Mazlow’s hierarchy peaks out at self-actualization, but what does that mean? And do we have to slog through the other four levels before we can self-actualize? The answer to the first is amorphous; the answer to the second is no.
I’ll start with the easy question. We don’t have to achieve self-actualization by trudging through our lives trying to achieve the other levels. If you don’t agree, think about people like Nelson Mandela during his prison term, Rosa Parks when she took a seat at the front of the bus, or the lone man in Tianenman Square facing the tank.
The second question is harder only because it is different for all of us AND it changes as we change while our environment is constantly changing as well. This is why it is important to sit down and think about what self-actualization means for you. What tangible goal reflects self-actualization for you? How can you achieve that goal? Without this deliberate effort to move from random thoughts to defined outcome helps transform the climb up Maslows mountain into an escalator ride to the top.
Take some time to think this through and write down your objectives. It also doesn’t hurt to share them with someone you trust. Otherwise, keep wandering and hope you’re heading in the right direction.