Less than 1% of society will ever self-actualize!
“Most men (and women) lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Self-actualization means “Expressing one's creativity, quest for spiritual enlightenment, pursuit of knowledge, and the desire to give to society," these are examples of self-actualization.
It also means arriving to a point in your life where you are independent, self-reliant and able to use your critical thinking skills. It involves a sense of being self-motivated and keen on accomplishing your tasks and goals without the need for external validation or approval.
It involves creating congruence between the ideal self, which subjectively someone holds in their mind, and the real self. The idea is to work towards your authentic ideal and reach your full potential in life.
Research shows that when people live lives that are different from their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be as happy as those whose goals and lives match. For example, someone who has inherent potential to be a great artist or teacher may never realize his/her talents if their energy is focused on becoming a doctor or an engineer.
Unlock Your Potential
The key to unlocking your potential is within your strengths, skills, and values. These are what make up your authentic self and are the best resources you have to reach your full potential.
There are 3 steps that I always recommend taking when you're on the journey to self-actualization:
Identify and eliminate your limiting beliefs.
Identify your strengths, skills, and values.
Create an authentic goal.
1) Identify & Eliminate Your Limiting Beliefs.
If you do not understand your true self, even your limiting beliefs, you will never be able to self actualize. Trying to work towards self actualization with limiting beliefs is essentially like building your structure on unsecure ground, the foundation (willpower) can only support your efforts for so long. They are the barrier that separates your real self from your ideal self.
Here are 3 steps for a method I like to call introspection and self-identification:
Be aware of your thoughts. Before performing any task, take a second to quickly scan your mind for what thoughts begin to pop up.
Identify the cannot’s, is’s and I am’s. Limiting beliefs are negative, rigid convictions that you have that usually begin with “I cannot..”, “I am…” or “Money (e.g.) is…”
Write them down. Carry around a notepad or use the notes app on your phone and write down all the negative thoughts that come to your mind.
The first thing that you must understand is that these are beliefs that were rooted in you from childhood. They were tools and beliefs you created to help yourself survive the experiences/circumstances you were faced with as a child. They are NOT a true identification of your abilities today; you have free-will to change your circumstances.
You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.
2) Identify Your Strengths, Skills and Values.
Once you have overcome your limiting beliefs and created a solid foundation on which to build, it is time to build your self-awareness. The key things to figure out are your personal strengths, skills and core values.
Everyone has an inherent and unique set of strengths and skills that they are naturally more proficient in than others. For example, Strategic Thinking, Leadership, Humility, Physical Strength, Enthusiasm and so on. Equally, we have our own personal values which are considerations or things that we hold to a high importance in our lives. For example, Honesty, Freedom, Kindness, Family and so on. These are your guiding principles, your blueprint, for effective decision making in your life; decisions that you’ll always be happy with, no matter the outcome.
3) Create an Authentic Goal
Now that you have self-awareness and you believe in your abilities 100%, it is time to create that goal that you want to achieve. Knowing yourself, you must select a goal that plays to your strengths and that is aligned with your values.
When a goal plays to your strengths and aligns with your values, it will be more attainable and you will adhere to the journey longer. This is because it is better aligned with your true self and authentic desires in life.
This is the best way to close the gap between your ideal self and your real self. Essentially, they become the same person as you now have a purpose to work towards and believe 100% in your ability to accomplish it. That is self-actualization.
There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.