On the Holstee Manifesto

By now the Holstee Manifesto has been viewed over 800 million times and is one of the highest driving revenue products for the online clothing company, which first drafted the manifesto as part of it's founding mission statement. Just in case you haven't seen it yet, here it is: 


Before I go further, I'll note that I actually think their products are great. The clothing is made out of recycled material and I believe there is merit to ecologically conscious design.

But I can't say that I really jive with the manifesto itself, which I feel has all the buzzworthy hallmarks reminiscent of the last five minutes of an episode of Girls. Although there are parts of the manifesto I agree with, after reading the whole thing I feel as if I'm left with more questions than answers. The rest of this post serves as a working response to some of the ideas in the manifesto. 

This is your life. Do you what you love, and do it often.
I actually find this to be very vague. It's hard for me to define what I love. And even if I love doing it, being able to do it often assumes there aren't any other barriers (I also realize that the whole effect of the statement is to argue that such barriers can be easily taken down). I love to go out and drink. But I don't do it so often because in the long term I love the idea of being hard working and serving a good purpose. As such, the reality of how I base my decisions is often in acknowledgement to this relationship between long term and short term loves or this balance between living in the moment and planning for the future. The two don't have to be irreconcilable. There is a way, as my friend puts it, to plan to be happy in ten minutes and plan to be happier in ten years. 

Stop over analyzing, life is simple.
I'm conflicted about this. Is it really that simple? What about living the examined life? What I believe the Holstee boys are actually saying (and I don't disagree) is that we should champion actually taking action, which is often stymied by all the vexing questions we have about life: "What are we doing with ourselves?", "Why am I so unhappy?" Invariably such analysis ends up with something along the lines of "I don't have a definitive answer on these questions so I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing until I get those answers." Classic analysis paralysis. But that still doesn't mean life is simple. It just means that at some point we need to actually bust some moves instead of waiting around.

In response to reading my objections on the two points above, my good friend asked me if I was spending too much time thinking about this. I probably am. So what if these people say "Stop over analyzing, life is simple." Who cares? I don't have to buy their products. 

But I do think there is merit in writing down one's values and even your own manifesto if you want to call it that. In fact, going through the act of writing down something like the Holstee manifesto is probably important for one's personal growth. It's most likely better than buying something already hashed out.