10 Traits of Self-Actualized People
If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased ~ Katharine Hepburn (Tweet this)
In the introduction to this series, I have argued how the ultimate goal of personal development is self-actualization. This is a crucial point if we are to understand better how our efforts in following any personal development practice can lead us towards happiness, success and ultimately a better version of ourselves.
The term ‘self-actualized’ can be sometimes mistaken to mean ‘self-made’ as in “he is a self-made millionaire”. It is actually not the same. The idea of self-actualized points at the actualization or realization of the Self as a larger, more complete aspect of our being.
In this sense, the pursuit of self-actualization is, to use Stan Grof’s terminology “Holotropic”, that is, moving towards the whole. It is about moving from a fragmented, incomplete state of our being to a complete, fully realized whole.
It’s in other words utilizing our potential, skills and talents to the fullest. It’s about being alive, being yourself, being the best you can be.
This is why there is no higher personal goal than self-actualization. Being the real you in the fullest way possible is the ultimate expression of Self, freedom and creativity. The natural consequence of this is a sense of higher purpose and meaning in life, positive energy, radiant happiness and effortless success in whatever you do.
Being self-actualized is most of all being in line with your truest and most authentic nature. There is no noise or obstacles interfering between your actions and intentions. Everything flows easily and effortlessly.
Here is a closer look at some of the most common traits of self-actualized people.
1. Living Out Your Passion
This is a very common and important milestone in the path to self-actualization. Doing more things that excite you, drive you or you are passionate about. There is a threshold somewhere where one stops bringing up excuses that chime with fear-based group thinking and limited beliefs such as “this cannot be done.
It is more appropriate and safe to hold a secure full-time job with long-term prospects and stability instead of venturing into unknown territory. Keep your passions as hobbies on the side while you earn a full-time living.”
Self-actualized people have gone far beyond that point. They are not held ransom by that group logic.
They have taken stock of all risks and possibilities but have gathered the strength to listen to their heart’s calling and made a leap of faith which most of the time pays off big time. Why? because if you are doing what excites you will ultimately come out with better quality, be appreciated more and ultimately will find better prospects of success, materially or otherwise, than if you had to stick to running the mill for a wage.
2. Holding an Abundance Mindset
Another belief grounded in consensual reality is the feeling of scarcity or lack. The implicit belief that everything is by default hard to create, grow and perpetuate. Resources, ideas, prosperity and energy are scarce. This is in other words, giving in to the scarcity mindset. Self-actualized people have gone past this mindset and crossed to the opposite end of the spectrum – they have nurtured an abundance mindset.
What is an abundance mindset? It is a general recognition of the infinite and abundant source of wisdom and creativity that springs out from being connected to the higher, wholesome Self and which effectively translates into the realization of abundance around you – love, wealth, opportunity and success in general.
3. Taking Responsibility
Being fragmented as against being whole or actualized is in a way being always in conflict with yourself or at least having some kind of internal friction that slows you down or disrupts you from moving forward. When you start developing your inner abilities and talents, you become more You; more whole and complete.
There is less conflict and friction that in turn means there are less things standing between you and your goals. When you recognize this you take responsibility by understanding you have the power to shape your life.
- This recognition is very powerful as it empowers you with the knowledge that you are a co-creator of your destiny.
- You end up refraining from finding excuses or blaming others and situations for not reaching your goals or your happiness.
- You dump all that time wasting and start shifting your attention on the solution, knowing that you can turn things around as you have done before with good chances of success.
4. Seeing Change with Optimism
Another common trait of self-actualized individuals is that they embrace change with trust and an open heart. Not only that but change is seen from an optimistic lens. It is not fear-based or approached with suspicion and resistance.
This is not difficult to understand why. When you hold an abundance mindset and you know that much of your happiness and success depends on you (you are less fatalist), you are more trustful and positive about change. You know that things will turn out just right as they have done before, and the more you let go of fear, limiting beliefs and the urge to control things, the easier and better they will turn out to be.
5. Understand the Power of Intention
The more you realize yourself, the more you confirm and corroborate the link between your intentions and the outcome. In short, you learn the powerful law that you create and materialize a good deal of what you set your intention on. You understand the power of intention and put it into use in your everyday life.
When you are engulfed in a scarcity mindset and struggling with worries or your inner conflicts, what happens is that you are confirming and reinforcing that mindset. Apparent failure becomes an example of that ‘reality’. In this ‘reality’ it is very hard to see the rather empowering truth that your intentions are the central part of the equation of life
Self-actualization is the concretizing of the abundance mindset into your everyday life and putting intention into practice. You are less fatalist about life. You do not feel disempowered or helpless. You know that your focused attention and intention on whatever you want to achieve will bring itself forward. You both believe in yourself and trust openly in life when you have little or no control.
6. In Touch with the Intuitive Heart
A very important trait of self-actualized people is that of being in touch with their heart. It becomes second nature. Instead of living your life in your head and being closed in your thoughts, reasoning and analysis, you access the creative and intuitive source of wisdom that comes from your heart.
It is realizing that very often over-thinking and analysis not only do not bring solutions but they drains you out because they are energy intensive processes. Tapping into the intuitive heart is practically effortless and can cut straight to the answer without having to rely on too much thinking.
It is virtually a direct line to your inner self and hence its power. Moreover, being in touch with your heart means having a healthy balance between mind and heart which brings clarity and inner peace.
7. Maintaining Vision of Life Purpose
In the beginning of this article, I mentioned how a natural consequence of living a more “complete You” is a sense of meaning and higher purpose. This is extremely powerful because it sets the blueprint to your success. It motivates you and keeps you within the right tracks.
Self-actualized people find it natural not only to find meaning and envisioning their life purpose but constantly maintain that vision throughout their day to day life. They live it and breathe it in whatever they do. This garners a great amount of energy and determination to propel forward even in the face of adversity.
8. The Sub-Conscious is a Powerful Ally
Psychologists talk about the sub-conscious as an integral part of our psyche below the threshold of waking conscious. Jung maintained that our sub-conscious has a twofold nature – as being a fountain of creativity and insight but at the same time a potential saboteur or self-destructive force that impedes us from growing into a healthy complete self (referred to as the process of individuation in depth psychology).
When on the path of self-actualization, the sub-conscious mind works solely as a powerful ally because any repressed emotional and psychic patterns would have been cleared out at this stage and nothing impedes self-growth. Also becoming more actualized means having the different aspects of the psyche flowing and working together as an integral whole.
9. Feels Compassion, Gratitude and Loving Kindness
An important aspect of self-growth and self-actualization is freeing oneself from negative emotional patterns and transcending beyond ego-based consciousness. You soar higher to a new level of being which is no longer tied down to a self-absorbed and ego-centric view of the world.
You start breathing in more life and feel grateful for every single day you live through. You are also more compassionate and express loving kindness around you as your energy is freer and your consciousness is expanding outwards.
10. Simplify Life and Shed Away the Useless
On a practical day to day level, you realize the real value and priorities of things in your life. You understand the power of simplicity and start working towards simplifying your life more and more every day.
You are no longer captivated by the consumer mindset and most of the things and activities you have been accustomed to buy or follow start becoming less meaningful. They now seem to be only clutter that obstruct your path to a lighter, fulfilled life in line with your true purpose.