As Abraham Maslow observed ‘If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.’
Reaching our fullest human potential is our destiny and by necessity must be our mission in life. Understanding this and making self-actualization your mission in life is the secret of true happiness.
This short eBook uses Maslow’s work to paint a portrait of the self-actualizing person. Let it guide you on your own unique journey.
Self-actualization is the peak of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It refers to the process of becoming fully human. It is a state that can be reached only when one’s lower order needs have been satisfied.
According to Maslow, there are five sets of needs - physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization.
As a person becomes more effective at satisfying their lower order needs, they find themselves nearing the summit — self-actualization. The hierarchy of needs begins with the most basic, the physiological needs for oxygen, food, water and sleep. Once these are satisfied and in good supply, a person then feels the need for safety. They seek out the feeling of security, physical comforts and shelter, employment, and property. The next level is belongingness and love needs. Here people seek social acceptance, affiliations, a sense of belongingness and being welcome, sexual intimacy, and perhaps a family. Next is the need for esteem where a person seeks to feel competent, recognised by peers and enjoying the respect of others.
Once all of these needs are met in more or less the order listed above, a person is on the threshold of self-actualization. To cross that threshold, it helps if you have a well-developed worldview in which you have a good understanding of the world you live in, plus the presence of ‘symmetry, order, and beauty’ to some degree.
While you cannot order self-actualization on demand, you can create the right conditions in yourself for it to occur.
Self-Actualised (SA) people, whoever they are and whatever the circumstances of their lives, tend to approach life in the ways described in the chapters that follow.