Is there a short cut to Self-Actualization?


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Maslow must have studied human behavior really well to have propounded the theory of hierarchy of needs. To refresh you with the theory that came about in the 1940s, human behavior is motivated to fulfill needs in the order of Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem and Self-Actualization.

It is the logical order that keeps the wheels of human interactions going. If you are struggling to fend for yourself, you are always worried about where the next meal shall come from. Once your hunger is satisfied and you have taken care of it, not just for today but also for the near future, you look to the next need of shelter and companionship. Next, you want to defend what you have built for yourself. Living a relatively secure life, you crave for recognition and a status in society. Most of that is achieved with your professional position, extended further into societal placement. All along, it is primarily about elevating yourself in your own eyes. Finally, when you have it all; then, the need to fulfill your intrinsic needs comes into play. This is where your creativity, your interest in self-expression through your passion to the best of your abilities peaks. The goal at this point is personal satisfaction and happiness, oblivious of all that it could entail in terms of name, fame and money. Sometimes, this is also called the point of spiritual realization.

Now, coming back to my question, is there a short cut to self-actualization?

Maslow believed that in order to fulfill the need for self-actualization, all other needs would have to be not only satisfied, but also mastered. On this particular note, I differ. I believe there is a short cut to self-actualization. There are several amongst us that pursue a passion as a profession for the love of it. This allows for their creativity to peak since they enjoy what they do. Happiness and bliss become perennial. Self Esteem is also at its peak or they are oblivious to it. Name, fame & money follow when you excel at what you do. It’s often said that in order to be successful, pursue your passion, not money or other emoluments for when you obsess over them, success eludes you. Every one out to achieve success, dismisses the struggle they go through. They recognize the sacrifices made but do not pay much attention to it, when in pursuit of what they enjoy. Ultimately success happens. In more cases than not, they are oblivious to even success. They practice a passion for the love of it and success, which in worldly terms means the fulfillment of all the other needs follows through. Even if it doesn’t follow through to the extent where you can say that they have mastered the other needs, they really don’t care for they are absorbed in practicing their passion and that itself is success for them. That is self-actualization and it can be independent of the other needs.

As someone said, it’s not the destination but the journey that needs to be experienced and enjoyed. What more can be a better outcome than this?

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Innovation is an accident!


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The act of innovation and the results thereby are always by accident. And, that’s when they are the sweetest.

Innovation is the after effect, the result of creativity. And when is creativity at its best?

Well, there are two schools of thought. One believes that you need to have experienced certain hardship, been under pressure or difficult circumstances and as you toil to get out of this situation, you innovate. You think and act in creative ways to solve the issue at hand and come up with some very novel ways of doing so.

Another school of thought believes that true innovation, for that matter quality innovation happens in an environment that helps nurture creativity. True breeding grounds of creativity need to be established and encouraged where an issue to be solved is first recognized; then, those enlisted to act on solving the issue are freed up of any other responsibilities and are charged with focusing on this one thing.

More often that not, history has shown us that true innovation happens under pressure, when you are trying to solve an issue you are struggling with. However, the latter is true as well, but what happens there is not creative innovation to solve an issue, but more of solution enhancement and optimization; albeit creative.

Let me enumerate through some examples.

The invention of the round wheel was innovation that happened to fulfill a need, transport; the improvisation of the wheel to make it last longer, go faster, adapt to different vehicles, etc. falls under solution enhancement.

Connecting people through e-mail and Facebook during this Internet age was innovation addressing a need, social connectivity. Twitter, chat and the different facelifts we see of Facebook are improvisation and solution enhancement.

Generally speaking, the birth of innovation to solve an issue happens purely due to the urge to solve the issue; there is not much needed in terms of money and establishments to do that for its entirely based on frugality and the excitement to see something new. What follows after that, demands a lot more in terms of money and material to improvise and scale.

Not to say that one is righteous than the other, we all know that the world needs both.

Creativity, whether in profession or hobby is the spark that makes what you do purposeful. Where do you find your fulfillment?  In the former or the latter? Once you can answer that, you will know where your passion, your heart lies and where you can prosper and thrive.

“Out of Sight” is “Out of Mind”


It is said “out of sight” is “out of mind”. Don’t you agree?

As a professional, the day job each one of us carries on with is an everyday reiteration of this. You are only as good as what your contribution is for the day. Yesterday is in the past and tomorrow didn’t arrive soon enough. Hence, it’s important to ensure that you are at your very best each day. Bring your best attitude, your acumen and collective experience to execute on your expertise each day. Never rest on the laurels of a day gone by.

At the same time, ensure that you leverage your accomplishments of the past. Carry them with you and reflect upon them yourself as well as reflect them on others you interact with to ensure that you gain the maximum benefit from your past laurels. Although, these are from a time gone by, they are useful to provide a vision of what you have to offer and are capable of. Hence, never let your past accomplishments go stale. It’s not just for you to value but to reflect on others so they value them as much, thus helping you make significant strides in things you are set out to do.

Tell your story to anyone who is willing to lend an ear. Get excited about your story each time you relate it. Excitement is contagious. Your passion will rub off on your audience and will benefit you in the long run. Remember, you are your best spokesperson. Passion and Attitude you carry will pave the way for greater accomplishments you are set out to achieve. After all, the journey needs to be as wonderful as the destination.

In your personal life, it is vital to ensure that you live and renew your relationships each day. Never take a relationship for granted. The more you put into one, the more you get out of it. Once in a while, get nostalgic. Remember those who have had an influence on you and continue to do so. At the same time, there might be certain bitter experiences you’d rather forget. Do so, but remember the lesson you derived from such experiences.

Keep the best of your past and most of your current fresh, in your mind and your heart for these shape the future you aspire for.

As I said, out of sight is out of mind.