method of lizzy

preservations… for posterity

Mr. Maslow

I was an undergrad student when I was introduced to Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. I believe that the introduction took place in a Management class, and at the time I was far from appreciative; management theorists not being among my favorite philosophers. But Maslow’s name continued to pop up throughout my time at university, and today I find myself increasingly more appreciative of his work. In particular I am interested in self-actualization, the “one sovereign drive.”

Needs change as needs are met. As the more basic needs are met, the need for self-actualization increases. Maslow estimated that only about 2% of the world’s population is truly self-actualizing. By identifying self-actualizing historical figures as well as personal acquaintances, he was able to compile a list of characteristics that extend beyond the hierarchy of needs:

  • reality-centered
  • problem-centered
  • possessing a different perception of means and ends
  • enjoyment of solitude
  • deeper relationships with only a few individuals
  • autonomous
  • nonconformist
  • self-deprecating yet not insensitive sense of humor
  • acceptance of self and others
  • spontaneous, embracing simplicity (genuine)
  • sense of humility and respect
  • Gemeinschaftsgefühl – a profound sense of caring to others and a desire to improve the world
  • strong ethics
  • creative
  • more “peak experiences” than the average person

This list gives me something to strive for, yet at the same time it gently reminds me that I am who I am, and that I must be accepting of this fact if I am ever to improve. It’s a bit of a brain teaser. I look to Maslow to help me reconcile the ideal and the actual.


November 30, 2006 - Posted by | maslow, self-actualization

1 Comment

  1. […] of these exercises is to understand who you are. This is an essential step along the road to self-actualization. As I’ve learned all too well, you won’t heal simply by covering up your symptoms. […]

    Pingback by Anxiety workshop « method of lizzy | March 10, 2007

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