10 Awesome Ways to Use the Fool Archetype to Increase Your Success!

I LOVE mythology and archetypes! I discovered them when my personal growth had levelled off, and I felt stagnant. What's next? Where am I on life's path? What's the point to all this? And then I discovered mythology - and archetypes, symbols and stories...

And in particular I was pleasantly surprised by the "Fool" archetype. Did you know the fool is actually one of the MOST ADVANCED archetypes?

Our society can be more than a little stiff - full of rules, expectations and limitations. Not only that, but modern life can be stressful and wearing. Well, the "Fool Archetype" can actually help you break through your barriers, be more resilient, enjoy life more and have more success!

First, What is an Archetype?

Archetypes, mythology and stories help us understand the universal life journey - to find love, community, meaning and purpose. In this context, archetypes are simply placeholders for typical 'roles' on this universal life journey. Common examples of archetypes that we see in stories and films are the Heroine, the Warrior, the Ruler (King or Queen), the Martyr - and the Fool and/or Trickster. Exploring archetypes has helped put my life in context. It has helped me say, "Ah - I'm HERE in the universal life journey!" or "Maybe I could develop more of this quality to move forwards", or "Oh so that's where I'm sabotaging myself!"

We're pretty obsessed with the Hero in modern culture. And sadly, the Fool is often portrayed negatively - think deceitful tricksters (the Joker in Batman) or the naive fool that gets taken advantage of - or who gets devoured first in horror movies!

But when the Fool archetype has been developed fully within us - it is WISE. In fact the Wise Fool is one of the MOST spiritually developed archetypes out there. Think Yoda in Star Wars, Elsbeth Tascioni in The Good Wife and that in Buddhism "beginners mind" - being open and playful - is considered the height of wisdom.

Beach Life 035When I first wrote this article a few years ago I had LOT going on in my life. Too much. I was travelling back and forth to England from Canada every 6 weeks, was living on my own (my husband was living in England dealing with a family issue) and I was trying to stay on top of 3 businesses and our 5 acre property. I was feeling overwhelmed and tired - and noticed that I made it worse for myself by wishing things were different to reality (a sure-fire path to misery)! And it was my dog Dexter (the biggest FOOL ever) that cheered me up, shook me out of myself and got me thinking about the Fool archetype again. Here's what I learned:

About the Fool Archetype:

The Fool is often seen in stories alongside the King or Ruler. In these stories, the Fool's job is to deflate the ego of the Ruler - and to say (in jest) what needs to be said, but no-one else is willing to say out loud. The Fool is protected - and has a special role - above the politicking and machinations of 'court'. The Fool is clever and wise, speaks the truth and challenges authority - but softens the blow with humour. Finally, the Fool is resilient - not caring what other people think, laughing at life's difficulties and challenges, and getting back up - again and again - after being knocked down. In current culture our political satirists and comedians are often the Wise Fools.

Dexter-Wise-Fool7 Strengths of the (Wise) Fool Archetype

  1. A lack of concern about what other people think of them.
  2. Trusting the process - enjoying the journey and letting things be rather than trying to control them.
  3. Living in the present moment - because that is all there is.
  4. Living life as a game - seeing the lighter side of darker situations.
  5. They poke fun at the ego.
  6. They create their own rules.
  7. No matter what, the Fool has a zest for life!

10 Awesome Ways the (Wise) Fool Archetype Could Increase Your Success

  1. Lighten up a Difficult Situation: Use the Fool's ability to see the humour in a situation to uncover the silver lining (and even the funny side) of a difficult or challenging situation in your life.
  2. Get More Energy: Use the Fool's view that life is a game to allow expression of your playful side at work (or maybe at home!). When we have fun, life is easier and we move forwards with less effort.
  3. Have More Fun: Use the Fool's zest for life and make decisions based on what gives you joy and pleasure (instead of doing the sensible thing). Do something unusual or exciting, just for the fun of it! You may find this leads to unexpected successes both in business and life...
  4. Get Creative! Use the Fool's inventiveness to come up with creative and unusual solutions to problems and obstacles.
  5. Say What Needs to be Said: Use the Fool's lack of worry re: what other people think to say what needs to be said. Or simply share your wisdom in situations where you might usually 'hide your light under a bushel'.
  6. Be in the moment: Use the Fool's ability to be present to enjoy life now, despite what else may be going on in the bigger picture of your life.
  7. Stay committed: Use the Fool's trust in the process to worry less and stay committed to yourself during a difficult situation or challenging time of your life.
  8. Kickstart the next stage of your life: Use the Fool's dancing mind and hunger for fun and adventure - to give you the push you need for the next step of your journey.
  9. Get Back on the Horse: Use the Fool's resilience - to help you get back up after a difficulty, or after several difficulties. Keep going - and still embrace life, despite setbacks.
  10. Breakout! Challenge the rules and/or authority where they're getting in your way. Use the Fool's irreverence to challenge the rules, to do something new and inventive and break the barriers of what is normal and expected!

For many of us the Wise Fool shows up as a matter of course as we get older. A shorter life span ahead of us can lead to a focus on enjoying life, to stop worrying what others think of us, to learn that we can handle life's setbacks and to choose to focus on the positive. But the great thing about archetypes is that they provide a model for us to learn from NOW - to consciously choose to develop qualities that will serve us - and help us have more success and happiness in life.

I'll leave you with these questions:

  • How much is the Fool archetype currently expressed in your life?
  • How would you LIKE it to be expressed in your life?
  • Who do you know who uses the Fool archetype successfully in their lives? What could you learn from them?
  • Where specifically could the Wise Fool archetype help you have more success in your life?
  • Inspired by the Fool archetype, what ONE thing will you choose to do differently in your life? How will you embrace YOUR inner Fool?

If you liked this article about the Fool archetype, you may also like:


Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>


  1. Lalitha

    Great article!

    A lot of questions and worth pondering. I will answer the first question..

    How much is the Fool archetype currently expressed in your life?
    I made "Fun and Faith" as my theme for 2014.
    I see myself expressing Fool archetype, by having more fun, being in the moment, staying committed and getting creative.
    I choose and commit to have fun in the process, while taking a leap of faith in doing the tasks in hand.

    Thanks again for triggering and stirring the pot of my fool archetype!

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Lalitha! Thanks for taking the time to comment! I am so glad you enjoyed the article. Fun us such a great and important theme - I think fun makes us more productive too... I am sure you will have a fabulous 2014! Warmly, Emma-Louise

  2. Virginia Reeves

    Lighten up, live in the present moment, say what needs to be said, and challenge yourself. Really like this article Emma-Louise. Important points to remember each day. Thanks for all you share. I look forward to each post.

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Virginia, thank-you so much for taking the time to comment, and I'm really glad you liked this article 🙂 Warmly, Emma-Louise

  3. Fran Fisher

    Surrendering to The FOOL archetype "got me through" 6 months of healing burn out. I learned to let go , and trust, what I called the "egg time" the time between fall and spring.

  4. Kenn

    This is brilliant. Do you use the Fool archetype?

    I've been looking into archetypes lately, such a wonderful world of possibility in marketing.

    • Emma-Louise

      Hey Kenn, I LOVE the Fool Archetype! But I wouldn't say I use it in my marketing 😉 If you're interested in marketing and archetypes, you may like (although it's a pretty hefty read) The Hero and The Outlaw (Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson). Warmly, Emma-Louise


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