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Maslow’s Original PYRAMID (cont.)
Level 5. SELF-ACTUALIZATION
As mentioned in the Intro – Maslow & others have added more levels. In later years Maslow criticized his early version, saying that people can go beyond self-actualization by devoting themselves to higher pursuits outside themselves, such as altruism & spirituality (More later).
Supposedly level 5 can only be reached if all the others are satisfied AND mastered, which may be generally true, but as pointed out in Level 1, it’s not always a straight line, and for many highly driven creatives the Pyramid is revered.
However, in the original Pyramid, the last phase was identified as the Need to “be all that one is able to become”. The term self-actualization was first used by German psychiatrist & neurologist, Kurt Goldstein (1878 – 1965) to explain this human drive. The focus is on fulfilling ones potential, by being self-aware, pursuing mental & emotional growth, & acting on ones talents – determined by internal factors rather than external rewards
This stage is driven by creativity, spontaneous actions & morality. Issues / problems can often be resolved without pressure or violence, & reality is usually experienced thru the lens of a positive mind-set, without too many judgments
People who strive for these goals are not satisfied with their personal ‘status quo’, want to giving back to society, can sometimes have peak experiences, & are often supported by their social environment, yet are less concerned with the opinions of others
Maslow quotes: • “What a man can be, he must be.”
• Self-actualization is an ongoing process of fully exploiting ones talents & capabilities – using abilities & intelligence to do well the thing that one wants to do (Farther Reaches of Human Nature)
• It is desirable to make these goals conscious because they are the ideal aspirations of the individual, but they’re also the upper limit of possibilities which humans approach but practically never attain (1963)
Self-actualization is not something a person either has or does not have. Instead, it’s a never-ending process of working toward one’s potential – a way of continually living, working & relating to the world, rather than identifying oneself with a single accomplishment.
Great talent or intelligence is not the same as self-actualization. Many gifted people fail to use their abilities fully, while others, perhaps not so brilliant, accomplish a great deal.
Of course, not everyone has the same goals or dreams, so self-fulfillment is subjectively defined by ourselves, from being the best musician in the world, to being the best parent on the planet. One person may feel self-actualized because of their very important job at the UN, while another can achieve it from teaching children in a small town – so we don’t have to become famous to feel fulfilled. Whatever the goal, it’s the desire to make the most of life – the ultimate achievement in our own eyes.
The Pyramid is used in many different arenas of life, such as the pyramid of Trust, Family Practice…. see below. Also, updated Maslow – 2.0
CHILDREN: While their needs may seem simplistic compared to adults, when family & community can provided them well, they become the foundation for a good & productive life (More….)
SALES : There is no one product that will satisfy everyone’s total identity – ie. all 5 levels (usually 🤪 one’s whole life isn’t built around owning the hottest sneaker, car, fashion….). So, what Marketers try to do is offer brands that appeal to people’s Level 5 aspirations, suggesting those products will (ideally) help consumers achieved them (More….)
Exp: Nike ads tailor slogans as sources of inspiration, & so connect with their audience, making them so successful: “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” , “Just do it” ….
ATHLETICS: Reaching the winners circle in any field requires hard work & perseverance, which includes having many positive qualities. Coach Wooden spent his career fostering greatness. His believed that to fully achieve success someone must first develop the building blocks of determination:
NEXT: Level 5b