Self-realization is an expression used in physiology, psychology, philosophy and piety. By general understanding, it is the “fulfillment by oneself, of the possibilities of one’s character or personality”. This is also referred to as self-actualization.
“What a man can be, he must be. This need, we may call self-actualization,” wrote Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist, who lived between 1908 and 1970.
Most, if not all, of us, would be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, depicted by a pyramid.
What a man can be, he must be! We all have potential. And we have a lifetime to realize this potential. Arguably, though, a short lifetime.
Of course, it is reality, and even pragmatism, that we focus first on our physiological, safety and belongingness-love needs. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do!
We also pursue our need for self-esteem. We work hard and apply our minds to achieve objectives. Each of us, and rightfully so, feel good about our academic, professional and personal accomplishments. Progress on these fronts, overcoming challenges along the way, brings us well-deserved recognition too. Without a shred of doubt, this is definitely walking up the path towards self-actualization.
It does help to be at the right place at the right time. Call it luck, but as it is said, one does make one’s own luck. It helps to have good guidance. That of parents, teachers, family, friends, colleagues and mentors. It helps to have an open mind, a willingness to learn and absorb like a sponge. It does help to be fit – body and mind. It does help to accept that we are not perfect and that we have our frailties. And it helps to give and not just get.
“Just because it is, doesn’t mean it should be”. I am watching “Australia” on a 15-months-since-the-last-one-flight as I write this piece, tears streaming down my cheeks. Yes, it also helps to be a dreamer, a romantic and even sentimental.
We are a lucky generation or generation. I would call us the bridge generation(s). We were born in or were born to parents from the old world with the values of those times. We have seen rapid progress, the likes of which, of course, mankind has seen before. Step after small while giant step. Not better or worse, just different. We are very lucky to straddle the old and the new.
Time and age do bring about change. Changes take place in external circumstances and within ourselves. ‘Change is the only constant is, indeed, a truism.
And then, it strikes us. We owe it. To everyone who has made us who we are. To our children and their children. To society. To mankind. Importantly, we owe it to ourselves.
To realize our potential further. Our full potential.
Then we dare. To Aspire. To make a Difference. And, to leave an Impact.