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Thursday, May 09, 2013


Maslow and others brought our attention to the concept of self-actualization. Maslow came to this thinking by deciding to study those who are healthy (or especially healthy) psychologically instead of those who are mentally ill. As formal and informal teachers we could do a lot for mankind if we spent more time on using techniques like "instructional scaffolding" to teach these concepts.

The following two lists are two views of the characteristics, qualities or traits of self-actualized people. The first list comes from the blog of Rudy Amid. The list can be found by following this link. Mr. Amid's list is very readable, very spiritual and easy to understand. The second list comes from Wikipedia and is perhaps more academic. Personally I prefer the first list.

Maslow‘s 15 Traits of The Self-Actualized Person from Rudy Amid's blog:

  • Perceives reality accurately and objectively; tolerates and even likes ambiguity; and is not threatened by the unknown.
  • Accepts himself, others and human nature.
  • Is spontaneous, natural, genuine.
  • Is problem-centered (not self-centered), non-egotistical; has a philosophy of life and probably a mission in life.
  • Needs some privacy and solitude more than others do; is able to concentrate intensely.
  • Is independent, self-sufficient and autonomous; has less need for praise or popularity
  • Has the capacity to appreciate simple and common place experiences; has zest in living, high humor, and the ability to handle stress
  • Has (and is aware of) rich, alive, fulfilling “peak experiences,” or moments of intense enjoyment.
  • Has deep feelings of brotherhood with all mankind; is benevolent, altruistic.
  • Forms strong friendship ties with relatively few people; and is capable of greater love.
  • Is democratic and unprejudiced in the deepest possible sense.
  • Is strongly ethical and moral in individual (not necessarily conventional) ways; enjoys work in achieving a goal as much as the goal itself; is patient, for the most part.
  • Has a thoughtful, philosophical sense of humor that is constructive, not destructive.
  • Is creative, original, inventive with a fresh, naive, simple and direct way of looking at life; tends to do most things creatively ‹ but does not necessarily possess great talent.
  • Is capable of detachment from culture; can objectively compare cultures and can take or leave conventions.

According to Maslow, self-actualizing people share the following qualities:

  • Truth: honest, reality, beauty, pure, clean and unadulterated completeness
  • Goodness: rightness, desirability, uprightness, benevolence, honesty
  • Beauty: rightness, form, aliveness, simplicity, richness, wholeness, perfection, completion,
  • Wholeness: unity, integration, tendency to oneness, interconnectedness, simplicity, organization, structure, order, not dissociated, synergy
  • Dichotomy-transcendence: acceptance, resolution, integration, polarities, opposites, contradictions
  • Aliveness: process, not-deadness, spontaneity, self-regulation, full-functioning
  • Unique: idiosyncrasy, individuality, non comparability, novelty
  • Perfection: nothing superfluous, nothing lacking, everything in its right place, just-rightness, suitability, justice
  • Necessity: inevitability: it must be just that way, not changed in any slightest way
  • Completion: ending, justice, fulfillment
  • Justice: fairness, suitability, disinterestedness, non partiality,
  • Order: lawfulness, rightness, perfectly arranged
  • Simplicity: nakedness, abstract, essential skeletal, bluntness
  • Richness: differentiation, complexity, intricacy, totality
  • Effortlessness: ease; lack of strain, striving, or difficulty
  • Playfulness: fun, joy, amusement
  • Self-sufficiency: autonomy, independence, self-determining.
Posted by Steven Fletcher at 3:36 PM
Edited on: Thursday, May 09, 2013 3:59 PM
Categories: Education