Happy Birthday, Abe!
I’m not one to hang out at séances, but I do need to remind the world that today, April Fool’s Day, Dr. Abraham Maslow would have been 100 years old. Not many people can attest to having an IQ of nearly 200 (those who do attest to this should save the info for their Mensa meetings), serving as the President of the American Psychological Association, and creating a self-affirming philosophy of life that the US Army translated into an effective advertising campaign (“be all you can be”). Abe reminded us of the power of pyramids and the purity of potential.
When in doubt, create a gratitude list, right?! If Abe had never joined us on this earth, we might never have:
- understood that more can be learned from the “best practices” of human beings than the “worst practices” (his psychologist brethren tended to focus on the latter)
- fully appreciated that self-actualization is a state in which we ironically transcend ourselves and connect with the oneness of something bigger than us
- realized that “being out of our minds” can actually be a good thing from a psychological perspective
- understood how important it was to find the intangible, “deep satisfiers” in life as opposed to the tangible base needs (think MasterCard’s Priceless commercial)
- been able to re-interpret “being-ness” for the “busy-ness” world as I’ve tried to do in my book PEAK.
The metaphor that I imagine when I think of Abe and self-actualization is the idea of a runner. Self-actualization isn’t easy. It’s not something that just miraculously appears and gives you a magic carpet ride. It is the difference between wearing a pair of ill-fitting running shoes that diminishes your ability to run as fast and as far as possible versus wearing just the right shoes. Self-actualization does mean you sweat and labor, but you do it in a manner that taps into your endorphins rather than sapping your energy. Living your calling produces a high that allows you to have a high threshold for pain as well as a high capacity for love. Happy Birthday, Dear Dr. Maslow, and thank you for introducing the world to the powerful idea of human potential.