The Power of Self-Governance

Would you consider yourself a highly self-governed individual? Would others see you this way? Are you functioning from the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness?

Are you clear and centered on your purposeful mission? Are you giving yourself permission to make an even more extraordinary difference in the world?

The word governance was derived from a Greek verb which meant “to steer” and was used for the first time in a metaphorical sense by the Greek philosopher, Plato. So, self-governance means one who can steer themselves, or one who is inspired to fulfill a great purpose, has great clarity of direction and strategy, is unwavering in action and is mentally and emotionally stable and centered upon their great and inspiring mission of service.

When you live congruently or in alignment with what is truly most important to you – your highest priorities or values – you set clear, concise and meaningful objectives; you execute them more precisely and consistently; your pre-frontal cortex or executive center takes command of and balances your physiology; you act efficiently, productively and wisely and you become more purposefully self-governed. But, when you set meaningless and uninspiring objectives and live according to your lower priorities or values – or someone else’s values – you become ungoverned, your primitive subcortical amygdala runs wild, you become a follower and you emotionally react inefficiently, unproductively and foolishly.

The former state of being transforms you into a master of your destiny. The latter disempowers you into a victim of your history. Your physiological world within and your sociological world without consistently offer you negative feedback responses in order to assist you in achieving ever-greater authenticity, equanimity and self-governance. You are rewarded with greater awareness, opportunities, influence and broader space and time horizons of vision when you live congruently with your highest values, and you experience the very opposite when you don’t.


When you are unable to govern yourself, you become governed by others. Any area of your life you are not empowered and governed in is an area that others will overpower and govern you in. If you do not plant flowers (high priorities) in the garden of your mind, you will forever pull weeds (low priorities). So, the less you are self-governed the more others will govern you and dictate, or become the author of, your destiny. But, the more you are self-governed the more likely you will rise and be given the opportunity to inspire and govern others. The greater your self-governance, the greater your potential for other-governance.

There are seven scales of self-other-governance. The greater your congruency, the higher the scale you may be called upon to govern.

Seven Scales Of Governance:

  • 7th World
  • 6th Nation
  • 5th State/Province
  • 4th City/County/District
  • 3rd Community
  • 2nd Family
  • 1st Self

There Are Also Seven Areas Of Self-Other-Governance:

    • Spiritual-Religious
    • Mental-Educational-Academic
    • Vocational-Corporate-Union
    • Financial-Economic
    • Familial-Dynastic
    • Social-Political-Non Governmental
    • Physical-Health-Wellbeing-Spor

When you live in accordance with your highest values, you become more centered, equilibrated, resilient, adaptable, moderate and masterfully self-governed. When you live according to your lower values, you become more scattered, stressed, extreme and volatilely ungoverned.

When you are volatilely ungoverned and exaggerate yourself over others and become prideful and self-righteous, you may project your highest values onto those you feel superior to. Upon doing so, you may also unrealistically expect them to live according to your highest values, not their own, and you may receive resistance from them in return. You may also attract humbling circumstances to take you off the pedestal and help you return to equilibrium, or self-governance. As has been stated: Pride before the fall. As R. W. Emerson emphasized, nature equilibrates and compensates.


When you are volatilely ungoverned and minimize yourself, or put yourself down below someone else and possibly even feel shameful and “self-wrongeous,” you may inject their highest values into you and end up feeling inferior in comparison. Upon doing so, you may create an internal conflict and resistance by assuming your inferiority. You may then also attract social assistance, support or pride-building circumstances from others to help you return back up to equilibration or self-governance. As has been stated: Humility before the rise. Nature again equilibrates and compensates.

When you reflect more fully and equally own whatever you see in others within yourself, you master the state of equanimity, you return to a state of self-governance, you reawaken within you a poised, inner self-mastery, and you inspire others through great exemplification, centeredness and clarity. You then have the capacity to equally care enough about others to communicate what is important to you in terms of what is important to them — resulting in sustainable fair exchanges that can transform your world. You then help others by giving them what they would love in a way that they are inspired to help you receive what you would love. When you level the playing field between you and others, you allow your authentic and self-governed leader to emerge to serve equally you and others.

If you cannot masterfully govern yourself, it is unrealistic and unwise to expect to effectively govern others. Again, self-governance is the prelude to other governance.

Whenever you feel inflated, puffed up, self-righteous or superior in a day, it is wise to ask yourself a few self-governing questions that could help bring you back into equilibrium and authenticity before nature or society has to.

Who did I forget to serve today?
What priority did I overlook today?
What person’s name did I not remember today?
What deadline did I not meet today?
What procedure did I not follow today?
What distraction did I let rule me today?
What person did I forget to thank today?


Whenever you feel deflated, beat up, “self-wrongeous” and inferior in a day, it is wise to also ask a few self-governing questions that could help bring you back into equilibrium and authenticity, before nature or society has to.

Who did I remember to serve today?
What priority did I accomplish today?
What person’s name did I remember today?
What deadline did I meet today?
What procedure did I follow today?
What distraction did I not let rule me today?
What person did I remember to thank today?

When you masterfully govern yourself, nobody or nothing else has to. The magnificence of who you are is far greater than any superior or inferior facades, personas or masks you could ever wear. The true, centered and masterful you self-governs, and, in turn, leads and governs others through great example. The key is living congruently according to your highest priorities or values.

Whether you are a highly acclaimed global, sociopolitical or corporate leader or whether you desire to rule a local sports team, religious service or family, the principles of self-governance are still the same. Ideally, the ones who can govern themselves the most are the ones who deserve to govern or rule the world. Where are you on the scale of self-governance? Where, when and in what way do you desire to be more masterful and self-governed?

About The Author

Dr. John Demartini, one of the world's leading authorities and educators on human behavior and leadership development, is the founder of the Demartini Institute, which offers an extensive curriculum of more than 76 courses on self-development, life mastery and leadership. Demartini's knowledge is the culmination of 46-plus years of cross-disciplinary research, and he travels internationally full time, addressing audiences in media, seminars and consultations. He is the author of more than 40 self-development books, including the bestseller The Breakthrough Experience, and he has produced numerous audio CDs, DVDs and online programs discussing financial and business mastery, relationship development, health and healing, the art of communication and inspiring education and leadership. Demartini has been featured in film documentaries such as “The Secret,” “The Opus,” and “Oh My God” alongside Ringo Starr, Seal and Hugh Jackman. He has also shared the stage with influential educators Stephen Covey, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Steve Wosniak, Tony Fernandez and Donald Trump. He has appeared on “Larry King Live,” “The Early Show” and “Wall Street,” as well as in the publications Shape, Leadership, Success, Prestige, Entrepreneur and O. For editorial consideration, please contact editor@jetsetmag(dot)com.

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