One of my most memorable moments as a doctoral student in the 1960s occurred during a seminar in an advanced course on counseling psychology, taught by the most prestigious professor at the university. I, along with 11 others, studied the research and conclusions on self-actualization, including the specific characteristics of highly functioning people. These exceptional people, some of them historical figures, were called self-actualizers. The purpose of this advanced seminar was to teach us how to identify these traits and to help others embrace them to live fuller and more deeply passionate lives.
The traits of these self-actualizers included appreciation for beauty, sense of purpose, resistance to enculturation, welcoming the unknown, high enthusiasm, inner-directedness, detachment from outcome, independence of the good opinion of others, and absence of a compelling need to exert control over others. Each week we discussed the strategies we could employ as therapists to encourage clients to become self-actualized. At the halfway point of the semester, our distinguished professor gave the midterm examination, which consisted of only the following question: Continue Reading
Abraham Maslow spent a good part of his adult life researching and writing about the idea of self-actualization. He described the small percentage of people he called “self-actualizing” as living at the extraordinary level of consciousness. I vividly recall Dr. Maslow’s assertion that one of the highest qualities these self-actualizers possess is the inclination to be independent of the good opinion of others.
I’m deeply attracted to this idea of living extraordinarily—independent of the good opinion of others—stressing it in many of the books and recordings I’ve produced, starting in 1971. Dr. Maslow passed away on June 8, 1970, the same day I received my doctorate degree—I’ve often felt that in some mystical way, he was passing the baton to me.
One of Dr. Maslow’s most significant attributes of living a self-actualized life is self-trust. When you trust yourself to decide your destiny, you don’t allow externals to discourage or influence you. You have faith, and faith is attained through complete trust and confidence in the power of the one universal mind, which you are inextricably a part of. It is the God-realized you that placed the thoughts and feelings that represent your destiny into your mind and body.
One of the reasons I’m able to write about the hidden power of manifestation buried deep within each of us is that during childhood I unconsciously practiced these ideas while in foster homes—and they simply became a part of who I am. Continue Reading
Comfort and luxury are usually the chief requirements of life for your ego—its top priorities tend to be accumulations, achievements, and the approval of others. Consider a new alternative for what makes you happy, one that soars beyond the superficial demands of the ego. The only thing that you need for this state of joy is something to be passionate about. Something that speaks only to you…that gets you tingling inside with excitement…that will not go away…that radiates within you…that sends you into a frenzy of good feeling because it makes you feel purposeful and connected to your Source of being. It doesn’t matter what it is. The only requirement is that you feel intensely about it and are willing to act with enthusiasm, awakening the sleeping God within you.
As Abraham Maslow once observed about self-actualizing people: “They must be what they can be.” Take a moment to think about what you can be, and contrast that with what you’ve chosen to be up until now. So what can you be? Perhaps you have an idea you’ve been carrying around with you for decades, such as a book that you know needs to be written, which only you have the wisdom to create. Can you get so passionate about realizing your vision that you activate the presence of God to assist you in co-creating your dreams? Remember, the mere presence of that passion, nothing more, is evidence that the energy of the Divine creating spirit is alive and well in you. That’s all you need—just the willingness to allow your passion to speak up and awaken from its dormant status. You don’t have to know how to activate your long-buried enthusiasm or precisely what to focus on. Continue Reading