There are two … personality … trends I find in myself. They aren’t separate personalities, they’re trends…
One, an Old Wise Man, and the other, a Little Boy. These are feelings or impressions that I get on myself, regarding myself.
It’s a little strange, I admit.
I feel like the Little Boy when I am wrong or challenged. He gets his feelings hurt, pouts and often says things like: You don’t love me!
I’m leaving, you wouldn’t notice anyway!
Why don’t you care about my feelings!
Who do you think you are! Let’s just be happy, okay?
The Little Boy is breaking things. He’s huffing and puffing, stomping and yelling. The “boy” is angry that he can’t always be the center of attention. Upset that other people’s lives aren’t revolving around his. (well … mine.)
In comparison, the Old Wise Man tendency helps in guiding others in my proximity along their road to self-discovery. Imbuing some wisdom that I have found viable along the way. I immediately jump to the big picture. Down the road, everyone will get where they’re going, no matter the bumps they hit today…type of attitude. Always, philosophical and non-emotional.
In these cases, I may share experiences or ask questions to lead them to their answer. Sometimes, I feel like I must have seen it all. I must’ve dealt with every possible situation, scenario or catastrophe. Consequently, I often act as counsel, trending towards the Old Wise Man.
In these cases, it is often necessary to be the one counseling others. I know better than they do how to proceed with their life.
I know, I read that, too.
Carl Gustav Jung, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, named four archetypes. He referred to them as the persona, the animus/anima, the shadow and the self. In addition, Jung believed that archetypes were images and themes that held universal human meaning across cultures4.
- Persona – Who we project to the world that we are
- Animus/Anima – Opposite of biological sex. IE a woman’s masculine side.
- Shadow – Source of creative and destructive energies
- Self – Provides a sense of unity
Archetypes are illustrated in dreams, art, religion and literature4. From these, were derived brand archetypes. Twelve in all, brand archetypes have been adopted by companies as a marketing concept to exude a certain “character” for its customers to related to.
- The Innocent – Exhibits happiness, goodness, optimism, safety, romance, and youth
- The Everyman – Seeks connections; is recognized as supportive, faithful and down-to-earth
- The Hero – On a mission to make the world a better place, courageous, bold, inspirational.
- The Rebel – Questions authority, breaks, rules; craves rebellion and revolution.
- The Explorer – Finds inspiration in travel, risk, discovery, and the thrill of new experiences.
- The Creator – Imaginative, inventive; driven to build things of enduring meaning and value
- The Ruler – Creates order from the chaos, controlling and stern, yet responsible, organized
- The Magician – Wishes to create something special, make dreams reality; visionary, spiritual
- The Lover – Creates intimate moments, inspires love, passion, romance and commitment
- The Caregiver – Protects and cares for others, is compassionate, nurturing and generous
- The Jester – Brings joy to the world, humor, fun, irreverence; makes mischief
- The Sage – Helps the world gain deeper insight and wisdom, thoughtful mentor or advisor7.
The Innocent is the Little Boy. Their greatest fear is doing something wrong8. This is exactly what drives me to the Little Boy tendency.
Throughout my life, in several settings, I have been in the role of leader. The main reason for this is simply default. I was the oldest of six boys. Similarly, I led a rock band as a singer for many years. Now, I run a business.
I’ve been a mentor and advisor. The downside, is that I haven’t learned to handle being wrong, taking feedback or pushback. In these situations, it makes me feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I may feel I’m wrong, my worst fear! I shrink and feel like a Little Boy who needs his mother.
At an interview last year, after several questions, the interviewer became concerned that I “…wasn’t creating the kind of culture [at work] in which my team could give me feedback.”
This comment shook me at the foundation. Suddenly aware, I saw that I was simply being unapproachable. Although I believed I was being ruthless, I was leading in fear.
I hope they don’t ask me a question me!
I’m going to have to make an example out of someone!
Why can’t anyone be on my side?
The key idea is that the Little Boy lives in fear. Nothing good comes from fear. I’ve made mistakes. Hired the wrong people. Didn’t count on some people enough. Let others get away with murder. Had no idea how to relate my experience in my marriage. a
The Little Boy hides.
For example, the Little Boy would rather let everyone go along happily instead of own up to a mistake. Certainly, he isn’t going to actively do anything to make anyone aware of anything negative. The Little Boy (the innocent) can be oblivious to the bad things going on around him/her. Above all, this is due to the fact that they believe in happy endings12.
The Old Wise Man is The Sage. The Old Wise Man is often known for his philosophies, wisdom and sound judgement. A kind and wise older-father type. He may appear absent-minded. I embody these traits. Often, The Sage may appear foreign or alien from those he advises. Most often, this is due to the Old Wise Man seeking to differentiate his/herself10.
After all, my friend Nick told me when I was twenty-two that I should write a book called The Art of Living. I was out to give people advice.
Denial of feelings is part of the “shadow” (destructive energy) of The Sage. The anxiety of running away from the shadow, can cause the perception of life as a series of uncontrollable events. It can feel helpless10. The result may be that the Old Wise Man becomes pompous and self-important11.
A Close Third…
Not related to the topic at all, there are other brand archetypes I can identify with, but this is definitely up there with The Innocent and The Sage.
This is the shit you’re reading.
Creator’s want to create meaningful and beautiful things through the creative process. They mainly express themselves through their chosen creative medium. At times, the Creator may be obsessive and perfectionisic13.
For example, I’ve been in my office all day writing this thing, getting it just right.
The Old Wise Man and the Little Boy seem to be at two opposite ends of the spectrum.
Yet, there is some connective tissue. The optimistic Little Boy hopes for the best. He tries to hide all the “badness”. The Old Wise Man has many of the answers. However, when the Wise Man gets shaken, he has to retreat to do the math on his/her positions of wisdom. Thus, the Little Boy is thrown into the heat of the moment. He feels small, vulnerable and just wants all the “bad stuff” to be over with.
The reality of the transition from the Old Wise Man to the Little Boy, is jarring. In one moment, you are endowed with all the answers. In the next, you find out you’ve made a mistake in your calculation, just when they were counting on you most. (That’s how it feels, anyhow).
Consequently, the thought train dives down the rabbit hole. Furthering its quest, searching for the necessary information to ease the anxiety. Nonetheless, a state of insecurity.
The Little Boy shows up, always co-dependently hoping things will work out. The Old Wise Man will return with the answers. The Little Boy just knows it.
Mr. Spock and Dorothy Gale…in one…
In sum, most of the time I feel like Mr. Spock. I’m attempting to be logical, fighting through the fog of human emotion to assess real value of events and happenings. My purpose is grandiose, my breadth of knowledge vast.
Consequently, when my significant other says “Mr. Spock, you slept through your alarm and didn’t wake me up?” Of course, they’re frustrated, angry at the thought of lateness and particularly at me. Because I let them down.
Somehow, I instantaneously convert to Dorothy Gale.
My dog is my best and only friend, I’m wearing a technicolored blue dress and I want to run away. Even though I was mad at my uncle, inevitably I’ll be chanting “There’s no place like home” as soon as the shit hits the fan with the wizard and the wicked witch. But, I’ll still be pretending that Somewhere over the rainbow … all of your dreams come true.
My significant other will look at me like I am crazy when I’m so hurt that I let her down. I am angry, I want to slam things around expressing how a feel in small acts of destruction. My chest tightens, I’m being attacked. There’s no hope. All of my innocence is gone, I’ve fallen out of favor in her eyes. Everything is terrible.
Where’s my blanky?
And there you have it.
Eventually, I spend enough time retracing my every step finding the root cause of my error. At this juncture, I approach my significant other and say:
“The way you spoke to me this morning cannot be tolerated any further.”
Jung’s archetypes and his analytic psychology help us create a framework of how to think about psychology, our subconscious and human nature at large. The metaphor of the archetypes is sufficient to get across a personal experience I’ve had with my sense of self and how it relates to the world.
Often, discovering the language to bare the emotional weight of our experiences difficult.
Luckily, Jung has provided an important tool: the emotion-bearing archetypes. A common metaphor to share ourselves with one another. And finally, a tool in our ever deepening self-awareness and self-discovery.
We’ve barely scratched the surface on the brand archetypes. Which BA’s are fighting in your psyche?