7 Ways to Live Life to the Max
7 Ways to Live Life to the MAX
An American Psychologist
The American psychologist Abraham Maslow called this concept ‘self-
actualization.’ Some schools of philosophy use the term ‘self-realization.’
Maslow loosely describes self-actualization as “the full use and exploitation of
talents, capacities and potentialities”. Self-actualized people are those who have
developed or who are developing to reach their full stature.
Whatever it is called does not really matter. What does matter is that we
understand that our purpose in life is to rise to our highest level of development.
Maslow was interested in what motivated successful people. He undertook a
study of people living exceptionally effective lives. His study included Albert
Einstein, William James, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, John Muir, Walt
Whitman, and other creative people, artists, writers, and poets. He wanted to
know what made them different from what we might call the ‘average person’.
Hierarchy of Needs
In Maslow’s research he discovered what he called ‘the hierarchy of needs’. He
said that our needs have to be satisfied at a lower level before we can move to a
higher level. The pinnacle of the hierarchy is self-actualization. Maslow believed
that self-actualization is an innate drive, i.e. something we were born with.
At the base of the triangle are our basic needs - oxygen, food, and water. We will
take whatever steps are necessary to secure these requirements just to survive. In
our Western society most of these needs are fulfilled with little effort. Few of us
would have experienced real hunger and thirst. In third world or less affluent
countries people struggle daily to meet these basic needs.
The second level is the need for safety and security, shelter and protection. We
all need somewhere to live, a home that will protect us from the elements, an
environment that provides safety and security.
Once we have reached this level we are now prepared to move to the third level,
which is the need to belong, to bond with people who are like-minded, people
who believe in the things we do and see life in the same way. Belonging to these
Copyright © Dennis R Curyer, 2003
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