By Julia Luise Tiemens
We live in a society, full of grand and shining personalities. Normal individuals, that for some reasons huge chunks of the population feel drawn to, that are considered as life-changing. Personalities that manage to generate impressive benefits for our community and affect real change. At first glance, there are a lot of differences between those people in heritage, ethnicity, talent and way of thinking. Despite all of that, when digging further, it becomes visible that they all have one thing in common: a remarkably strong psyche. The only way this can be achieved is through in-depth knowledge and control of one’s own internal life. This shows that the mastery of the internal life has the potential to evoke large benefits in the external community. In order to understand those benefits we first must gain a deeper comprehension of the human psyche. How can one manage to achieve a grand knowledge of their own mentality? How can one master and control mind and behavior? To explain this, it is essential to take a glance at pre-build models and theories that thoroughly explain human psychology.
A good example is the “Johari Window model”, constructed by Ingham and Luft in 1955, following the purpose of gaining a profound understanding of ourselves inside and out. It classifies the human psyche into four categories: the open area (behavior and motivation, which is visible to everyone), the blind spot (information not accessible to ourselves), the hidden area (personal information, we are not willing to share) and the unknown (information nobody is aware of). Furthermore, the psychologists explain how the goal of life is to drive the open area as large as possible, to achieve the biggest personal growth (automatically leading to an increased positive effect we can have on others). However, this enlargement can happen through two processes: diving into vulnerability, while disclosing personal information, or constructive feedback from others. Therefore, according to them, the improvement of one’s own mind is not only an internal process but rather an exchange that relies on deep vulnerability. Connecting to the leading question the Johari Window equips us with the tools to discover and gain more knowledge of our own internal state.
Another model that I find of grand value is the “Self-determination Theory”, developed by the psychologists Edward Deci and Ryan Richard. Whereas the Johari Window focuses on information and knowledge, this theory rather explains human motivation and mastery in depth. Self-determination relates to the ability to take control, manage one’s own life and make active choices. To pursue this state of life, we have three criteria that need to be satisfied. First of all, there needs to be a certain sense of control over the own behavior (autonomy), followed by a feeling of competence (effectiveness of behavior). Lastly, connection or relatedness is essential, as it gives us access to meaningful relations and interactions with other people. However, these three needs promote an intrinsic motivation, which is the human tendency to move towards growth and to engage in certain behavior. As a result of this process, individuals will reach personal satisfaction. In contrast, stands the theory of extrinsic motivation relating to the achievement of external rewards or goals. To benefit our society and live a balanced, content life we should revolve around intrinsic motivation. Overall self-determination resembles a protagonist in many different areas of human life: it takes control of passion, commitment, interest and satisfaction. Self-motivation and personality, especially in social contexts, determine motivation and the ability to control. When attempting to master one’s internal state, the aspiration to achieve this is crucial.
“All human experience is generated from within” –Sadhguru
Sadhguru (Jagadish Vasudev) is an Indian guru and proponent of spirituality, engaging and explaining every area of life on a highly psychological level. In most of his speeches, he unites and explains the mastery and knowledge of oneself to make people understand, not only the greater good but also their own person. Sadhguru is convinced that whatever happens in life, is always caused from within the body and the more control/mastery one has, determines the nature of the experience. This means that the more mental stability and balance are achieved, the more stable the human being is to external circumstances. In this sense, he introduces a concept that says that if a human is full of life, he will naturally choose difficulty and danger. Individuals that are perfectly in balance with themselves always look for a challenge to embrace (let it be climbing a rock, an enterprise, etc.). As hurt and pain are an incredible part of life, difficulty is only a disaster if the mind is unstable. The comfort zone is a dead zone, which should be avoided at all costs. All of this comes down to one point: with the achievement of knowledge and self-control, the human begins to welcome challenges and dares to go beyond his limits. This state is what is necessary to manufacture change in this world. The more individuals engage happily in provocation, the more improvement and positive benefits we will see. Today we live in a world where humanity faces grand difficulties, which means that we need to stand as a strong and united society. A great society, however, is only a consequence of great individuals. Therefore, the focus must lay on individual development, in order of generating a powerful community.
Although over the last centuries, humans have become individualistic and selfish, deeply in our psychology we are social creatures. Therefore, community will always be a central element in human life. How can we benefit this community? Contrary to common belief, it does not take a lifetime of big sacrifices in order to achieve benefits. Individuals can generate a positive impact by contributing to change and being a leader, by volunteering, voting, supporting, or stepping up. They can give people a pleasant atmosphere, make them feel comfortable and listen. An important thing to keep in consideration is, that when it comes to making an impact, it is regardless of how big the scale is: if one person is positively influenced it is already a grand achievement. Nevertheless, a precondition for all kinds of possible impacts is our internal state. The more knowledge we possess concerning our own psyche, the more we can put this knowledge to use (e.g. in making change). The further we can master our minds, the further control we have over our reactions and effects on others. In humankind, there is no good or bad, no joyful or miserable: the way people act and feel is solely dependent on the atmosphere we transmit. This atmosphere is going to depend on your own state of mind. To conclude, we have the power to influence lives in pleasant and unpleasant ways. Even beyond that, it is only possible to engage with others in a just and positive way if one is at peace within. Therefore, I am convinced that the internal life is not only crucial to benefit the external, but even to simply live fair and effectively around others. Self-mastery is a concept that enables a person to have a satisfactory life and grasp every stage. It is a tool that gives us a chance to make a magnificent influence in society.
In conclusion, one could say that becoming familiar with the own internal state of life should be something we all aspire to do, above everything else. The knowledge and mastery of one’s mind are significant for generating communal benefits. The exploration of one’s own inside is a fundamental step in the process of becoming a finer person, which is necessary in order to truly help other people. Having said that, I believe that knowledge of one’s own mind is especially important to us, as GG students: we are being equipped with the instruments to fabricate real change in this society. In a few years, we could all be political leaders, engaged in economics or volunteering in third-world countries. We could be making impacts on a grand or tiny scale. Completely regardless of that, with what we are learning we might have a chance to make this earth a better place. If we manage to be completely at peace and fall in love with ourselves, getting to know every single piece, there is a huge chance that this will have positive effects on people’s lives. After all, even if only one single person can enjoy the benefits of our individual improvement, we have already caused an improvement in the world. If we all work continuously on understanding our inner state of mind, our planet and community are going to change drastically in the year to come. A drastic shift towards an inspiring state of life, almost a utopia.
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