The stealing of Nietzsche’s concept Ubermench (the overman, the superman) by the Nazi’s is one history’s great philosophical tragedies. The concept itself is more positive than most people realize. Nietzsche had a vision of a person who had achieved a superior version of himself, a person who has organized the chaos within and created his own values.
Pushing ourselves to be better is valued far too little because of the negative view that this motivation devalues our current self. We should instead be motivated by an inspiring self image of ourselves. We are very lucky because positive psychology has created a tool for doing exactly that:
The Best Possible Self Exercise
The BPS has three stages:
- Set a timer for ten minutes
- For ten minutes write down what your best possible self could be. Ignore grammar and punctuation and brainstorm to your heart’s content.
- After the ten minutes are up reflect on what you wrote down means. Ask yourself some questions like:
- What of part of what I wrote down do I like best?
- Can I achieve this?
- How does this make me feel?
- Does it motivate or inspire me?
With this tool everyone wins because on a personal level overtime we begin see our personal ubermench as achievable and are motivated to push ourselves towards it everyday. Personally I have added small personal vision’s of my own superior self at the end of my gratitude journal. On an ethical level we also begin to see this in others and are our kindness and compassion is additionally motivated by knowing that other person is also working everyday toward a better version of themselves and we would never want to stand in their way of doing that.