Why “Manifest” is a Bad Word and We Can Do Better.

Kona Morris
4 min readDec 17, 2022


Pee-Wee Herman standing in front of the Alamo, with a sign for the “Crockett Hotel” in the background. (Your grade school teacher also probably didn’t tell you what racist monsters the “‘Merican heros” of the Alamo were. #LEARN)

First of all, Manifest Destiny.

If you don’t know what that means, please educate yourself (and then call your childhood school district to complain).

Short cut

I define it for you at 01:53 into this video:

Kona Morris_Live Drunk History_Mexican-American War (and apologies for the shitty camera work—this is when I learned to not let drunk comedians be in charge of filming my set. 😆🤦🏻‍♀️🙃)

“Manifest Destiny means America’s —sorry, I mean, WHITE America’s— ‘god given right’ to have ALL the land on the ENTIRE continent… never mind who might already be living there.”

—Kona Morris, Live Drunk History, Mexican-American War, 23 March, 2019

If you need your heart ripped out with an example, watch the historical fiction film Avatar. And then take a stand for the planet already.


Kona dressed as Doc Brown, her mouth gaping in her best Christopher Lloyd impersonation, holding a drawing of the Flux Capacitor (which is what makes time travel possible!). Also, the top of Jackson Yoda McFly’s head poking up from the bottom of the photo, with big sweet puppy dog eyes.

So yeah. “Manifest” is an ugly word. Not to mention played out. Très Cliché.

And it justified A LOT of real shitty hate crimes and cold-blooded murders against the Indigenous Tribes of this Land, and Mexicans, not to mention the trees and animals and water.

Dicks have used that word. Don’t be a dick.

But also! I think another reason that term sucks is that it invites you to wish/attract/take ANYTHING. No ethical responsibility for what you will summon implied.

I’ve heard douche knuckles say, “Yeah, bro, I’m gonna manifest a car.”

The connotation is cheap.


Fuck that noise.

Besides, it gives people a false understanding of what they need to DO in order to create the future existence they want.

It makes them think they can just meditate and things will appear.

Sure, having a clear vision of the future you want is important, so you act with intention, but it is only with ACTION that anything will ever ACTUALIZE.

One must walk through the door to enter the room.

You CREATE the life you want for yourself through the series of ACTIONS you take in your life.

With each damn choice you make.

Every breath you take. Every move you make.

(Future article idea: Why a band called The Police got away with a song about stalking a woman. Spoiler alert: Sting!)

So anyway, here’s my equation:


The AUDACITY to know your worth, despite all the haters and systems trying to hold you down. The AUDACITY to have confidence in your own competence. To know what you can, and therefore must, contribute to the world. The AUDACITY to have no regrets when you are on your death bed because at least you never stopped trying to be the person you are.

The ACTION of taking whatever the next step is in the direction of the future you want. To be conscious, and therefore responsible, for how you use your time (which is the only thing you ever actually “have”). Every choice is an inherent claim that that action, or inaction, is what you should be doing with your time. ACTION is motion. ACTION takes work. But ACTIONS add up, and if you do enough of them, you will have grown. Improved. Exponentially. You will invent the timeline you want to live in, and be closer to your future.

Side note: After studying nautical science, I came up with a theory that you don’t actually need to know EXACTLY where you want to end up, as long as you have a vision within a margin of about 45° in the direction of where you want to go (maybe even 42°). Because! All those things have a common denominator—a common NEXT STEP. So all you ever have to do is assess what the relative next step is towards where you want to go. And take it!

And what’s amazing is this version (as opposed to “manifesting”) actually makes logical sense. You are applying Quantum Theory to your life. Creating a new future version of yourself by consciously inventing your ideal timeline. (If of course there is such a thing as Free Will. 😆🤦🏻‍♀️🙃✨)

So not only is it a sound philosophical theory (Merci beaucoup, J.P. Sartre!), but it is also something you can physically do, right now, to cause actual change in your life. It is a science-approved, action-filled alternative to the ‘law of attraction’ (or maybe those are two ways of saying the same thing.)

So to wrap up, fuck the word Manifest.

Not just because it haunts our Indigenous communities, but because it does not serve you.

All you have to do is have the Audacity to claim the life you want (—without pillaging or hurting others, unless you want to go down in history like those Manifest Destiny fucks. But don’t worry. I promise you, from my own empirically tested experience, generosity beats greed. Every time. Give what you can, and you will always have enough).

And trust your own Competence enough to take the next step towards the Existence you want to have. Action begets Action begets Action, in aeternum…

Oh wait! We forgot something important!

We need to REPLACE that awful word.

But with what?


Because it has gotten so popular it is making me nauseous…




I mean, couldn’t it just be Actualize?

To come into being.

That’s what we’re after, right?

Actualize Your Life.

Okay, I’m officially proposing it!

So now we just need to join together to:

Actualize the End of Manifest(Destiny)


—I’ll make shirts!

Or, please comment below, so we can come up with a think tank of alternatives. All ideas are welcome around the fire of Thought.

Or maybe we don’t need a new word at all…

Maybe we just need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Okay, for real this time.

Get to work.

Clock’s tickin’