On Having a Credo
Our friends at Merriam-Webster define a “credo” as “an idea or set of beliefs that guides the actions of a person or group.”
I have been thinking on this and decided I need my own credo. My father used to have a credo: grind the bastards down. Yes, he was a bit grim sometimes, but this credo only applied to his dealings with people outside the family. Well mostly.
Now I like my father’s credo. It has in it a certainty of success that I find refreshing. It also implies a purpose; every morning you must wake up with a commitment to “grind the bastards down” regardless circumstances. You must persevere. And that is what my father always did.
But that is not me.
I have been thinking about this and I realized that your credo needs to be more than just some non-sense that you mumble to yourself in the morning. It needs to be a phrase that serves to represent everything you are, everything you value, and everything you want to accomplish. So what should I choose as my credo?
I am a big believer in honoring those who are smarter and wiser than me by stealing their ideas, so here are a few famous credos that I rather like:
“Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) — Julius Caesar
“¡Prefiero morir de pie que vivir siempre arrodillado!” (It is better to die on your feet than to live always on your knees!) — Emiliano Zapata
“Do what you can with what you have where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“To have much learning, to be skillful in handicraft, well-trained in discipline, and to be of good speech — this is the greatest blessing.” — Buddha
“The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.” — Genghis Khan
“Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.” — Genghis Khan
“Victory belongs to the most persevering.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
“Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.” — Malcolm S. Forbes
“He deserves praise who does not what he may, but what he ought.” — Seneca
“You should … live in such a way that there is nothing which you could not as easily tell your enemy as keep to yourself.” — Seneca
“Warriors should suffer their pain silently.” — Erin Hunter
I suppose you get the idea. Everyone has an ear to hear that which resonates within.
So after much thought I have decided this would be my credo:
Never reward kindness with cruelty, and never reward cruelty with kindness.
At least for today.