Creating Your Legacy – Self-Actualization

  Self-Actualization Image

Knowing who we are and understanding what we contribute can lead to a meaningful, rich and full life.

Self-Actualization, one of the fifteen competencies of emotional intelligence, is the ability to realize one’s potential capabilities. It is that deep inner calling that motivates us to have an enthusiastic commitment to long-term goals.

We realize self-actualization by maximizing our development and continuing to strive toward our dreams-one day at a time.

Two actions help us along the path of self-actualization – discovery and exploration.

In her book, I Will Not Die An Unlived Life, Dawna Markova, uses the “LIVE” formula to outline steps one should take to define self-actualization and move along life’s path toward it.

  • L is for Love. What do you love to do?
  • I is for Inner Gifts. What are your natural talents?
  • V is for Values. What kind of contribution do you want to leave at the end of your life?
  • E is for Environment. What people, places, timing and physical conditions bring out the best in you? Hone in on them to ensure a happy life and career.

Self-Actualization is digging deep and being reflective. It is a place where “doing” and “being” modes are joined. It is seeking a narrative to what is beneath your every day existence.

Proven strategies for increasing self-actualization are:

  • Learn from the past. Reflect upon your life and consider the major lessons you’ve learned.
  • Be open to new experiences. Broaden your exposure to people of all ages, political orientations, occupations, social classes and cultures. Listen and gain knowledge from their vast and various experiences.
  • Consider different perspectives. The next time you are about to disagree with someone, stop and ask questions. Try to understand his/her point of view.
  • Focus on the positive. Don’t waste brain resources on negative thoughts.
  • Move from the center of your universe. Younger people are generally egocentric and eager to recite their accomplishments. Older and wiser people tend to speak of the successes of others.
  • Question certainty. Any sentence that begins with “There is no doubt that…” or “It is an established fact that…” should be viewed skeptically.
  • Broaden your base of “wisdom knowledge”. Ponder critical lessons from history, philosophy, psychology, literature and religion.

 In research by Reuven Bar-On, author of the EQ-instrument, the best predictors of self-actualization are eight other emotional intelligence competencies – Happiness, Optimism, Self-Regard, Independence, Problem Solving, Social Responsibility, Assertiveness and Emotional Self-Awareness.

He further states that when self-actualized we are have gone beyond Emotional Intelligence to achieve a higher level of human effectiveness.

Self-Actualization is the ultimate journey in leaving a memorable legacy.

Resource: “What It Means to Be Wise-How We Actually Develop the Knowledge and Experience that is Wisdom”, by Thomas Crook, PhD.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain