If you’re like me, you’ve heard the words, “Don’t be a fool” over and over throughout your life. I’m going to say something different now. “Be a fool!” Yes! An archetypal Fool. Another name for the Hero’s Journey is the Fool’s Journey. Why? Because you don’t end up the hero, but the Fool. Being a Fool is what allows you to start over in the Wheel of Life with the eyes of a child. This assures that you don’t carry your baggage into the new cycle or stay stuck.
The Fool Archetype
Here’s a snapshot of the archetypal Fool.
Super Power: enjoyment, fun, freedom, humor, living in the moment, joy, pleasure, liberation
Motivation: feeling aliveness
Challenge: trust in the process; enjoy the journey for its own sake;
Shadow: becoming a trickster, foolishness, sloth, gluttony, overly indulgence, irresponsibility, being undisciplined, being a con artist, debauchery, making cruel jokes, loss of dignity or self control
Growth points: living for the fun of it; using cleverness to get over on others; experiencing life as it is in the moment
Most of us associate the Fool with the shadow side. This part is the joker who preys upon others, is impulsive, thinks only of pleasure and sloth. All archetypes have high sides and low sides. The high side is the willingness to be where you are. If you’re feeling sad, be sad. If you’re on a natural high, don’t talk yourself out of it. Sometimes your tears lead you to laughter. Sometimes your laughter leads you to your tears. Either way, the Fool is okay with being there. He’s uncensored. This is the magic that brings aliveness to life and let’s the Wheel of Life keep on moving.
When you’re in your Fool energy, you don’t need to know. You’re not in your head. You’re deeply embodied in life. Remember the moment in the Emperor’s New Clothes when the child points out that the king is naked? This is the Fool at work. Everybody “knows” that the king is wise. When the king trusts the weaver who says his clothes are so fine that only those who are not hopelessly stupid can see them, and the child points out that he’s naked, that’s the Fool’s handiwork. His wisdom is his innocence and willingness to just be.
How to Channel Your Inner Fool
Here are some tips to let this energy flow.
- When life gets you down, get back up. The Fool is resilient and bounces back with a smile.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. The joker makes others laugh, but is also often the butt of his own joke. Not taking yourself so seriously keeps your ego in check.
- Get creative. The Fool is very childlike, full of ideas, and not afraid to try them out.
- Do something for the experience of it. We’re a really goal oriented culture. We seldom do anything without keeping score. If we’re not a complete success in 90 days or less, we deem it a failure. The Fool let’s go of outcome. This makes it fun.
- Point out the elephant in the room. Just like in the Emperor’s New Clothes, the Fool can be a change agent because he’s willing to say the hard things. It leads to breakthroughs. Just do it.
- Be enthusiastic no matter what. The jester or clown goes for it. If he’s sobbing, he’s doing it with his whole heart. The same applies when he’s yukking it up. So live with your whole heart.
- Be right here. Do you ever see a clown worry? Of course not! Worry is thinking about the future and the Fool lives right now. If there is a problem right now, it’s not time to worry. It’s time to problem solve, talk it out, ask for help, or get to work. So the Fool is Effective.
- Be courageous. The Fool may not know all there is to know, but he doesn’t let that stop him from jumping in puddles or scaling tall buildings in a single bound. He just goes for it. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So take a shot.
The Fool is both the end of the journey and the beginning of a new one because we need this “I don’t care” energy to see what’s new. When you live like you have nothing to lose, you’re in the best position to gain the things that are the most worthwhile.