farther reaches of human natureAbraham Maslow is famous for his hierarchy of human needs known as Maslow’s pyramid. While these needs exist in every role we have in life and we may be a different levels in different roles, humans tend to satisfy these needs roughly in order.

In ascending order, Maslow’s pyramid:

– Physical urges such as oxygen, water, food, sleep, shelter, sex
– Safety and security needs such as personal and financial security, health and well-being
– Love and belonging in a social group, friends and family, intimacy
– Esteem, social status, success, achievement. Esteem may be “lower” or “higher”: lower is from without, such as fame, attention, prestige, recognition. Higher comes from within: self-esteem, self-acceptance
– Self-actualization: the need to reach one’s full potential, to be the most we can be

In his final book, “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature,” Maslow describes key steps to attaining self-actualization:

– Self-honesty, taking responsibility for what you say and do (behaving your way out, not trying to talk your way out)
– Identifying ego defenses,  finding the courage to release them
– Determining your personal destiny. Daring to be different and non-conformist
– Choose growth experiences over fear-based avoidance
– Grow in self-awareness, introspection, tune into your true self, act in concert
– Creating an ongoing process to reach your fullest potential. Doing the internal/external work required to realize your vision.
– Fostering the conditions for having peak experiences, where we think, act, and feel more clearly and are more loving and accepting of others.
– Living fully, vividly in the present moment,  with full concentration and total absorption

Closing quotes:

“What a man can be, he must be.”  — Abraham Maslow; 1908–1970, “Motivation and Personality,” (1954), New York, NY: Harper. pp. 91.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”  — Joseph Campbell; 1904-1987

“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”  — Abraham Maslow

This post inspired by Phil Jackson’s mention of  “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature,” in his autobiographical “Eleven Rings”, p. 122, Kindle edition.