Psychology & Self-Actualization

The Hero Archetype: Friend or Foe?

by Scott Jeffrey

The Hero begins the journey in the ordinary world.

In truth, he isn’t a hero just yet. First, he must enter a special world that challenges everything he is and believes himself to be through trials, tribulations, and initiations.

The hero often refuses his call to adventure and fails many times along the way. Then, the hero can return home with some of great value, not necessarily materially, but spiritually.

What is this hero archetype? Why is it so popular? What is its purpose? And does it really serve us?

Let’s take a deeper look …

What is the Hero Archetype?

I published a comprehensive list of archetypes here. Out of over 325 archetypes, there’s no question which one is the most pervasive and well-known: the Hero archetype.

The Hero archetype was popularized through the work of Joseph Campbell. In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell takes the reader on an epic journey, illuminating the stages of psychological development through the myths and legends of cultures from around the world.

The Hero archetype represents the process of overcoming obstacles to achieve specific goals. In myths, the hero’s objective is often to find a treasure like a golden egg, save a princess, and return with the elixir of life.

All of these are metaphors for a psychological journey to return to one’s true feelings and unique potential—what Carl Jung called the process of individuation.

Jung wrote in Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious:

“The hero’s main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness: it is the long-hoped-for and expected triumph of consciousness over the unconscious.”

Our media celebrates the hero archetype. Every superhero film (Avengers, Justice League), epic adventure (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Toy Story, Cars), and drama centers about the Hero archetype.

The Hero Archetype is Not What We Think

Interestingly, as popular as the Hero archetype is in popular culture, it’s also misunderstood.

Being a Hero is considered noble—a sign of masculinity (“real man”). A heroic life is a life well-lived.

Yet, the Hero archetype actually represents an advanced form of child (boy) psychology. That is, while it does represent the peak of the adolescent stage of development, the Hero archetype is still immature.

So what happens when a culture praises the Hero archetype? It ensures that men cannot reach full maturity.

hero archetype

The Shadows of the Hero Archetype

While we tend to glorify the Hero, it’s revealing to examine its shadow. The shadow represents the hidden motives and behavioral patterns that tend to lie outside of our awareness.

In King Warrior Magician Lover, Moore and Gillette highlight the shadow aspects of the Hero archetype: the Grandstander Bully and the Coward.

The Grandstander Bully

The Grandstander Bully’s drive is to impress those around him, proclaiming his superiority and his right to dominate others. He believes that “center stage” is his birthright.

Beneath the Bully’s inflation, however, lies cowardice and deeper insecurity.

The Coward

The Coward has a difficult time standing up for himself in physical, emotional, and intellectual confrontations. Under pressure, the boy (or man) possessed by the coward caves in, allowing others to walk all over him.

The Grandstander Bully and the Coward go hand-in-hand. And it is the drives of these shadow Hero archetypes that influence a great deal of human behavior.

The Downfall of the Hero Archetype

Our heroic consciousness is designed to hit a barrier. What is the Hero archetypes great limit?

From Moore and Gillette:

“The Hero’s downfall is that he doesn’t know and is unable to acknowledge his own limitations. A boy or a man under the power of the Shadow Hero cannot really realize that he is a mortal being.

“Denial of death—the ultimate limitation on human life—is his specialty … When we do not face our true limitations, we are inflated, and sooner or later our inflation will be called to account.”

The Hero archetype suffers from an inflation and so prohibits the man from consolidating the quiet, internal power of his true masculinity.

The Purpose of the Hero Archetype

The Hero archetype, however, is in our psyche for a reason.

It plays an important role: to mobilize the boy’s energy, will, and power to break from the Mother at the end of boyhood so he can face the tasks of life.

In many hero myths, the knight enters a cave to fight a dragon. This dragon is a symbol of the Mother archetype that the Hero must overcome to return to his village as a man.

The purpose of the Hero archetype is to push the boy to his limits, to challenge him to dream, to call upon the courage to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. With the Hero, the boy (or man) can fight large foes, and potentially defeat them.

If there’s something you really want to do, but avoid embracing the adventure, the courage of the Hero archetype can serve you.

Celebrating Heroes

Although we like to watch heroes in films and TV shows, in real life, we don’t celebrate heroes. Instead, we tend to envy them.  Like crabs in a bucket, when someone starts to shine, we attempt to pull them back down.

A lot of times we envy in secrecy—acting celebratory for others but feeling quite the opposite.

Again from Moore and Gillette:

“We need a great rebirth of the heroic in our world. Every sector of human society, wherever that may be on the planet, seems to be slipping into an unconscious chaos.

“Only the heroic consciousness, exerting all its might, will be able to stop this slide toward oblivion. Only a massive rebirth of courage in both men and women will rescue the world. Against enormous odds, the Hero picks up his sword and charges into the heart of the abyss, into the mouth of the dragon, into the castle under the power of an evil spell.”

So the Hero archetype has an important role to play for us both individually and collectively.

The Death of the Hero Archetype

But then, we must let the Hero archetype die.

For those of you who read Carl Jung, in his Red Book, he killed his Hero in his active imagination. Why?

One last time from Moore and Gillette:

“The ‘death’ of the Hero in the life of a boy (or a man) really means that he has finally encountered his limitations. He has met the enemy, and the enemy is himself. He has met his own dark side, his very unheroic side.”

With the death of Hero archetype comes the emergence of true humility. And this humility only comes when we learn our limitations.

The Hero Archetype in Business

The Hero archetype is celebrated in the egocentric, celebrity CEO. I won’t name names here. But they are the high-flyers, building fast companies, driving fast cars, and living the fast life.

The media hails them. And many of us envy them. But then we look to Jim Collin’s research. In Good to Great, Collins introduced the concept of Level 5 Leaders.

Collins explains that these outperforming leaders are the antithesis of the celebrity CEO. Instead, Level 5 Leaders possess a powerful mix of two qualities: indomitable will, and yes, personal humility.

Read More

How to Use the Hero’s Journey to Map Out Developmental Path

Decoding Maslow’s Human Needs for Psychological Development

The Ultimate List of Archetypes (Over 325 of them)


The Ultimate List of Archetypes (Over 325)

by Scott Jeffrey

Archetypes are everywhere.

They are guiding, inspiring, possessing, ruling, and living through us each day.

Archetypes influence 99% of human behavior.

It’s not a question of whether archetypes are influencing your behavior; it’s a matter of degrees.

To the extent you’re aware of the archetypes operating within you is an indicator of your level of consciousness. With greater self-awareness, you’re able to navigate the emotional landscape of archetypes skillfully.

To complement my guide to archetypes, here we’ll explore a comprehensive list of archetypes so you can get to know your psyche.

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The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom

by Scott Jeffrey

Like street vendors in New York City pitching fake Prada handbags in Time Square, credit card companies set up tables along South University Avenue in Ann Arbor.

Every September, the University of Michigan allowed these financial vendors to promote their brand of credit cards to students.

The cards were free. All you had to do was fill out an application, which they conveniently handed you on a clipboard. And in exchange, they gave you a cash-credit bonus for signing up—maybe $50 or $100, and some freebie, sometimes a pen or a frisbee. Now, what financially strapped college freshman is going to say no to 50 bucks and a frisbee?

I had three credit cards by my sophomore year. I launched my first business a year after graduating in 1997. And when that company failed to take off, I started another one a year later. Things were going well until funding dried up when the Internet bubble popped in 2000.

In the end, I racked up $45k in credit card debt by the age of 24. Feeling lost, angry, and confused, I resolved to eliminate that debt within a year. And I swore to myself that I would learn how to manage my finances and never be in that position again.

I’m going to share strategies and insights for achieving financial freedom.

First, let’s explore the psychology of money.

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7 Powerful Meditation Biohacking Tools to Help You Train Your Mind

by Scott Jeffrey

Let’s start with a disclaimer: This post reviews various meditation tools and products that include affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these products through these links, I receive a nominal commission. With the exception of only one product (Muse), I have purchased and used all of the products reviewed in this guide.

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If you’d like to read an excellent primer on meditation, read this guide. It covers dozens of insights I’ve learned from two decades of mind training.

One of the things I explain in this meditation guide is that meditation is a natural process. Under ideal conditions, we would all remain in a present, mindful state.

Clearly, however, we don’t live in these ideal conditions and so meditative practices can play a vital role in our ability to perform better and to relax and return to ourselves.

In addition to exploring the various forms of meditation, there are many meditation tools on the market that offer additional support for your practice. If you can augment the benefits of meditation or accelerate the process, why not do so?

Why Meditation is Essential for High Achievers

If you don’t regulate your mental, emotional, and physical state throughout the day, it negatively affects your performance.

The more calm, compassionate, and centered you are, the more productive you become. If you’re an entrepreneur, meditation practices can translate to the bottom line.

But it goes far beyond that. Research shows that meditation can help:

  • Develop self-awareness (study)
  • Elevate your mood (study)
  • Improve your immune function (study)
  • Strengthen your willpower (study)
  • Sleep better (study)
  • Reduce your stress (study)
  • Enhance your focus and attention (study)

By all markers, mind training can make you a better entrepreneur and human being.

The Best Meditation Tools

Perhaps you’ve tried meditation or you may even already have your own daily practice. Regardless, most people I’ve talked with about meditation seem to struggle with it for various reason (which I discuss here).

Through the years, I’ve invested many thousands of dollars on various technologies and courses in my exploration in mind training. If you’re looking for an edge to help you build momentum or deepen your practice, these meditation tools can help you.

The following best meditation tools are used for different reasons.

  1. Profound Meditation 3.0 by iAwake
  2. EMWave2 by Heartmath Institute
  3. Kasina Mind Media System by Mind Space
  4. Muse Headband
  5. Bose Noise-Canceling Headset

Select the ones that most speak to you. I review my favorite meditation cushion and other resources below too.

Profound Meditation 3.0 from iAwake Technologies

Are you familiar with binaural beats and isochronic tones? You basically take two different pure-tone frequencies that are close but not the same to each other, one in each ear. Combining these two frequencies creates a third tone called a binaural beat. Binaural beats can be created to a wide range of frequencies, including those of brainwave patterns associated with various states of consciousness.

The theory is that by listening to binaural beats and isochronic tones at specific brainwave patterns like alpha, theta, delta, gamma, and epsilon, you can induce various states of consciousness in a safe manner and support your meditation practice.

I’ve experimented with many of these programs on the market, but iAwake’s sound technology is unique. They go beyond traditional brainwave entrainment technology to include what they call biofield entrainment, harmonic layering, dual pulse binaural signaling, and more.

profound meditation 3.0 best meditation tools

These sound technologies are embedded into the background. You mainly hear various soundscapes (mostly rain/stream sounds). Profound Meditation 3.0 is a multi-disc set with a 3-tier system. You listen to the sounds in blocks of 20 minutes. With a high-quality headset, the sounds play in the background as you meditate.

This is a comprehensive meditation program that can produce psychoactive experiences. The accompanying manual explains everything you need to know to get started. The Releasing tracks are great for unwinding at the end of the day.

In my opinion, this is one of the best meditation tools you can use to start experiencing results. If you want to give this a test drive, you can access a free 20-minute track from this program here (along with other free tracks).

Purchase Profound Meditation 3.0 from iAwake

Cost: $227 – Use code CEOSAGE25 to receive a 25% discount on the program.

emWave2 by The Heartmath Institute

Heartmath Institute studies the science of the human heart. They pioneered a means of measuring what’s called personal coherence, the synchronization of physical, mental, and emotional systems. Personal coherence is calculated by a combination of heart rate variability, pulse transit time, and respiratory patterns.

emwave2 meditation tool

The EMWave2 measures these variables with a sensor clipped onto your ear or with the thumb sensor on the device. You can use it as a portable tool, but you’ll get the most benefit by hooking it up to your computer and using it in conjunction with the accompanying software. If you would prefer to use it with your mobile device, check out Inner Balance.

Using HeartMath’s Quick Coherence Technique with the emWave2 attached sensor, the device measures your coherence as you attempt to steady your breath while holding a positive emotion directed at your heart. As your ability to maintain coherence improves, you can increase the level of difficulty. Ten minutes a day is sufficient to increase your coherence score.

Buy from Heartmath Institute

Cost: $199 

Kasina by Mindplace

Using Kasina is like having a laser light show for your eyes only. It’s perhaps the closest you can get to a psychedelic experience without taking a mind-altering substance.

While studies on brainwave entrainment are intriguing, research indicates that light may influence the brain more than sound waves. At least in relation to specific physical symptoms, research by Dave Siever suggests that light frequencies have a greater impact on the brain than soundwave technology.

Regardless, there’s no reason to choose one over the other. The Kasina Mind Media System combines both modalities. You wear a headset and special glasses with embedded LED lights. The device comes with six categories that target different experiences: Accerlate, Meditate, Mind Art, Rejuvenate, Night Voyage, and Trance. After you select the program category and your desired track (descriptions of each are included in the manual), you simply lie back and enjoy the show.

If you have a lot of resistance to meditation or have trouble quieting your mind, give Kasina a try. It’s one of the best meditation tools few people seem to know about. And if you’re a techie, the application is highly customizable so you can build your own tracks.

Get Details on Amazon |  Buy from Mindpace

Cost: $349

Muse Headband

The Muse Headband is perhaps the most popular meditation tool among biohackers. The Muse Headband helps train your brain for mindfulness by giving you sound cues of the electrical activity (EEG) of your brain while you meditate. You wear the Muse around your forehead from ear to ear. Via Bluetooth, the Muse sends the signal to the Muse app on your smartphone. The app gives you real-time feedback (via various soundscapes) through your headphones. The more you quiet your mind, the calmer the soundscape becomes.

With this form of biofeedback, you’ll be able to track your progress with mindfulness training. Practicing with the Muse headband, in a short time, you’ll notice greater awareness. That is, you’ll become more conscious of when your mind begins to wander, enabling you to bring yourself back to the present moment.

I personally try to avoid Bluetooth and wireless technology whenever I can due to sensitivities with electromagnetic frequencies. But many people use Muse and if you’re not concerned about EMF, this product is worth testing out.

Buy on Amazon

Cost: $249

QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Headphones by Bose

Meditation is challenging for two reasons: external distractions and internal chatter. While Profound Meditation 3.0 and Kasina help reduces internal chatter, this product helps reduce external distractions.

bose headset meditation tool

Wearing this Bose noise-canceling headset is like lowering the volume on the world around you. If you listen to any binaural beats, isochronic tones, or meditation music, this headset will definitely enhance your experience. I also use this product whenever I really need to focus on a project. They’re also great for air travel as they block out most of the plane engine’s rumble.

While you can find less expensive noise-canceling headsets on the market, none of them are as effective as this one. They simply work. I keep one near my desk at all times.

Buy on Amazon

Cost: $227 | $349

Buckwheat Meditation Cushion by Seat of the Soul

One of the reasons I mentioned that many people have trouble meditating is because of poor physical ailment. I recommend sitting at the edge of a hard chair when you’re first getting started. But if you prefer to sit on the ground (which has numerous other benefits), then using what’s traditionally called a zafu can help.

best meditation tool zafu cushion

To maintain proper structure alignment, you want only your coccyx region elevated. This crescent-moon-shaped, buckwheat filled cushion with an organic cotton cover is ideal.

Buy on Amazon

Cost: $35

Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series

If you’re looking for guided meditation instruction, consider the Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series 1 by psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn.

guided mindfulness meditation tool

This program contains four 40-minute guided mindfulness meditations Kabat-Zinn used in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. There is a large body of research to support the efficacy of this program for reducing stress, improving health, and developing the brain.

Buy on Amazon

Cost: $20

Read Next

The Definitive “Underground” Meditation Guide: Secrets to Effective Mind Training

A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating Self-Awareness: A Foundational Skill for Emotional Intelligence

How to Use Nootropics to Access Your Brain’s Potential While You Work


How to Access Your Imagination to Produce Creative Work, Solve Problems and Liberate Yourself

by Scott Jeffrey

Albert Einstein said in a 1929 interview:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

It has become a famous quote, but do you think he was correct?

Einstein was voicing the value he placed on the imagination concerning scientific research, an area traditionally (and currently) dominated by pure rationalism.

How about in business and your professional work? Do you value imagination more than (or as much as) what you know?

It’s unlikely. We favor knowledge over imagination, reason over intuition. You can call it a cultural bias.

But it’s only from imagination that we create the novel, the unforeseen, the unexpected, and often, the better.

Today, let’s dive into the realm of our imagination.

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Decoding Maslow’s Human Needs to Understand Your Behavior and Psychological Development

by Scott Jeffrey

What motivates you? What drives you to get out of bed and do what you do each day?

If you’re working on a big creative project, why are you doing it?

If you exercise, what are the reasons you tell yourself? To stay fit? To look good?

If you’re an entrepreneur, why are you investing so much time building your business?

Yes, money is one answer, but unless you don’t have enough food to eat and a roof over your head, it’s not the main one.

In today’s guide, we’ll explore some of the profound insights from master psychologist Abraham Maslow. Our goal is to understand the hidden drivers behind our behavior. This knowledge is instructive and insightful for personal development. (And if you’re an entrepreneur, it can help you better understand, attract, and serve your customers too.)

Let’s dive in…

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How to Use the Hero’s Journey for Storytelling and Personal Transformation

by Scott Jeffrey

Treasure, love, reward, approval, honor, status, freedom, survival … these are some of the many things we associate with the hero’s journey.

We don’t find the meaning of the hero’s journey in slaying the dragon or saving the princess—these are colorful metaphors and symbols for a more significant purpose.

Battling inner and outer demons, confronting bullies, and courting your ultimate mate symbolize a passage through the often-treacherous tunnel of self-discovery and individuation to mature adulthood.

At the end of each journey (if there is such an end), you’re different—sometimes visually, but always internally.

Today, let’s explore the meaning of the hero’s journey and see how it applies to psychological development and our ability to actualize more of our potential.

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The Definitive “Underground” Meditation Guide: Secrets to Effective Mind Training

by Scott Jeffrey

Overview: This in-depth guide provides meditation guidance, meditation instructions, and loads of “underground” tips based on over two decades of research and experience in mind training.

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I was suffering from acute anxiety before and during exams in my sophomore year at the University of Michigan.

As a consequence, I was getting sick often and freezing during exams, lowering my performance.

My uncle shared with me a simple meditation practice he learned from a course. Using this method made a measurable difference in my health, performance, and well being.

And so, from then on, I began exploring and experimenting with different meditative practices and breathing techniques.

Perhaps you’ve never meditated before. Or, you’ve been meditating for years.

Maybe you dabble in meditation, or you tried it out and decided it wasn’t for you.

Regardless of your relationship to meditation (or lack thereof), I’m confident you’ll find tremendous value in today’s new guide.

In this comprehensive and unusual meditation instruction guide, I’m going to offer what I’ve learned from over 25 years of mind training.

Topics include:

  • The unconscious reasons most people resist meditation guidance
  • How to meditate even when you don’t want to
  • Powerful meditation instructions to make mind training more effective
  • Understanding the vital intersection between psychology and meditation

Let’s jump in …

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