ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Self-actualization and how to achieve it?

Updated on November 28, 2014

Self actualization is a term used for realization of one’s own maximum potential and possibilities. It is a basic drive present in everyone. Expression of one’s ability, desire for spiritual enlightenment or pursuit for knowledge is an example of self-actualization. In other words, the desire to give one’s best to the society is self-actualization. Researchers have found that when people live their lives that don’t utilize their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be happy. But the people whose goals and lives match each other are comparatively happier. For example, an individual, who has an inherent potential to be a great artist, will not be able to realize his or her talents if he or she is busy in attaining the basic human needs. So, the individual will not be happy unless he or she is able to utilize the inherent talents to become an artist.

The concept of self-actualization means different things to different people. For some it might be a self-motivation principle for realizing the potential of skills. For others it will have a much deeper spiritual meaning.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs –

In 1943, Abraham Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and when their one need is fulfilled, they seek to fulfill the next one. Therefore, he postulated a hierarchy of needs, which can be divided into four basic and one growth needs mentioned as follows –

  • Physiological needs like air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, and sleep
  • Safety needs like protection, security, law and order, stability, and freedom from fear
  • Love and belongingness needs like friendship, intimacy, love and affection, family, friends, and romantic relationships
  • Esteem needs like achievement, mastery, independence, status, prestige, self respect, and respect from others
  • Self actualization needs like realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, personal growth, and peak experiences

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is normally represented as a pyramid.

Characteristics of self-actualizers – Below are enumerated important characteristics of self-actualized persons -

Realistic attitude – They have a sense of realism. The self-actualized individual is able to view things logically and rationally.

Problem solving skills – Such individuals possess good problem solving skills to real world situations. They also like to help others in solving their problems when asked to help.

Senses of responsibility – Such individuals are strongly motivated by a sense of personal ethics and responsibility.

Senses of autonomy – Such individuals don’t conform to the other’s ideas of happiness or contentment. They live according to their own perspective in the present and appreciate the beauty of every experience.

Enjoy solitude - Self-actualized persons value their privacy and enjoy solitude. They also love the company of others but they enjoy being themselves that is essential for discovery of their potential.

Sense of humor – They have a thoughtful sense of humor and can laugh at themselves but they don’t ridicule or make fun at the expense of other’s feeling.

Sense of spontaneity – They are open, unconventional and spontaneous. Although, they follow generally accepted social norms but they are not confined by these norms in their thoughts and behaviors.

Realistic goals – Such persons set concrete goals for themselves and don’t see things as simply a means to an end. They enjoy the journey toward achieving a goal as well as its achievement.

Human kinship – Such people have deep feeling of sympathy and affection for everyone in general. They have a genuine desire to help fellow beings.

Interpersonal relationships – Self-actualizers foster deep ties with few people; their circle of friends is rather small; the ones they love profoundly are few.

Sound values – They have a good value system that conforms to the true nature of self, of human nature, and physical reality.

Detachments to enculturation – Such persons resist enculturation and maintain an inner detachment from the culture in which they live.

How to achieve self-actualization – The following are important key elements required to achieve self-actualization –

  • Avoid other’s expectations – In order to become self-actualized an individual should avoid expectations that are placed by others and society on him or her. Many people spend their entire life in achieving what others want from them rather than what they really want. So, to become self-actualized persons should find out what they want authentically from themselves. By releasing such expectations from others, an individual will be able to begin to discover who he or she is. Such a discovery is pivotal for living life as authentically as possible.
  • Introspection – When a person takes time for introspection, it leads to greater self discovery. By introspection, a person can come to know one’s real capabilities and potentialities, and come to term with fears and obstacles, which keep one from living ones best.
  • Meditation - To achieve self-actualization it is important for individuals to dedicate time to such practices as meditation in order to get in touch with the inner-self, which has immense wisdom to take advantage of. Meditation is a discipline to empower us to be able to sustain reflection and self-examination. It is through the process of patient and repeated self-examination that real self-actualization can occur.
  • Gratitude - The self-actualized person is very grateful for all that currently exists in his or her life. Gratitude allows individuals to see that everything that they are and everything that they have in this current moment is more than sufficient. Oftentimes, people feel as if they are lacking and this is because they fail to see the abundance in what they currently have. Living life being appreciative of what one has creates experiences of joy, and renewed reverence for life.
  • Developing potential – To be self-actualized a person has to become the best that he or she can possibly be. Every person in this world is special. Some persons being unique don’t imply that they have an advantage of physical beauty or money but, nonetheless, they have also developed special capabilities that make them unique. Each person is capable of achieving their heart's desire. In order to do so, they must ensure to invest energy into developing their potential to the fullest.

As a matter of fact, self-actualization is an ongoing process because it is not a fixed target that a person has to achieve but as the person progresses on the road to self-actualization, one realizes that one has more ability to develop further one’s potentialities and capabilities after reaching a certain milestone on the road.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Dana, thanks for your valuable comments. If we truly find our purpose in life, we will have real satisfaction and happiness in actualizing it. And, in addition, we will experience personal growth.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      This hub says everything iv'e been trying to say. I have noticed when some people become older in particular, a sense of sadness and incompleteness overcomes them. Most cannot articulate why they are unhappy. This is why I stress we must find our purpose which, is our true key to happiness. We caught up in everything the world demands of us and never discover what we need to do in order to have that feeling of self fulfillment. We take on jobs to pay the bills and get stuck in a rut. Even when you understand this it's still hard to get others to understand it.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for the comments.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I went to tons of links before this, what was I thgniink?

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I went to tons of links before this, what was I thgniink?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)