Advertising
Advertising

Most People Have Great Potential. But Very Few of Them Unleash It

Most People Have Great Potential. But Very Few of Them Unleash It

Has any authority figure ever come up to you and told you that you have the potential for so much more, but are not reaching for it? Or have you yourself ever felt that despite achieving all that you have, there’s a lot in you that needs to be explored and reached for, but you are pulling yourself back somehow? The first step to self-actualization is often realizing this. Once you have done so, the actual journey can begin.

Why Do We Need Self Actualization?

Self-actualization is a theory created by Abraham Maslow that “represents growth of an individual toward fulfillment of the highest needs; those for meaning in life, in particular.” [1].

Basically, think of who or what you are today and what you could be, ideally, down the road that leads you to search for the truth in yourself, for the true potential in yourself and for the all the good and altruistic tendencies in you. A person who has achieved self-actualization knows all of life’s meaning and purpose – be it basic needs or a higher calling.

According to Maslow, self-actualization is a step-by-step process: first you satisfy your basic needs (things like money, shelter, food), then comes the need to satisfy the social desires (love, friends, family) and then comes the most difficult step: to be as self-confident a person, as mentally and internally strong, as you can be, no matter the challenges or circumstances. So the need for self-actualization is simple – to be the best that we can be.

Advertising

    Essential Skills Needed To Reach Self-Actualization

    Perhaps the first step to self-actualization is the fact that you are not yet your ideal self, but that’s okay. You first need to learn to accept who you truly are, however lacking you may be in certain aspects. [2]. The second thing to realize is the path to self-actualization is perhaps a winding, interesting but never-ending road – there’s always more to learn, even if it’s about your own, true self.

    So here go the essential skills you need, and the steps you need to take to reach self-actualization, as guided by Maslow [3]:

    Skill 1: Accept Yourself Holistically, And Just Be You

    You are unique, be it in your achievements, talents or even fallacies. There isn’t anyone like you – and the mistakes you made, they are nothing but milestones in your way to success.

    Advertising

    Be who you truly are and want to be. Cloaking your true nature in a bid to please others will work only so much, and for so long. Ultimately, the ones around you need to see and accept the real you but before that you have to see and accept the real you, yourself. [4] Don’t be or say or do what others want you to, think about what is right and wrong – and always follow the path that seems right to you. The key thing to do here is to remember that it has to be selfless, ego free and on the path of righteousness.

    Remember not to compare yourself to anyone – no matter how much better, more successful or simply “more” someone else is. You are you, and you are your best canvas. Remember that you write your own destiny, and that you are the one in control of who you want to be. Tell yourself that, in front of the mirror if you need to.

    Skill 2: Be Honest, Brutally, With Yourself And Gently With Others

    The decisions you make in life need to come from an honest and truthful place – be true to yourself always. Not to say that being dishonest with others is a good thing, but if you start lying to yourself, there’s no end to the vicious cycle you’ll end up trapping yourself in. What you do, why you did it and what you will do next all needs to come from a place of stark honesty and nothing else. [5]

    Maintain a diary of your actions and their explanations. Many of us often tell little white lies about our lives to others. The reason mostly being that we are dissatisfied with ourselves, or ashamed of something we feel we lack, and so we often cover-up and hedge and pretend to be something we are not. Problem is that when we lie to others, we end up believing it ourselves and then the line between truth and honesty tends to get blurred. The path to self-actualization is paved with bricks of truth, always.

    Advertising

    Skill 3: Think Of Challenges As Obstacles, Not Insurmountable Walls

    Sooner or later you will face resistance in your solitary walk to self-actualization. People may not like that you have changed, they may not like that you are choosing to pull away from them or the life you were leading earlier – and they will try to pull you back. Still others will brand you as stubborn, or principled, or too idealistic or just plain wacko.

    You have to let these things slide off of you. You have to rise above it all and not be bothered by it. Do not change your way in case challenges are thrown your way, do not shift to the path of least resistance to “smooth” things over. No one said that this road was going to be easy, but the results and the journey in itself will make you the happiest you can ever be. [6]

    Skill 4: Live In the Moment, And Be Grateful For All That You Are

    People on the path of self-actualization have truly understood that their time on this planet is finite, as is everybody’s. And this finiteness is also very dubious: you never know what the next moment will bring, or when you’d suddenly meet your Maker. Living in each and every moment is one way to ensure that when it is your time to go, you go with nary regret. [7]

    Remember to be grateful for all the little things in life – the sun on your face, the fragrance of rain-wet earth, the loved ones in your life, all the good things that happened to you and all the bad things too (for they made you learn and rise up to the occasion) and of course, for just being you.

    Advertising

    Skill 5: Never Stop Questioning or Learning, Ever

    The meaning of life, for people who have reached self-actualization or are well on their way to it, is a never ending quest. This quest is not materialistic or even ambitious in its nature, rather, it is simply a thirst for knowledge, for self-development and for being better than who you were a day, hour or even minute ago. [8]

    People who want to reach self-actualization have already accepted the best and the worst about themselves. Now they are on road to better themselves, to help someone along the way if they can, and to make a positive change in the world if they so can. They know, understand and accept that there is no such thing as perfection and that life, despite all the challenges and hardships, is a beautiful gift meant to be enjoyed to the fullest in the literal sense of knowledge too.

    The Pitfalls That You Need To Avoid On The Path To Self-Actualization

    People on the path to self-actualization have learnt to take failure in their stride, accept and even delight in their imperfections and have a control over their emotions. [9] Here’s what not to do:

    • Stop mulling on your failures or “deficiencies”: No one is perfect, accept that and accept yourself.
    • Stop “not knowing”: Ignorance is as big a sin – learn about yourself, the world and keep the quest on.
    • Nip that self-pity: So you didn’t achieve a goal or two or ten – shake it off and start striving again. Feeling sorry for yourself will not get you anywhere.
    • Kill your ego: Your ego and your high opinion of yourself will get you nowhere if you want to be on the path to self-actualization. Kill your ego and be as selfless as possible.
    • Do not be too materialistic: No, we are not asking you to give up your worldly possessions or pursuits. But don’t make them your sole goal, there has to be a higher calling than that sometimes.

    All in all, if you stay true to yourself and your beliefs, try to be as good and morally upright a person that you can be and keep on the quest to be a better person – you are on a good road to self-actualization, and will soon reach your goals. Remember that is not the end, just a great new beginning!

    Reference

    More by this author

    Rima Pundir

    Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating What Is the Barre Workout and How Much It Can Benefit You Only 8% Of People Achieve Their New Year’s Goals, Here’s How To Be One Of Them Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn. There’s No Such Thing Called Failure. Anxiety Isn’t About Worrying Too Much, But Caring Too Much

    Trending in Psychology

    1 20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About 2 11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind 3 4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting 4 How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing 5 How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

    20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

    Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

    Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

    Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

      If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

      The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

      Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

      There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

      Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

      Advertising

      Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

      Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

      Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

      • The idea for Google -Larry Page
      • Alternating current generator -Tesla
      • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
      • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
      • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

      …and many, many more.

      Fact #4: Premonition dreams

      There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

      You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

      • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
      • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
      • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
      • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

      Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

      Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

      Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

      Advertising

      Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

      In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

      Fact #7: Sexual dreams

      The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

      Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

        Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

        Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

        • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
        • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
        • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

        Fact #9: Dream drug

        There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

        Fact #10 Dream-catcher

        Advertising

          The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

          Fact #11: Increased brain activity

          You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

          Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

          As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

          Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

          In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

          Fact #13: Pets dream too

            Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

            Advertising

            Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

            Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

            Fact #15: Blind people dream too

            Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

            Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

              It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

              Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

              Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

              Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

              You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

              Fact #19: Gender differences

              Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

              Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

              As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Read Next