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This entire piece has been written by David Tuffley. David is a Lecturer at the Griffin University in Brisbane, Australia. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was something I studied in my degree and it had a great influence on me as a person. So I wanted to write a post on it. Whilst I was researching, I came across David’s work and from all of the information I had viewed, his work really summarised what Malsow’s message is, in the best way. I could not have summarised Maslow’s teachings any better than David so I contacted him and asked if I could use his work for my audience. He agreed straight away. I really can’t think of anything I want to add to this piece so I have taken it all in it’s original form. For more information on David and his work, take a look at his website.

A Life Well-Lived: a Guide to Self-Actualisation

Many of us are pursuing activities that directly or indirectly we hope will take us to new levels of fulfilment. But how can we set ourselves up to achieve fulfilment in our chosen field, and in our lives generally?

Fulfilment might also be called Self-Actualisation or expressing one’s full potential. According to Abraham Maslow it is intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is. (Maslow was an American psychologist whose theories have been influential in 20th century thought.)

maslows-hierarchy

Maslow believed we have a hierarchy of needs, beginning with (a) basic needs for food, shelter, then (b) needs for safety and security, (c) needs for love and belonging, (d) the need for self esteem, and (e) the need for self-actualisation. We cannot meet the higher-order needs until the lower ones are met. A hungry or fearful person will not recognise yet their need for self actualisation.

How do we characterise Self-Actualised (SA) people?

·         Generally they are realistically orientedwith an efficient perception of reality extending into all areas of their life. SA persons are unthreatened and unfrightened by the unknown. They usually have a superior ability to reason, to see the truth. 

·         SA people accept themselves, others and the natural world the way they are. Sees human nature as is, have rid themselves of crippling guilt or shame, enjoy themselves without regret or apology, and have no unnecessary inhibitions. 

·         Spontaneous in their inner life, thoughts and impulses, SA people are unhampered by convention. Their ethics is autonomous, they are individuals, and are motivated towards continual improvement. 

·         Focus on problems outside themselves.SA people tend to have a mission in life requiring much energy, and their mission is their reason for existence. They are usually serene and worry-free as they pursue their mission with unshakeable determination. 

·         Detachment, the need for privacy. Alone but not lonely, unflappable, retain dignity amid confusion and personal misfortunes, objective. SA people are self starters, responsible for themselves, own their behaviour. 

·         Autonomous, independent of culture and environment. SA’s rely on inner self for satisfaction. Resilient and stable in the face of hard knocks, they are self contained, independent from love and respect of others. 

·         Freshness of appreciation. Have a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and things. Moment to moment living is thrilling, transcending and spiritual. SA’s live the present moment to the fullest. 

·         Peak experiences. “Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before, the feeling of ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and valuable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences.” Abraham Maslow. Click Here for an example from my own experience.

 

Eight Ways To Self Actualize 

1.      Experience things fully, vividly, selflessly. Throw yourself into the experiencing of something: concentrate on it fully, let it totally absorb you.

2.      Life is a moment-by-moment choice between safety (out of fear and need for defence) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Consciously make the growth choice many times a day.

3.      Let your true self emerge. Try to go beyond socially-defined modes of thinking and feeling, let your inner experience tell you what you truly feel.

4.      When in doubt, be honest. It may take some courage, but look honestly at yourself and take responsibility for who you are and what happens to you. Self-delusion is the enemy of self-actualisation.

5.      Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular if necessary.

6.      Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem.

7.      Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions. Learn what you are good at and conversely what you are not good at.

8.      Know thyself. Who are you, what are you, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what is your mission? Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means recognising one’s defences–and then finding the courage to give them up.

Work towards meeting and satisfying the lower-order needs (food, shelter, then safety and security, then love and belonging, and then self esteem). Once you have done this, and I acknowledge that it may be difficult and time-consuming, you will be able to make progress with the following:

  1. Experience things fully, vividly, selflessly. Throw yourself into the experiencing of something: concentrate on it fully, let it totally absorb you.
  2. Life is a moment-by-moment choice between safety (out of fear and need for defence) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Consciously make the growth choice many times a day.
  3. Let your true self emerge. Try to go beyond socially-defined modes of thinking and feeling, let your inner experience tell you what you truly feel.
  4. When in doubt, be honest. It may take some courage, but look honestly at yourself and take responsibility for who you are and what happens to you. Self-delusion is the enemy of self-actualisation.
  5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular if necessary.
  6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem.
  7. Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions. Learn what you are good at and conversely what you are not good at.
  8. Know thyself. Who are you, what are you, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what is your mission? Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means recognising one’s defences–and then finding the courage to give them up.

Good luck,

David Tuffley

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Comments on: "Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs" (1)

  1. This is interesting, but… there is a known fact that a child is better experiencing the story than told the story.

    That is… its better to deal with the unknown and survive than to be pre-prepared and win.

    Life is not a competition but a journey and a severe reality that all have to keep their heads above water in.

    If one is to be well advised then thats good, but still dangerous to ones development as an individual and as a creature in this world as we know it. Knowing a reality is usually good enough, but …… understanding a reality is maturity and causes personal stance towards those realities.

    so… I believe that yours, should rather be advice with a strong emphasise on the fact that everyone has different lives and worlds, rather than it be portrayed as advice as ‘this the way forward and take it cos it’ll work’.

    I respect all who try to help others, but cant help pointing out that we are prone to the chaos theory occurring in our very own worlds, which is yet not fully explained nor understood. briefly helping is better than completely holding their hand.

    live learn and teach, but expect others to be different.

    peace be upon you.

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