As I mentioned in my first ever video (!!) , this week we’re going to be talking about A Meaningful Life.
You might remember a few months ago we talked about self-actualization as described by Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. According to Maslow, humans have needs that can be pictured as a pyramid with the wide bottom level being concerned with fulfilling survival needs such as adequate shelter and enough food to eat, and the top level being all about self-actualization.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit and, while I didn’t do any kind of scientific study, my observations have indicated that no matter how successful we are or are not, no matter how old or young, and no matter where we live in the world, everyone is always interested in self-actualization. I’ve come to believe that we’re hard-wired to self-actualize regardless of our life situation, condition, or location. It seems to me that this urge is part and parcel of our survival instinct, which makes it just as important to us as finding enough food to eat, having adequate shelter, and keeping ourselves warm and safe.
All of us, from the moment we’re born until the time we leave this earth, want to live life on our own terms. We want to be individuals—unique, one-of-a-kind, and irreplaceable. When we’re young, we feel ourselves brimming with untapped potential and each one of us wants to go to our grave totally spent—our gifts and talents completely used up—but, oh the experiences…the memories! The depth and richness of them will last us through eternity.
With our ever-present drive to self-actualize, I’ve wondered why Maslow put it at the top of the pyramid. Perhaps he did so because once the “lower” instincts are reasonably satisfied, we don’t have any distractions from this urge. Especially when we get to “a certain age”, typically once we enter the empty nest years, this need becomes nearly a force of nature—we can’t stop ourselves from thinking about it and striving for it, at least on some level.
This is why it’s so important that we figure out what self-actualization, being purpose-driven, and living a meaningful life signifies to us.
As I said at the beginning of this post—and in my first ever video!—this is what we’ll be talking about all week. Come back and join the conversation!
As always, feel free to pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,