2008-01-10 11:33 PM

Self-Actualization Checklist

The more I learn about Maslow the more I respect his hierarchy metaphor. I’ve known of Maslow for many years but until now I never knew much about him and his model of human needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is based on observation, first of monkeys and then of humans. The human portion soon became an exercise in modeling excellence, or self-actualization in his terminology. This was not the most ideal modeling situation as a number of his subjects were studied posthumously via writings from and about them. However, Maslow produced a marvelous list of self-actualized traits — those traits shared by his pool of self-actualized subjects. GiftsCompass.com has one of the most succinct explanations of this list, reproduced here for your convenience.

  • Reality-centered: They address facts and conditions realistically, rather than denying or avoiding them.
  • Problem-centered: They look for solutions rather than playing the victim or surrendering to difficulty.
  • Humble: They exhibit a profound respect towards others. They tend to enjoy ethnic and individual diversity.
  • Tolerant: They enjoy and appreciate ethnic and individual diversity.
  • Compassionate: They take a genuine interest in others, showing authentic compassion and humanity.
  • Ethical: They have a strong ethical core born of a spiritual orientation that is seldom constricted by conventional religion.
  • Means-centered: They see the means as an end in itself; “the journey is more important than the inn.”
  • Intimate: They prefer knowing a few people well to knowing many people superficially.
  • Creative: They are spontaneous, inventive and original; they have an ability to see things, even ordinary things, with wonder.
  • Autonomous: They enjoy relative independence from enculturation and successfully resist social pressures to “fit in.” They are quite comfortable being alone.
  • Humorous: They enjoy humor and will joke at their own expense, but do not use humor to degrade others.
  • Authentic: They avoid pretentiousness or artificiality; their values are “natural” and flow effortlessly from their personalities.
  • Transcendent: They successfully bridged common dichotomies; they could be masculine and feminine, spiritually oriented and physically oriented. They experienced more peak experiences than most people—moments of transcending oneself, being in touch with the greater resonances of life.

How many of these traits are attractive to you?
How different will your life be when you are pursuing growth over deficit?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan 1 Comment »

One Comment on “Self-Actualization Checklist”

  1. Chris Shouse Says:

    This list is quite eye opening. I like the terms they are been put in. I know that I am aspiring to be in this self actualized state all of the time.

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