Life offers vast possibility. This is the compensation for our suffering. Expansion becomes our catharsis. Happiness has been described as the movement towards fulfilling our potential.
Abraham Maslow, the psychologist who taught us about the hierarchy of needs, called it self-actualizing. He made it the tip of his pyramid. He said, “what a man can be, he must be.” This is how we occupy heaven on earth. The practice, the discipline, the mastery of recognizing one’s potential and growing to fill it. We need not achieve perfection nor possess wealth nor earn fame to self-actualize, we need simply to try our best. We need to be in it for the process. We need not wait, we can have it today.
Wayne Dyer outlined Maslow’s rules for self-actualizing in this talk with Deepak Chopra. He said there are three things that separate self-actualizers from the rest of the population:
- They are independent from the good opinion of other people.
- They are detached from outcome.
- They have no investment in power or control over others.
Personally, the first principle poses the biggest challenge. When I feel that uncomfortable unease regarding the judgments of others, I repeat: I am independent of the good opinion of others.
The second is a necessary reminder. I can write without expecting a certain outcome. I can post without hoping for a certain number of page views. I can parent without expecting society (or my kids) to give me recognition for my hard and heartful work.
With humble gratitude, I believe I’ve mastered the third principle; evidence that I’m on my way somewhere good.
Do you feel challenged by any of these principles? Which one(s)?
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