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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

What Is Self-Actualization? 13 Traits of Self-Actualized People

What Is Self-Actualization? 13 Traits of Self-Actualized People
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Have you ever heard of self-actualization? As someone who has been a personal development junkie for several years now, I was shocked to learn about self-actualization recently.

When I came across the term, I couldn’t help but think, “What is this self-actualization thing, and how have I gone so many years without hearing about it?”

Maybe you’re in the same boat. Perhaps you’ve read up on tons of other topics like self-limiting beliefs, how to gain more self-awareness, how to be more self-confident, but you’ve never heard of self-actualization.

Don’t fret! I’m going to give you a crash course on what self-actualization is and which 13 traits are most commonly found in a self-actualized person.

What is Self Actualization?

When I explore a new topic, I can’t help but start with examining the definition. This one comes from Google Dictionary:

“The realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.”

The concept of self-actualization came from Abraham Maslow. Maslow was an American psychologist who is best known for his hierarchy of innate human needs. Like all hierarchy’s, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is listed in order of priority and is often represented as a pyramid.

    At the bottom are physiological needs, such as food and water. Up from there is safety and then belongingness, which would include intimate relationships and friends. Above belongingness is esteem or things like prestige and the feeling of accomplishment.

    On the very top of Maslow’s hierarchy rests self-actualization. And as we’ve seen in the definition, this means that the highest of human needs is to achieve one’s full potential.

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    So, if becoming a self-actualized person means realizing our greatest talents and achieving our greatest potential, how do we go about doing that? How do we achieve self-actualization?

    13 Traits of a Self-Actualized Person

    Let’s start by examining the top 13 traits of a highly self-actualized person and work backward from there.

    1. They Practice Acceptance

    Self-actualized people accept themselves and other people as they are, and they have no expectations for how people should be otherwise. They understand that no one is perfect, and they accept their own quirks, desires, and flaws as well as those of others.

    While many people wish they were different in some way, self-actualized people do not. They love themselves for who they are, and they do not apologize or feel guilt or shame for who they are.

    2. They Are Authentic and True

    A self-actualized individual has a strong sense of who they are. They have a deep understanding of their beliefs and values, and they live in congruence with those beliefs and values.

    Because they accept and understand themselves, they are authentic and true to themselves. They do not pretend to be anything they are not. Not only are self-actualized people authentic, but they seek authenticity as well, both in people and in the world. They are quick to spot dishonesty.

    3. They Possess a Strong Sense of Realism

    Another characteristic of a self-actualized person is their sense of realism.

    To the average person, self-actualized people seem to have sound judgment or excellent gut instincts, but it’s far more than that. Their ability to logically and rationally evaluate the world allows them to spot dishonesties, fakes, and inconsistencies.

    Self-actualized people seek truth in everything they encounter, which gives then a keen ability to see behind the scenes more often than most people.

    4. They Live in the Here and Now

    Because self-actualized people are accepting and are grounded in reality, they are exceptionally good at living in the here and now. Self-actualized people do have goals, but they don’t focus on the future at the expense of the present.

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    For the self-actualized, the journey towards a goal is just as important as achieving the goal, if not slightly more so.

    5. They Are Autonomous and Independent

    Self-actualized people are highly independent and do not conform to the norms of society. They do not depend on people, the world, or any external factors for their happiness. Instead, they draw satisfaction from their own development and personal growth.

    They are comfortable being alone, and because they are so independent, self-actualized people are not bothered by the opinions that others may have about them. They accept themselves as they are, and the opinions of others cannot change that.

    6. They Have Excellent Moral Intuition

    Self-actualized people do not allow themselves to be molded by culture or by society. They have an excellent moral compass, and they are deliberate about their decisions. They reject what they see as bad or evil, and they adopt what they see as good.

    Because they are driven by their own moral intuition, they have a strong code of ethics that cannot be swayed by society.

    The self-actualized do not accept everything as black and white, right or wrong, They evaluate all sides of an issue and make their own decisions based on what they believe to be right and just.

    7. They Seek Growth and Development

    Self-actualized people not only draw happiness from personal growth, but they are also intrinsically motivated to develop their potential.

    They have moved beyond Maslow’s first four hierarchies are no longer motivated by basic human needs. They know that they are capable of more in life and they’re driven to see how much they can grow.

    They also view their growth as a tool to help more people, not just themselves.

    8. They are Problem-Solving, Humanitarians

    Self-actualized people have a genuine desire to help the human race. They are quick to spot problems in the world and, because they are problem solvers, they don’t hesitate to look for solutions.

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    This genuine desire to help is not rooted in personal gain, glory, recognition, or any other self-serving motive. Self-actualized people have a strong sense of purpose and want to leave the world better than they found it.

    9. They Have a Strong Sense of Purpose

    Because self-actualized people are humanitarians and they seek never-ending personal growth. They often times adopt a mission or purpose that is far beyond themselves or their own needs.

    This mission is typically meant to solve a problem for the good of all mankind and gives them a powerful sense of purpose. This purpose demands much of their energy, and they are more than happy to spend their time making a significant impact on the world.

    10. They Seek Peak Experiences

    Self-actualized people seek frequent peak experiences. These are not everyday experiences of joy—they are experiences that involve a heightened sense of wonder, awe, or ecstasy—a feeling of transcendence.[1]

    Peak performances tend to be highly significant to one’s life. They are fulfilling, thrilling, intrinsically rewarding, and in many cases, feel very spiritual.

    While rare, peak experiences can happen for anyone at any time, those who are self-actualized deliberately seek out these experiences routinely.

    11. They Embrace the Unknown

    While most people fear the unknown, self-actualized people embrace it. Self-actualized people understand that to grow as a person, you have to step beyond your comfort zone and into the unknown.

    Self-actualized people seek to reach their full potential, which means they have to explore the unknown. They cannot reach their full potential by staying where they are. They cannot cling to the familiar.

    They do not fear the unknown. Instead, the self-actualized welcome and embrace the unknown—they accept it and learn from it. They are not afraid of the many curve balls that life tends to throw their way.

    12. They Are Unconventional and Spontaneous

    Because they are not afraid of the unknown, self-actualized people tend to be very spontaneous and unconventional. While they are able to follow most social and cultural expectations, they have no problem doing their own thing when they decide it’s appropriate.

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    They do not feel confined by the norms of society and are willing to explore the unknown world beyond those expectations, even if the new experience is not a social norm.

    13. They Have a Thoughtful Sense of Humor

    Self-actualized people have a deep and thoughtful sense of humor. They are very good at finding the humor in most situations, and they enjoy laughing at themselves.

    On the other hand, they never use humor to embarrass or ridicule other people, and they never make jokes at the expense of others.

    The Path to Self-Actualization

    So there you have it: 13 traits that self-actualized people share. To get on the path to self-actualization, you can study these traits and seek to live a life that mirrors them.

    There’s no step-by-step plan to follow to become self-actualized. However, these 13 traits offer you a guide to becoming more self-actualized over time. Remember, becoming self-actualized is not a destination; it’s a journey.

    You can learn to be more present in your life, to accept yourself and those around you, and to be more spontaneous and unconventional. You can work towards finding your purpose in life, to becoming more humanitarian, and embracing the unknown.

    As you live your life, focus on improving these 13 areas of your life, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming self-actualized.

    Good luck!

    More About Self-Discovery

    Featured photo credit: Denys Nevozhai via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Very Well Mind: Peak Experiences in Psychology

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    Austin Bollinger

    Austin is the founder, blogger, and podcast host at Daily New Years. He's on a mission to help people identify, set, and crush their goals.

    The Ultimate List of 29 Life Goals for Living a Fulfilling Life What Is Self Awareness (And How to Increase Yours) What Is Self-Actualization? 13 Traits of Self-Actualized People How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy
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    George Lorimer contends,

    “It’s good to have money and all the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.”

    In reality, everyone likes money. It has enough power to determine happy or sad moments for some people. This happens partially because money can trigger your emotions. However, there are many invaluable things money can’t buy.

    Money will allow you to experience the luxury of things like a Tesla, an estate, or first-class tickets to anywhere in the world. But, money cannot buy you everything. There are aspects of your life, yourself, relationships, and encounters that forever will be priceless.

    So, what are 20 invaluable things money can’t buy?

    1. Love

    You must have seen this one coming because of how much it is preached throughout life.

    Love is a genuine action with beautiful emotions that develops between people who know each other to an extent.

    People fall in “love” for different reasons. Love is unconditional and keeps people in connection with each other.

    Money may earn you attraction and attention, but love? Not at all.

    2. True Friends

    Everyone likes to have money because there’s almost no way to survive if we didn’t have a cent or two. And it’s only normal for people to associate themselves with people who are making efforts to make the money.

    But sometimes, people are only attracted to what you have and what you can give; not who you are.

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    It works just like love. When your money runs low, true friends should remain.

    3. Family

    We all know that family consists of a father, mother, and children, so let’s consider the individual elements.

    A father is only a father as a result of the relationship between him and his child. Can money buy a relationship?

    The same concept applies to the mother and child and if a relationship with a father cannot be bought, then neither can one with a mother nor child be bought.

    Even if it’s an extended family, you still have to have a relationship with someone who connects you to the other person. It’s not rocket science.

    4. Wisdom

    Someone defined wisdom as “the mother of knowledge,” and how does one acquire knowledge? He or she receives it from experience.

    So, if you cannot buy experience, then you cannot buy knowledge. And if you cannot buy both, then wisdom is definitely out of your league. You have to study, meet people and just experience life to earn it.

    5. Happiness

    In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt,

    “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

      Mrs. Roosevelt even acknowledges things money can’t buy. She emphasizes that money can’t buy happiness.

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      Despite all the money a person may have in the bank, he or she still may not have the happiness that we all crave and deserve. Money cannot afford happiness.

      6. Health

      Money can help us afford the best health care services, but health itself? Not exactly.

      We’ve seen millionaires and billionaires lose their lives to a range of diseases that all their money put together could not cure.

      The Dalai Lama said,

      “What surprises me most is ‘man’ because he sacrifices his health to make money then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.”

        So, besides the fact that it doesn’t buy us health, sometimes the pursuit of it takes good health away from us.

        7. Long life

        During birthdays, we wish people a long, prosperous and healthy life. Money would be the best gift to send to loved ones to buy these things.

        But since you can’t, you wish these individuals the best life has to offer. You may also give them fun and loving experiences without money.

        8. Time

        The universe has been impartial enough to give us all 24 hours to do whatever we want to. But nobody, with all his or her wealth, has been able to purchase an extra hour, not even a second.

        9. Respect

        They say it is reciprocal. In other words, you can only get respect when you give respect and the last time we checked, there was no money for respect.

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        So if you can’t give something in any currency, then you can’t receive it in any currency either.

        10. Character

        Character is the sum of a person’s attitude. Attitude has to do with the way you behave and although money can influence a person’s character, it cannot buy a good one.

        11. Confidence

        Any “confidence” built on money really isn’t confidence. It’s a shade of pride and usually ends in sheer show-off. That, dear friend, is not confidence. Confidence is a quality you build with time.

        12. Beauty

        There are countless beauty products in the market and all of them cost money. These beauty products can only enhance beauty by covering up blemishes and some go as far as altering some features of the body.

        But none has been able to change the natural beauty of anybody. If you consider surgery, then you are still altering the natural features, not changing it. You can’t buy good looks from your mother’s womb. It’s just not possible.

        13. Sense of Humor

        Some individuals are born with the gift to make others laugh. Most of the comedians around became wealthy as a result of their sense of humor.

        The humor did not come after the money. Nobody became funny overnight because of a swell in their bank account.

        14. Trust

        Why do you trust people? Because they’ve proved themselves to be trustworthy by character. Their character earned them that trust.

        15. Talent

        Talent is a natural skill that has to be discovered and honed. Just like beauty and every other thing that comes naturally, talent cannot be purchased.

        16. Purpose

        People attend conferences and seminars to help them discover their purpose in life. These conferences may be free or paid but the money did not buy them the purpose.

        They already had the purpose way before realizing that they needed to find it. Lots of poor people discovered their purpose and leveraged it to become rich. This goes on to illustrate that money can come as a result of finding purpose but it cannot get you the purpose.

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        17. Satisfaction

        If there’s one thing that money can never buy, it is satisfaction. Even if money finds a way to get any of the other items on this list, it can never afford satisfaction. Money increases our desire for more money. The more the money, the more the hunger.

        18. Empathy

        Never have we ever heard of a man who bought the ability to empathize and never would we ever because empathy is a feeling. Feelings cannot be bought.

        19. Peace

        Why do people employ sophisticated security systems? Because they want to have peace when they go to bed but even with all of that, peace has never been received in exchange for money. It comes as a result of a clear conscience and a good heart.

        Ironically, money may bring enemies which would end up disrupting your peace.

        20. A Good Name

        A proverb says “a good name is better than silver.” This is like comparing two different things: a name and silver (which could be referred to as money).

        What is a “name?” It is a form of identity and how is it received? Your way of life and character helps people to receive you.

        Conclusion

          Overall, these things are invaluable and confidently show that money can’t buy everything.

          While this is the case, money is necessary, so don’t quit your job just because it can’t buy you happiness. And do spend your money and time wisely.

          Also, go out of your way to make people happy. Their money can’t provide this needed emotion. Do not lose or mismanage your health trying to get money.

          More About Happiness

          Featured photo credit: Yingchou Han via unsplash.com

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