“Not only do you have to decide what results you are committed to, but also the kind of person that you’re committed to becoming.” – Anthony Robbins
Basically, self-actualization means working toward becoming all that we can be. It should be a process that starts at birth and last until the last curtain falls. Unfortunately, such is not always the case. Many people are so entangled in the problems of daily life that little thought or attention is given to self-actualization.
That’s a shame because self-actualization should be what life is all about. Life means growth. The moment that growth stops, stagnation and decay set in. That is true for all living organisms and it is especially true for humans. It is correctly said that some people die at age twenty-two, forget to fall down, and will only get buried past age eighty.
Self-actualization passes through three stages: learning, integrating and doing. Let’s review these three stages.
1. Learning is the first stage. Every new thing that we learn is added to our bank of reference where it can be used in the thinking process. That information serves to evaluate concepts and ideas; it can be used to make finer and more effective distinctions and is the basis for the entire conscious process.
2. The integration into the wiring of our brain of some of our knowledge has to be done in a way that it becomes an automatic reflex. That is the second stage of the self-actualizing process and it has much to do with self-control. It is evident that a person near the zenith of self-actualization will not react to situations the same way that an infant would. As we evolve and grow, we get to be more and more sophisticated in our automatic responses to situations and events.
3. The last, and probably most meaningful stage of self-actualization is the “doing” part. It is not what we know that really counts but what we do with it that really matters. It is by pushing our limits that we really grow. So long as we stay in our comfort zone, no real progress is achieve. It is when we really have to flex our intellectual muscles that growth occurs.
That is the primary reason why we should have goals and objectives. It is not reaching a goal that is the most important. What really matters is the person that we have to become to reach our objectives that really matters.
The real objective of goal setting is self-transformation, self-growth and self-actualization. The stories of people who never grasped or understood that fundamental axiom are legion. They are the tales of people who have achieved unbelievable success, acquired fame and adulation of the masses that end up destroying themselves because they are so miserable and unhappy that they can no longer stand it.
Material possessions, fame and recognition by themselves will not bring happiness. Successful living is above all a state of mind. It is found in the satisfaction that we are constantly growing and improving; in the realization that we are evolving and contributing. In the feeling that, day-by-day, we are climbing the path of self-actualization.
Once our basic physiological and emotional needs have been met, everything that we do is directed toward satisfying our need for self-actualization. Self-actualization has been called the master motive. In other words, self-actualization is the ultimate motive from which all other motives spring.
Once we’ve understood this basic fact of life, we are ready to make real progress. We are heading in the right direction. It’s not what we own that really matters; it’s whom we are that really counts.
Dr. Raymond Comeau aka Shamou is the Author of ShamouBlog and Owner Administrator of Personal Development for Personal Success Forums