What’s a Manifesto? – Three-Part Manifesto Definition

To create a powerful manifesto you have to have a clear manifesto definition. If you want to be inspired every day in your work and life then creating a manifesto can help.

But what is a manifesto? These are the three things you must know.

Manifesto Definition Part 1: Who

Whenever I’m defining a word, I love to start with the origin of that word.

Where does the word ‘manifesto’ come from?

Like a lot of English words, the word manifesto comes from Latin.

And it comes from the word ‘manifest’ which means ‘to make visible’. In other words, to make it known or to make it public. (Source: Oxford Languages)

That’s the first part of your manifesto definition.

A manifesto is not private – it’s not something you lock in a drawer or hide on your hard drive. A manifesto is meant to be a public document.

Who are you going to share your manifesto with?

Note: Just because a manifesto is a public thing, doesn’t mean you have to share it with the whole world. Sharing it with your inner circle might be enough. You choose.

Manifesto Definition Part 2: What

If the first part is to make ‘it’ known or public – what exactly are you making public?

Your manifesto makes your intentions public or known.

So what’s an intention? An intention is a motivation. It’s something you intend to be, do or have.

Is an intention a goal? It can be. I see a goal as something you do or have. I’m going to run a marathon or I’m going to have a holiday. Whereas intention is more about your way of being. I am going to be creative.

Your manifesto tells people what you want. This is the second part of your manifesto definition.

What is the Plural of Manifesto?

What’s the plural of a manifesto? Is it manifestos? Or is it Manifestoes? What do you think?

From my research, there appears to be no definitive answer here – You can use either. My personal preference is ‘manifestos’.

Manifesto Definition Part 3: How

Now for number three – our third part of the manifesto definition. This piece is the most important – you need to really get this because it’s where the power of a manifesto lives.

The third part of our manifesto definition refers to how we make our intentions public. We use declarations.

So what’s a declaration? It’s when…

  • A marriage celebrant announces ‘I now declare you husband and wife’.
  • A judge says ‘You are sentenced to ten years in prison.’
  • US President John F Kennedy said, ‘We shall send a man to the moon and have him safely return by the end of the decade.’

These are all declarations. They’re creative statements. At the moment they are spoken the world changes.

  • The bride and groom are no longer single – they’re now married.
  • The defendant is no longer free to walk the streets, instead, they must go to prison.
  • And JFK’s statement puts the US on a different path – we’re now going to the moon.

A declaration is the opposite of a description.

  • The marriage celebrant doesn’t say, you’re a good-looking couple.
  • The judge doesn’t say, you’re a bad man.
  • JFK didn’t say, the moon looks good this time of year.

A declaration says ‘this ends and this starts’.

When US President Kennedy said ‘we are sending a man to the moon’ he changed the course of an entire country. Instead of heading over here, he said, ‘No, we’re heading over there.’

And this is the source of power for your manifesto. You get to say where you are heading to.

What are you ending? And what are you starting?

Putting your Manifesto Definition together

When you put all this together you get:

A manifesto is a public declaration of your intention.

And when you make your public declaration of your intention you change your future.

  • End the past.
  • Create the future.

What does your manifesto say?

More on how to write a Manifesto

To help you be inspired by using a manifesto, here are three more posts to help you:

Add a comment below and let me know what you’re ending and what you’re starting.

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