What Does It Mean to Be Self-Actualized in the 21st Century?

Scott Barry Kaufman in Scientific American:

Many people are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in which he argued that basic needs such as safety, belonging, and self-esteem must be satisfied (to a reasonable healthy degree) before being able to fully realize one’s unique creative and humanitarian potential. What many people may not realize is that a strict hierarchy was not really the focus of his work (and in fact, he never represented his theory as a pyramid).

…Overall, self-actualization was related to higher levels of stability and the ability to protect your highest level goals from disruption by distracting impulses and thoughts. Self-actualization was related to lower levels of disruptive impulsivity (“Get out of control”, “Am self-destructive”), nonconstructive thinking (“Have a dark outlook on the future”, “Often express doubts”), and a lack of authenticity and meaning (“Feel that my list lacks direction”, “Act or feel in a way that does not fit me”). Just as Maslow predicted, those with higher self-actualization scores were much more motivated by growth, exploration, and love of humanity than the fulfillment of deficiencies in basic needs. What’s more, self-actualization scores were associated with multiple indicators of well-being, including greater life satisfaction, curiosity, self-acceptance, positive relationships, environmental mastery, personal growth, autonomy, and purpose in life.

More here.