It’s often stated that in order to reach full potential certain basic needs first have to be met. As these needs are fulfilled we can move forwards. But what exactly are these needs and how do you reach your full potential?
The Needs Pyramid
In 1943, the hierarchy of human needs was put forward by psychologist Abraham Maslow, and it’s still influential today. Maslow said that people have five sets of needs. These come in a particular order (or level) and each level must be satisfied before we can move up to the next. Typically, these needs are represented as a pyramid:
At the bottom of the hierarchy of needs, you will find physiological needs. These are the most basic needs for life, such as air, shelter, water, food, clothing, warmth, and sleep. They are essential to life, therefore they are essential needs. They are the foundation for all other needs.
Once your physiological needs are met, you can address safety needs. Safety or security needs include employment, property, bodily security, resources, and family. You satisfy these needs by staying safe and secure.
Third, in the hierarchy of needs, you will find belonging and love. This is the social aspect of humanity, it’s about connections, friendships, family, love, intimacy, affection, and acceptance. We are social creatures so we thrive when we have strong social ties and regular human interaction. The deprivation of these needs can result in loneliness, isolation, and eventually depression.
Self-esteem is your feelings of confidence and self-worth. You meet these needs when you have respect, respect others, have self-belief, reach achievements, and find independence. Self-awareness has grown in popularity, but it isn’t a passing fad. It’s a valuable asset we should all be working toward.
When you improve your levels of self-awareness, you move that much closer to finding your self-esteem. You can build your confidence in a variety of ways, from learning to love your body, to holding onto your values or focusing on the positives.
Finally, we reach self-actualization. This is when you reach a point where you have realized your full potential. These needs increase as you meet more needs. It’s motivational, you reach new levels with each met need and it drives you to attain more.
What does self-actualization look like in reality? While it won’t look the same for everyone, certain features are standard.
- They practice self-acceptance.
- Excited to live daily life
- Problem-solvers when faced with a challenge, obstacle, or problem. They don’t just use their skills to solve problems, they’re also happy to help others do the same.
- They have independent feelings and thoughts.
- They are realistic.
- They view the world differently from the people around them.
Reach Your Full Potential
If you want to reach your full potential, you should focus on a few key points.
To be self-actualized, you need to live life as your authentic self. Embrace who you are based on your experiences and your heart. Take a moment to appreciate all of the little things in life, all of those little steps that move you closer to realizing your potential. Practice acceptance. When you do, you will feel less anxious about the situations in life outside of your control.
There’s another important aspect of acceptance. When you practice acceptance, you shift your thoughts to reality rather than wishful. While wishful thinking is nice and you should dream big, you need to understand how unpredictable the future is. Acceptance will help you get to grips with realistic thoughts.
Get in touch with your compassion levels, both for yourself and others. Be more spontaneous. You can embrace routine to structure your life, but you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, take risks, or step outside your comfort zone. Get comfortable with your life, with the space you’re in now. You can find satisfaction with your family, friends, job, and life without leaving yourself out.
Self-actualization is about being the best you and as a result, you inspire others to do the same. Not everyone achieves self-actualization.