Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of sociology’s great theories and is well known by anyone who’s glanced at the subject.
Effectively, it’s a pyramid with five sections. Crowded at the bottom of the pyramid are our most basic needs – breathing, food, water, rest, and the like. Further up the pyramid are the physical and psychological features that we can develop if we constantly work on our intellectual and spiritual development.
At the top of the pyramid is ‘self-actualisation’, which effectively means ‘becoming the best person you can be.’
But very few people ever reach the heights of self-actualisation. Like the path to enlightenment, many choose a junction which heads away from complete fulfilment, never quite knowing where their full potential may have led them.
There are, however, many methods to completing the path of self-actualisation. To help you reach your potential, here’s a few ideas.
Make a plan – and stick to it
Plotting out the next 10 years of your life is a daunting task, but it could also help you arrange your priorities and ultimately achieve your goals.
Getting used to making intricate plans for your life – and following those plans through with concrete action – will almost inevitably see you meet your potential, and could open the door to a slew of unexpected opportunities.
Even simple plans can be enough to make a big difference to your life. Say, for instance, you want to refurbish your living room.
You’d start by looking online at stores like SM London, B&Q, Homebase, or even your local hardware store. Then you’d purchase your desired products, put in some elbow grease to get your new room set up and, voila, you’ve got a shiny new living room.
This is one of the smallest forms of self-actualisation possible – and it all started with a plan.
Be a good person
Self-actualisation has regularly been mischaracterised as a purely selfish and individualist endeavour, but it actually requires a great deal of empathy.
Helping people reach their potential is a way of discovering your own. This is an observation that teachers make all the time, such is the inherent fulfilment of shaping the minds of the young.
And sharing your skills has never been easier online. Locate your skillset and share it on YouTube for everyone else to learn from. In this minor humanitarian effort, you’ll help others push towards their goals, too.
Reach the peak
Maslow claims that ‘peak experiences’ are a key ingredient to self-actualisation, claiming ‘I often have experiences in which I feel new horizons and possibilities opening up for myself and others.’
In a nutshell, this involves trying new things and not being afraid to break free of your daily habits.
Book a spontaneous holiday, join an evening class on a subject you know nothing about, strike up a conversation with someone and see if you can make a new friend – there’s no end to the experiences you can have that will help you grow as a person.
We’ve only dipped in the shallow waters of self-actualisation and how it can make you a better, happier individual. What do you do to reach your goals? Let me know in the comments below.