Episode 21: Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualizer

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“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization... It refers to man’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything one is capable of becoming.” ~ Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality

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“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization... It refers to man’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything one is capable of becoming.” ~ Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality

Abraham Maslow believed that the need to grow, to reach our potential, and to self-actualize is an absolutely fundamental need.

According to Maslow, this need to actualize is not a “wish” or a “desire” or a “sure would be nice to have” kind of thing. It’s a NEED (like that need we have for oxygen).

To the extent that we’ve taken care of our more basic needs and we’re not satisfying this need to self-actualize, we’re gonna live with anxiety, regret and disillusionment. Period.

The specific manifestation of our self-actualizing process is obviously unique and varies greatly from person to person. As Maslow points out, in one individual it may “take the form of the desire to be an excellent parent, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or in inventing things.”

However, in all cases, the question remains: What must you be?

This is one of the 1,000+ Big Ideas we share in our 6-page PDF and 20-minute MP3 PhilosophersNotes on 100 of the greatest self-development books. Get 100 Notes for only 47 bucks!