Why is Self-Actualization Important?
Hey Everyone! This week, I am going to talk a little bit about a subject you probably all heard a thing or two about in your college days, a psychological theory of motivation known as Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I am also going to tell you why I think this theory, originally published in 1943, is still relevant today and why it is so important to understand, both for ourselves and for the sake of others.
If you haven't hear of Maslow's theory, it essentially asserts that human motivation is often defined in predictable layers, each of which build upon one another, sort of like a pyramid (see below).
For a person to be in a state of total motivation, in theory, all five layers have to be satisfied. However, the idea is that the layers below each concept must be fufilled before a person will typically be motivated by that concept.
For example, say a person is recognized as "author of the year," which could fulfill that person's need for "esteem" or even "self-actualization," but at the same time, that person
has no friends or family around them. Esteem will likely only provide a temporary boost to that person because their baser need for "love/belonging" will cloud the effect of "esteem." Does that make sense?
Anyway, getting to my point here, this theory applies to more than just motivation. It is also about desire, passion, and purpose.
The final stage of Maslow's theory, self-actualization, is really the apex of our existence, the culmination of all that we toil for in life. It is important to know what self-actualization looks like because it is how we solidify our fulfillment in life. Here is an example:
If you are fulfilled by family, then getting married, having kids, and be surrounded by loved ones on the holidays are all things that are likely to make you happy. However, you need more than just being around your family to solidify purpose. So, self-actualization for you might be seeing your kids become happily married and having kids of their own. It might be your reaching a fifty year anniversary with your wife or husband. Or, perhaps, it is making your family proud of the person they see you as. These concepts are more abstract, which is why they land higher on the pyramid, but they are the events that lock the lower levels into place.
For me, self-actualization is people enjoying my writing. It is publishing creative work that makes people think and has some chance of remaining in the world after I'm gone.
So, why is self-actualization important? It gives us purpose, passion, and fulfillment. Also, it bolsters the happiness we derive from other aspects of our lives. I'm curious, what are some of the things that represent self-actualization for you? Tell me in the comments!
If you want me to talk about something in particular, let me know in the comments as well!
Until next time,