Think for a moment of a time when you felt truly connected to yourself – you were on purpose, knew what you needed, had a plan to get it, and felt passionate about doing so. Although many of us have experienced times when we felt we were acting from our true selves, aligned with our interests and passions, they seem few and far between. So why is this and what can we do about it?

We know how to survive but we don’t know how to strive. It has taken thousands of years for us to evolve to the state where industrialized cultures no longer just live in survival, with all energy going toward having enough to eat, a place to shelter ourselves from the elements and the relative safety of a health care system when we are ill. Despite the emergence of a larger middle class, where physical survival is no longer an issue, we still act as though it is. We keep using the parts of our brain that govern survival rather that learning to use the brain that has more recently evolved.

So instead of pursuing our self-actualizing goals, we keep “hunting and gathering” because this is what we know how to do. We go to malls to gather, buying the best, the biggest and the latest. We gather information on TV, Internet, newspapers and are from electronic devices that we can’t seem to do without. We go prowling to clubs to “hook-up” or are compelled to watch sports to identify with the victor of the battle. We just don’t know what to do with ourselves most of the time and our need or appetite for self-actualization gets translated into overeating, consumption of alcohol and workaholism to name a few.

This is why the more industrialized a nation becomes, the higher the rates of mental disorders revolving around depression, anxiety, despair and unhappiness. The wealthiest and most educated nations in the world are home to the most miserable, the saddest, least-fulfilled people in the world. There is a pill to take away every uncomfortable emotion and others to create pleasant ones. Sadly, this is encouraged as appropriate and desired medical treatment.

The human brain is evolutionary. We have three brains and unfortunately, we are not taught how to use them together to enhance our experience of life or to discover who we are meant to be. Our brain has evolved, allowing us to have the ability to be self-aware, to plan, to be rational and to understand our own natures. The prefrontal cortex, the newest part of the brain governs these functions. Yet we have become so polarized in the use of our survival brain that we keep on using it, doing what we feel like, acting on impulse and medicating ourselves so that we can tolerate our lives.

Anne Dranitsaris, PhD

Author's Bio: 

The Visionary Striving Style

Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D, brings a lifetime of study, “psychological savvy” and hands-on clinical experience to helping people become who they are meant to be. Her interest in creating mental health, coupled with her interest in personality systems and the dynamics of human behavior, has influenced the development of the Striving Styles Personality System.

Holistic Approach to Learning

Driven by a vision for a holistic approach to emotional and physical health, Anne chose educational pursuits that aligned with her passion. At the same time, she studied at mainstream universities such as Ryerson (Business Management), University of Toronto (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Religious Studies) and ADR Institute of Ontario (Alternate Dispute Resolution). Anne looked for training institutes that would help her integrate the cognitive, emotional and physical approaches to healing the mind and body. This education included: receiving her degree as a Registered Massage Therapist; graduating from the International School for Spiritual Sciences (Montreal); psychotherapy certification from the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy (D.C.T.P); studies at the Masterson Institute for Disorders of the Self (New York); and a Ph.D. in Therapeutic Counseling from the Open International University for Complementary Medicine (WHO).

Committed to lifelong learning, Anne has completed postgraduate programs in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Spiritual Self-Schema Development, Brain and Behavior and Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i), and she has been a long-time follower of the work of Carl Jung. Anne continues to stay educated and informed about recent advances in neuroplasticity, brain development, mindfulness and social intelligence.

Executive Coaching & Corporate Therapy

Anne became one of Toronto’s first Executive Coaches in the late 1980’s. She could see the direct application of the therapeutic tools to the corporate world, which drove her to expand her work into that realm. Anne began using the title of corporate therapist to indicate the depth with which she worked with leaders and teams developing emotional intelligence, behavioral competence and relationship skills in organizations. She has also used her unique approach to work through dysfunctional relationships, partnerships, teams and boards.

Prior to starting SKE, Anne built several successful companies including Sage Developmental Resources, an organizational consulting firm focused on behavioral alignment, and the Centre for Mindful Therapies, which offered customized Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programs to organizations and individuals. In addition, she worked extensively with Heather on Several global leadership development initiatives for Caliber's clients, providing both individuals coaching and facilitating high performance team development at the executive and senior management levels.

Sought After Writer

A prolific and frequently cited writer on the impact of behavior, emotional intelligence and personality styles in the workplace, Anne has written a series of books on personality type based on Jung’s theory of Psychological Type. The Personality Profile Series© books are used to help individuals in coaching and counseling to understand themselves, their environment, their partners, and their children. Anne's latest series of books, The Jung Typology Series©, focuses on understanding the impact of personality type on employees, teams and leaders.

Anne has been featured in the media — on radio and on television — as well as in a wide range of national and international publications including USA Today, The New York Post, Huffington Post, The Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, The Globe and Mail and Additionally, her work has appeared in three issues of “O” Magazine within the past year, with her article on Striving Styles being included in the “O” Annual as one of the year’s top articles. She has recently been contracted to write for an upcoming issue of “O”.