01 Modern Mindset principle: Individuation
Photo: Brooklyn, New
York City, USA, 2020
Everything revolves around our own lives. Our desires, problems and goals are all contained within our own little bubble. Everyone’s bubble is a well-guarded possession, a small universe in itself, expanding in a distinctive way. That is precisely why some bubbles float higher, faster and lighter than others. And it’s these particular bubbles that we often admire and seek to replicate — by attempting to recreate their specific qualities, properties or paths. But is it even worthwhile following their particular trajectories?
We are all at the same starting point when we are born. From that moment onward, literally everything starts shaping who we are. It’s called individuation — the process through which we achieve a sense of individuality separate from the identities of others. We learn to stand alone. We become a single-member entity. We know what we like and dislike, what our dreams are made of, and what our everyday routine entails. We know what burdens we carry, what regrets we have, and what thoughts regularly race through our minds. We also know what we don’t like about ourselves and what we would like to improve upon.
As groups and as individuals, we are naturally wired to pursue something “better” as our decisions always seem to seek some good. This internal need to improve, or at least aspire to something better, is evident from the success of numerous step-by-step guides, self-help books and stories of grand achievements. It’s this insatiable hunger for the betterment of every aspect of human life that demonstrates that — in whatever circumstance — we will always want more. We will always gravitate towards a better life. We will always want to be more.
But how do we determine what is good? What is a good life? And what makes a good individual? As wonderfully complex as individuation makes every one of us, the baseline remains amazingly simple — there is never one universal answer. There is no one size fits all solution, a single inspirational speech that would resonate with every single human being, nor a perfect template to live by. Yet, we tend to measure our lives, well-being and success with countless metrics that are based on comparisons of the masses.
We look at these metrics to see how we conform to normalcy, to compare our lives — our bubbles — to others. As a society and as individuals, we have become too reliant on these metrics. We center our lives and identities around them. While we happily do so, we also can’t help but question why we don’t always feel fulfilled in life or optimistic about our future and why we are yet to find happiness.
Asking these questions is a clear indication that our bubble has floated too far from us and our own core; and that we perhaps have become too accustomed to aligning it next to others instead of within ourselves. Therefore whenever we question our life, we are likely to find our bubble on some kind of detour. It can be deflating to arrive at a realization that our bubble has lost track or gravitated elsewhere. It is certainly easier to let it drift even further than to adjust its course by revisiting and redefining parts of our individuation to guide it back on track. So how do we know what direction, if any, we should take? Can we avoid even more detours? How do we know for sure what will make our bubble rise again?
Once we look beyond the metrics, the masses and their standard practices, we arrive at a space of solitary latitude — a realm of oneness in which any bubble can intentionally focus on itself. A space in which every bubble becomes aware of what it truly needs. This introspective environment facilitates the bubble’s experiments and innovations with means and methods in shaping itself as it sees fit. It’s a process that also projects its core values, reveals its optimal conditions, and exposes its unique qualities. Only in a setting like this does each bubble gain (and can also regain) real momentum and reaches its true destination — a space amongst those bubbles that happen to fly higher, faster, and lighter.
So, let’s focus on the incredible power of the individual mind and the mindset. A mind and mindset that can comfortably float through the land of context, awareness, society, perspective, information, curiosity, plasticity, individuation, emotion, accountability and self-realization. Why? Because it’s this powerful mindset that enables each bubble to reach a space of clarity, fulfillment, contentment and ultimately happiness.