Bill George, Harvard Business School Professor and author of “Finding Your True North – A Personal Guide” and his movement to help leaders find their true north has proven itself useful, but the term and concept has been plundered and pillaged by a number of celebrity gurus within the Psychopop industry. It has been manipulated to the point where many now equate finding their true north with a naïve pursuit of personal happiness. This may or may not have been what Bill George and his publisher and promoter intended. Nevertheless, at this point in history, when the world is still in survival mode as it tries to recover from financial devastation, that pursuit is not seen as a legitimate one.
According to the psychologist Abraham Maslow, his hierarchy of five human needs suggests that the first group of needs to be met are physiological, that is, there is an emphasis on basic survival and the need to have enough air, food, water and sleep. The second group of needs to be met are those that concern security of work where stable employment offers adequate financial security, and a safe environment to live in. The third group of needs is social. When the first two needs are met, then love, affection and belonging become more important to the individual. The fourth group of needs centres on esteem gained from a sense of self-worth, acknowledgment and personal and social achievements. Again, once the previous three needs are met, then esteem is important to the individual. The final and highest of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has an emphasis on self-actualisation. Self-awareness, personal growth finding your life purpose – or in Psychopop terminology, finding your true north – and reaching your potential is important to those who have reached the top of the hierarchy. This hierarchy of needs indicates that a stable foundation is required if you are to build a healthy and happy life.
It is safe to say that until a person can make their way to the top of this list of needs, and can see the value in self-actualisation, then they are less likely to be interested in finding the type of true north that is currently peddled by the Psychopop industry and its gurus.
If you need more proof that self-actualisation and its off-shoots are of no interest to many people, then ask those who can’t pay their mortgage and must supplement their diet via the many soup kitchens cropping up in every westernised city. Many consider the business of finding your true north incredibly self-indulgent at this point in time. As a consequence, the entire Psychopop industry is under suspicion as it is accused of being awash with charlatans and fraudsters out to get as much money as they can from vulnerable, unhappy people, and especially so that those who are living their true north lifestyles can continue to do so. Within the context of the Psychopop industry and its definition of true north, you can forget about trying to find it.
Finding your true north is passé. In this bleak, financial winter in history, it’s time to turn your view of life upside down and head south to find Your Own Middle Way. The land of Your Own Middle Way is not too hot, and it’s not too cold.
It’s not too much, and it’s not too little.
It’s not too flimsy, and it’s not too rigid.
It’s not too high, and it’s not too low.
It’s not deficient, and it’s not excessive.
It’s not overcompensating, and it’s not under compensating.
Even the concept of ‘Enough’ is not too easy and not too hard to understand. It’s enough, and so it’s just right for you. One of the best things about finding Your Own Middle Way is this: Not only is there always enough for you, but it means that when you take Your Own Middle Way, then you give others a better chance to have enough too. Everyone thrives when they have enough. Your Own Middle Way is always enough for you and everyone concerned.
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