A Manifesto for a Better Me


Some Of You Fake It Until You Make It & Some Of Us Keep Writing It Until We Live It


I went to Berlin and found myself dead.

I’m not talking about some sort of out-of-body astral experience they’re pressing into pills and selling on the streets of Friedrichshain. Rather, I went to Berlin and found out that I wasn’t living.

Berlin is living. It’s a place full of energy in the vibrating, bouncing, colliding, nuclear fission sense of the word. Everyone is moving. Every person is realized through saturated expressions and purposeful gestures. Every step falling on every sidewalk is part of a choreographed performance to insult the second law of thermodynamics by creating more energy with each passing beat.

Berlin lives and grows and radiates.

Seeing a city so alive makes for a great vacation, but the experience is also a reference point for the dead to calibrate their internal thermometer. And I was certainly not a Berliner.

Rather, I have been stuck in a not-quite-depressive funk of complacency and listlessness. Spending time and not living it. Making conversation and not engaging people. Doing things but not living. Maybe dead is too strong of a word, but anyone in limbo is as good as dead to the living world they left behind.

Listen. Vacations can be good even when they’re not relaxing. On the tail-end of my trip to Berlin, I began hammering out the first versions of what follows this prelude.

It’s a list!

No no no, hold on, now. This list isn’t your generalized collection of feel-good, marketing-centric values statements. I made some words tied to values, sure, but 1) these are mine and 2) I ain’t a business. Values statements are for businesses. I’m a person. While business are made of people, businesses are not people.

And so, this is my list.

I need to see these words and see them often. Practice makes perfect, they say, and I have come to know that good Kyle-habits are never interrupted. Hopefully, reading these words every day will become a moot endeavor as each bullet bores its way into the very meat and bone of my existence.

Don’t just fake it until you make it. Write it, read it, and live it.

And happy birthday to me!

Kyle Barnhart

April 28, 2015

Hey solipsist, get over yourself!

Absolutely keep going.

Be present to your feelings and to your surroundings.

Never forget the hard work that propelled you to where you are today.

Never forget the sacrifices others have made to move you forward.

You have friends and you always have family. Don’t forget about them.

Know when to shut up. Sometimes you have to listen.

Give gifts generously and receive them humbly.

Listen to others, but especially listen to yourself.

Don’t live for the ideal. Live for the journey.

Everyone likes you (including you) when you try new things.

Your interests are cool and worth sharing. They’re one of your greatest assets.

Find the balance between judging and feeling.

Don’t pass time. Do things that express a part of who you are.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself outwardly.

Don’t keep secrets. Secrets have always been your worst enemy.