Friday, July 13, 2012

What is that "Self-Actualization" thing and how do I get there?

FORT WORTH, TX, March 22, 2010 - There are five levels of unsatisfied needs that all people share, according to twentieth century psychologist Abraham Maslow.

The good doctor was different than his contemporaries in that he studied what he called exemplary people like Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Fredrick Douglass, instead of mentally ill or neurotic people. 

This list is one of the theories he came up with.
Doctor Maslow explained in his Theory of Motivation that basic elements are the vital motivators of all human behavior.

The basis for his theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs.

Dr. Maslow built a hierarchy in the form of a five level pyramid. Later he added two additional levels, Cognitive and Aesthetic.

In order to change one’s life, whether on the surface, or from the very core of who you are, it‘s always good to start at the foundation.

These needs are, from the most basic on up:

Physiological Needs. The needs required to sustain life such as air, water, food, temperature regulation, elimination, sleep, activity, and sex.
These are pretty much self-explanatory and all but one will kill you if you - some faster than others.

Safety Needs. Once the first level is met, a one’s attention turns to safety and security in order to be free from the threat of physical and emotional harm. The importance of routine and familiarity for safety comes into focus as well.

Social Needs. A person becomes aware of higher levels of motivators once physiological and safety issues are in place. 
For instance: the giving and receiving of love, affection, trust, acceptance. We need to belong - family, friends, work.

Esteem Needs. Next it’s important to have the respect and esteem of others and for ourselves. When these are met a person’s sense of competence and confidence grows.

Cognitive Needs. Knowledge and understanding. Curiosity, exploration, and the drive for meaning and predictability. To me it’s where we have the, “Why am I here?” thoughts.

Aesthetic Needs. Beauty - in art and nature - symmetry, balance, order and form. Experts have found that a person’s surroundings have an impact on behavior and expectations.

Self-Actualization. According to Doctor Maslow this is when one realizes one’s full potential; becoming everything one is capable of becoming.

To me this is not the finish line. I think this level is when you not just realize that the world is your oyster and you are the only thing blocking your way, but begin to walk in that belief too.

Think about this pyramid and how the levels affect you and those you love. Where are you on this scale?

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Welcome! Here is the first column I sent to my editor this morning. It should be posted today or tomorrow.
I want to state for the record that unless a comment is really ugly and uncalled for I will post them. I don't care if the opinion of someone else differs from my own. I am a firm believer in Freedom of Speech and that everyone has a right to their opinions and to express them.
I also believe we can learn from others no matter how different their life experience is from our own.