As we near the pinnacle of Maslow’s Revised Hierarchy, we are introduced to self-actualization needs. What are self-actualization needs? They are a complex combination of higher cognitive desires that concentrate on realization, or the understanding of the self. Specifically, these needs examine the self at its best: peak potential, growth, and experience. Self-actualization is the realization of what we can be without shackles. If we were self-actualized superheroes, we would understand our extraordinary powers, know their limits, and accept the ways we can harness these powers to save the world. Popeye needs his spinach. Kryptonite is the enduring bane of Superman. Both decisively know their limits and either embrace or avoid them.
Self-actualized individuals are realists. They accept themselves and the world around them. They are focused on solving problems beyond the noise of the now and the self. They actively seek to deliver solutions to complex problems in the external world. Self-actualized people believe in responsibility and ethics, and often look for unconventional solutions. They are independent and content in their own company; they naturally seek private time to develop their realized potential.
Does this sound familiar?
Most successful students are self-actualized. They realize their strengths and weaknesses. They know when to ask for help and make time to develop skills to be the best they know they can be. They are intrinsically motivated and self-starters.
Self-actualization is a fundamental quality beyond academia. The world needs self-actualized people to solve complex problems. Self-actualized individuals don’t think outside the box. They don’t believe this box exists.
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