The pace of your life can seem overwhelming and out of control at times. Competitive pressure at work, growing demands from your family and external events seem to eat away at your peace of mind and ability to be fully productive.
Yet, deep within yourself lies an ancient part that yearns to reconnect with you and give you order out of chaos.
Famous Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung explained that there are psychological archetypes that are common among all humanity. Archetypes are psychological patterns that act as a framework for behavior in a given area of your life.
The King archetype is a framework for leadership roles and acting in the pursuit of a higher calling.
Living the Right Virtues
The King represents an idealized version of the person you want to ultimately become. Every person has a unique ideal self, comprised of the traits, character, and virtues that they aspire to develop.
Children often play games while trying to display acts of courage, fearlessness, creativity, and intelligence, which are the early signs of these ideal virtues. And if this is done consistently, it will become hard-wired as part of their personality.
Throughout history, the King archetype follows the mythos that if the King embodies the right virtues — justice, for example, he will flourish and so will his kingdom. This means that the King must think, feel, and act in alignment with these virtues.
And just like the King archetype and the way kids play games, in your own life, there must be categorical imperatives or maxims (ex. Don’t lie, don’t cheat, go the extra mile, etc.) that you must truly live by to set the tone for your success.
As a leader, manager, business owner, or just as a person, you are the ruler of your given domain and you are responsible for your results, as well as nurturing those in your sphere of influence.
You lead by example with the intention of creating prosperity for those around you.
Every king has a kingdom to rule.
The mythos of the King archetype reveals that when the King embodies the right virtues, he sets the example for others around him.
At any given point in your life, you’re going to be given responsibility for the welfare of someone else, either directly or indirectly. Your family, your department, your position at your church, coaching little league baseball, mentoring a young person are all different examples of these opportunities. Your ability to live your values in those situations will set the tone and create a positive influence over others.
Your expectations for your behavior will raise the standards for the people around you even when you’re not around, which is the ultimate form of leadership.
Begin by acting honestly in all your interactions and going the extra mile in all your activities. Act as if every moment is being recorded for review to help stay consistent with your principles.
As you do, your actions will begin to provide a sense of order for others to follow.
One of the King’s responsibility is fertility, which is to create an environment of prosperity.
Begin to think about the long-term impact of your decisions instead of the short-term gratification. For your household, it means thinking more about saving and investing versus taking on consumer debt. American households carry an average of $16,061 in credit card balances, while making just the minimum payment every month, which hardly sets the stage for a compelling retirement.
Growing household debt not only makes it harder to save for a secure retirement but creates a strain on most marriages. The main cause of discord among married couples is money, a leading reason for divorce.
This creates another dilemma when considering the impact of divorce on children. When factoring in its negative impact on child development, you see another domino fall in the poverty side of the equation.
In business, failing to maintain strong relationships with your customers or catering to their needs creates an opening for a competitor. Lose enough of your best customers and business suffers.
From a prosperity standpoint, in every aspect of your life, every decision you make has an impact — positive or negative — on the long-term effect on your “kingdom.”
Begin spending time considering the long-term impact of both the decisions you make as well as the decisions you fail to make.
The King is responsible for bestowing blessings on his followers.
This is symbolic, and is done by affirming the positive virtues and actions of others around you. By giving recognition, rewards, and praise, you bring awareness to the very virtues you wish to nurture.
Many marriages have broken up due to a partner not feeling appreciated, and many first-class workers have quit good jobs because they didn’t feel valued or recognized.
Managers recognize and reward ideal employees for displaying excellent customer service, generals award medals to soldiers for bravery, and parents praise their children for displaying good behavior.
These are all acts of gratitude and awareness of a job well done. Plus, they set higher standards for your domain while motivating everyone else to follow suit.
The King archetype is a strong framework to regain a sense of control over your life by answering a higher calling in the service of others.
Having authority over others is not being a tyrant yelling commands and making threats. That just reveals a weak character that will never lead quality people and will likely sow the seeds of their own failure.
But using this framework to idealize the person you want to be based on your principles and making sure you are of service to those within your sphere of influence can help you and others prosper.
This sets the stage for your success but, more importantly, a life well lived.