more on this potential venture of ours. In the meantime, take some time to look at your own personal (or professional) credo. What belief has made you into the person you’ve become? Or made life worth living? To what belief do you subscribe that holds our world together?
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out Maxine Kumin’s poem, “Credo,” from which the opening quote (above) was taken. Her belief in the magic of nature drove her decision to live on a 200-acre farm in New Hampshire. What has your credo led you to do?