What do you believe in? No, not a recited creed or statement of faith drafted by someone else, but one thing… If you had three minutes to express a single belief, what would you say? When you’re looking for a job, part of the preparation is drafting an elevator speech outlining your desired job and highlighting your experience and skills. A This I Believe essay is like an elevator speech for your life
For the next four weeks, my spirituality group will explore and craft our personal beliefs. We’ll review essays written by others from the This I Believe books and website. The workshop format gives time to ponder, explore and create our own personal philosophy statement. During the 3rd and 4th weeks, we will read our essays to the group. This is a challenging process, requiring intimacy and trust. No one else can do it for you. To guide you through the process, here are some suggestions:
Tell a story about you: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
Be brief: Your statement should be between 500 and 600 words. That’s about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.
Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.
In introducing the original series, host Edward R. Murrow said, “Never has the need for personal philosophies of this kind been so urgent.” Here’s the website for more information and/or to submit your own statement of personal belief http://thisibelieve.org/. Please contribute.