Self actualisation is a school of thought which emerged in the 1950s, spearheaded by Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist. His theories turned psychology on its head from a prior focus of studying the intricacies of mental illness, instead to nurturing positive mental health.
Self actualisation is the concept of fulfilling your potential – harnessing the skills that lie within you for maximum effect and success. This could be in any area of day-to-day life be it creative, professional, intellectual or social.
A person that is self actualised is thought to be at the top of their game, succeeding in their chosen fields; they’re the game changers; the innovators; the history makers. Famous examples of those thought to have achieved self-actualisation include Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandala and Albert Einstein.
In reality, the minority of us are completely and fully self actualised. Most people are too busy and preoccupied with dealing with the demands of life – the school run, the team meeting, the endless emails.
However, we can all strive to be more successful; achieve more; reach our goals, however small they may be. By taking on board some self actualisation traits, you can push past the demands of life and tap into your inner potential. You can be the best possible version of yourself.
If you feel you have some unfulfilled goals, untapped talents or skills going to waste, self actualisation could benefit you. While fulfilling your potential is each individual’s personal journey, there are some recognised traits that self actualised people have been found to share.
Below we’ve collated 8 self actualisation traits, and explore they can make you more successful…
#1 Self Acceptance…
According to the school of positive psychology, where the theory of self actualisation originated from, self actualised people completely accept themselves and others for who they are.
They are non-judgemental towards others, and whilst they strive for greatness, they don’t beat themselves up about their own failings or flaws. They can laugh at themselves, but don’t ridicule others.
#2 Break The Sheep Mentality…
Self actualised individuals don’t let social expectations or norms confine their thinking or behaviour. They always see the glass as half full, the possibilities in life beyond the norm, the average, the sheep mentality of the masses. This allows them to enjoy life to the full, have fun and embrace peak experiences. They’re spontaneous, and live for the moment.
#3 Not Afraid Of The Unexpected…
By taking away the fear of change or the unexpected, they open themselves up to new experiences. They learn from mistakes and failure without letting it hold them back for the future, which helps you bounce back when things might not go to plan.
Some people just naturally go against the grain. They don’t intentionally aim to be different, it’s just not in their nature to conform or follow the crowd. This has been found to be a self actualisation trait – when people break away from societal norms, they open up their true creativity or capabilities.Why not give this a try next time you’re wondering how to approach a task. Try a different method, unchartered ground might prove fruitful.
#5 Realistic & Logical…
While they are free spirited, self actualised people maintain a realistic view of the world and themselves. They are logical, rather than emotionally driven.
They are philosophical, so rather than letting themselves get frustrated or stressed they are more so solution orientated.
Another trait of self actualisation is independence. Self actualised people enjoy solitude and seek out time for themselves. They don’t necessarily need other people around them to feel comfortable.
#7 Enjoy The Journey…
Being self actualised means you are able to maintain a fresh enthusiasm for the world and the experiences around you. You focus on the journey, not the destination. Self actualised people don’t let themselves get world weary but look around in wonder, appreciating the beauty surrounding them.
#8 Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…
Lastly on our list, self actualised people are not troubled by small setbacks. They see the big picture, and are able to dust themselves off and start again. This shows resilience and the ability to bounce back from adversity.
How To Achieve Self Actualisation Traits…
If all of this doesn’t sound like your natural personality, don’t worry. Anyone can achieve some level of self actualisation with work and time and it takes practice to improve mindset and outlook. It will open up new levels of achievement, resilience and positivity.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s some areas to work on…
Focus On Your Strengths
Instead of worrying about what you’re not so good at, focus on what you do well. Do what interests you; what lights a fire within you. It will help you to focus on becoming better at the things you’re naturally good at.
Write A Personal Plan
In the same way you would write a strategy or action plan for projects at work, you can write a self actualisation plan. This will help to crystallise your hopes, dreams and the person you want to become. Try breaking it down into weeks so that it’s more achievable for you.
Live In The Moment
If change usually has you breaking out in a cold sweat, take away the fear. Make small changes to push you out of your comfort zone. Try to be more spontaneous, take more risks.
Spend Time Alone
If you’re not someone who naturally enjoys being alone, try doing some activities alone that you wouldn’t normally. Being comfortable in your own company is a valuable life skill.
Work On Your Self Worth
Try to accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you deal with them that counts.
Seek Out New Experiences
Try something new – something that brings your senses to life or allows you to express your creativity to its fullest.
Stop Worrying About What Other People Think
Fear of judgement by others controls our behaviour in society. Try to let go of some of this and follow your own path, whether that’s dressing how you like, expressing yourself in your own unique way or trying that new hobby – however you can stay true to you.
While we can’t all be the next Einstein, we can all, step by step, become more self actualised and achieve what we are really capable of. If you feel stuck in a rut, blinkered by to-do lists and not sure what your next step might be, then it’s time to stop.
By freeing your thinking from the ‘getting things done’ mindset, you can actually achieve more and unleash your true potential.
If you’d like to find out more about reaching your full potential, I’d love to help. Sign up below for my free video series on The CPR Method and see how it can transform your business…