Call it your personal code. Or your rules of engagement. Whatever the name, in a society like ours, unwavering commitment to a set of clear values can put you leagues beyond the impressionable masses. And far ahead of unmoored influencers, especially if you’re a young man.
But it can also be a substantial part of rallying your tribe and forging your legacy.
What is a personal code and how does it transcend personal branding?
Today, we’re looking past more corporate codes of conduct. Many articles talk about these. And in the past decades, I’ve seen how those are used as a sort of woke litmus tests in the business world. Instead, we’re considering more personal codes of excellence like those of fighting forces or a band of brothers.
And you might be familiar with a few of these. Above all, these codes are focused on action and values, but also the beliefs and backgrounds that unite people. Not to mention, they’re something to live by and even die for. And they strengthen your resolve as much as they guide your decisions and goals.
Compare personal branding.
At heart, it’s largely about being beholden to the fickle perceptions that influence the general public. In pursuit of this goal, people often want to elevate themselves as authorities and experts. And it’s usually less truly about others and more about them. This is why the narcissistic self-help industry is obsessed with personal branding.
Instead, a personal code is a simple set of easy-to-convey principles that outline how you handle yourself. But also, how those you bring into your fold meet the world with you.
Sometimes in peace, and sometimes in war.
How do you create a personal code for yourself or your tribe?
Even though you can get as creative as you want, the steps to creating your personal code are straightforward.
- Browse some of the personal codes of others to get a few ideas
- Take stock of the real character traits you’ve embodied over the years
- Identify individuals who exemplify the very best of your attributes
- Brainstorm some descriptions tailored to the ideal of these outlined traits
- Balance these rough characterizations against your most beneficial relationships
- Solidify your outline of statements that embody these principles and values
These are the basic steps I took to create my personal code. But really, you can use them however you want to fashion your own final list. For example, it took me years to jump to the final step and formally outline my code.
How did my personal code create a lineage of excellence?
Over the years, we probably all give our place in history some thought. And who it is you want alongside you on your journey.
For me, I was lucky enough to come from a chaotic household on the wrong side of the tracks. By the time I was a teen, I had already lost friends who were senselessly gunned down in broad daylight. (Yes, I said lucky enough to have lived through this). And as I grew up, I was largely an outcast. Until finally, I simply accepted that this is how the world is sometimes. And then I initiated the process of owning my place in it.
But how did this factor into personal codes and a legacy?
You can probably imagine, because there was no one there to tell me my direction, I was forced to forge my own path. And to also be careful who I surrounded myself with. Eventually, this would lead to me having a core group of allies who shared similar ideals… such as a fierce sense of independence, a desire for critical thinking, and the pursuit of honesty.
And this is where I would eventually meet my wife and start a family. Then establish my first company.
This is where the story starts
But it’s nowhere close to over.
One day, we will all face challenges. And how we rise to those challenges can be the measure of a man. For our society, we can’t seem to find an end to the supply of influencers and personal brands. Turn to social media, and you’ll find them with their follower strategies and their sales pitches.
And by all means, I have no interest in stopping their circlejerk.
But if you’re like me, you have places to be and things to do. Follower counts and likes don’t mean much. And there are people that deserve your time, but there are also beliefs worth fighting for in an adventure that never ends.
One of My Early Personal Codes (Feel free to borrow or adapt any part of it)
- You are a wolf among hyenas – You are among the few with courage to step out and break from the common scavengers in the fields of society. You aren’t afraid to run alone, even when the odds are against you. Or to band together a cunning pack of better dogs. You reject the pleasantries and mania of a feral society. And embrace a loyalty to a higher enterprise with a spirit of honor.
- You are in the catacombs of Rome – You are going to die shortly. And history will only remember you for the mark you make upon it, the actions with substance. You stand alive today among the silent tombs of the generations of men before you. After you, another will stand in your place and admire what example you’ve left them.
- You are a scholar laboring in the Great Library – Your words and ideas join the volumes of the greatest men in history. You need only speak when ready. And through your study of the illuminated pages, you help preserve the traditions of humanity in service of shattering the very limits of our understanding. And realizing our true potential in the face of extraordinary obstacles.
- You are a guest at the monastery – Take in the song of this place, what is said between the lines and how it resonates. You dine among brothers devote in their protection of what is true and right. This citadel is not for everyone nor should it be. Enjoy your quiet reprieves where corruption and political pandering have no place.
- You are scaling the peak of Everest – You set your eyes further than others think possible. And then you engineer a path to make the impossible happen. You’re not afraid to sacrifice. Or risk everything to attain the character of a man who’s eyes see what others never will and who surprises even himself in his drive for the championship and victory.