The self empowerment world is a current marketing phenomenon and multi-billion dollar industry. Seeing the rise of EQ in leadership, exponential growth of both human and technological kind and the resurgence New Age thinking, why else is self empowerment important?
♞ Self Empowerment At a Glance…
Two main levers for self empowerment are: what and why. What do you want to build in your life? What is the value behind what you want to create? Furthermore, self empowerment can’t be explored without mention of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
The base of Maslow’s needs include D-needs which are deficiency or default needs; fundamental requirements to life. Higher up the pyramid are B or growth needs which move into more abstract realms of purpose and fulfilment. Note Maslow updated this hierarchy to include self transcendence which he defined as “consciousness, behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, to oneself, to significant others…”. This point is important for below.
Aside from understanding human motivational drivers, the importance of self-empowerment also includes:
- Increased awareness of self and values
- Creating happiness, strength and growth
- Understanding one’s life purpose (as aforementioned)
- Establishing and achieving goals
- Fostering positive relationships
- Coping with fear, stress and adversity
♞ Self-Empowerment More Closely
1. Lessons from a Few Wise Men 👴🏻
2,000+ years ago ancient Greek and Roman philosophers such as Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius asked a simple question we still ask today: “How do we live a good life?“. Without getting too deep, self empowerment guided the lives of these men through congruency of their thoughts, behaviour and speech. They achieved this through living principle centred lives focused on temperance, reverence, justice, honesty, will power, and service of others.
Serving others through understanding the world’s interrelatedness played a big part of these ancient beliefs with Marcus Aurelius noting,
“Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe. All things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for each other – for one thing follows another according to their tension of movement…the unity of all substance”.
2. Science Plays a Key 🔑
Scientist Tom Chi explains the interconnectedness of all people; through our heartbeat, breath and mind stems from same iron present from the origins of the universe. In addition, Chi further states that one of the greatest challenges for mankind exists where our self empowerment meets technology.
“…Technology is always yielded at where the collective consciousness is at, the consciousness we’re now at is getting more and more magnified. We need to advance consciousness as fast as we advance technology.”
So how do we increase our consciousness?
The Wilber-Combs Lattice created by psychologist Ken Wilber and theorist Allan Combs explains how people can become more self-empowered through moving along different states (awake, asleep, present etc…) and stages (ego-centric, ethnocentric, world centric) of consciousness. While people can move between states, we generally move up stages.
Wilber’s views simply state that growth of the human self is not by focusing on “me” or my people (ethnocentric) but moving towards a unified state “we” (or sense of belongingness) and a world view; which cares for all.
3. From Today and Beyond: The Human Colossus 👥
A mammoth post by Tim Urban explores the evolution of human communication from our ancestors all the way to advanced AI with Elon Musk’s Neuralink. With great detail, Urban states that through language, humans became empowered through mass communication and thus started to form a single organism – the human colossus.
The collective consciousness of everyone is individually empowered by people who form a team. Thus any effort made towards improving yourself has flow on effects. This is where Maslow’s transcendence came from; fulfilling one’s potential is self-actualisation, but what you can do for someone else has a rippling effect.
With the evolution of philosophy, science and spirituality, self-empowerment has always been more than about improving just one person. Perhaps we need to rethink our definition of self-empowerment as truly about being the best versions of ourselves for the collective benefit of all. As Neale Donald Walsh said, “Your life is not about you. Your life is about the lives of everyone you touch. And the sooner you realise this, the better of you will be”.
Little Critters that Hold You Back 🐛
Understanding that the heart of self empowerment is about improving oneself for the benefit of all seems pretty noble and grandiose. What holds us back?
- The Need for Validation: Seeking reward that boosts our ego. Whether praise, monetary, status or emotional, deciding whether to work on humanity positive or humanity negative ideas, projects and organisations.
- Short term vs Long Term Thinking: Kevin Kelly’s ‘long now’ concept explores creating value with a generational view. What are the real impacts of doing X today on tomorrow?
- Mistaking Pleasure for Happiness: Dr Robert Lustig discusses 7 core differences between pleasure and happiness resulting in an era of depression and disease. Pleasure is driven by dopamine, is short term and achieved individually, whereas happiness is created by serotonin, is long term, and collectively achieved.
- Selfishness: Forgetting that scientifically and consciously everything is interrelated.
- Fear: Fear of the unknown and of failing, therefore keeping ourselves in a comfortable place. Comfort can yield satisfaction, but never fulfilment.
Awareness of self empowerment inhibitors is the first step to managing the why to our what (recall the two levers). Focusing on “we” takes into account that we as a human species have evolved from basic hunter gatherers to complex beings whose intelligence and abilities continues to reach new heights. Thus to ensure continued success remember:
Self empowerment is not just about you the individual, but the growth and enhancement of everyone as a whole; the collective growth of all interdependent beings.