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Transcend — The New Science of Self-Actualization

Abraham Maslow himself was working on a deeper way to understand the whole of human existence when he died in 1970. These ideas expand on his work and reimagine it, showing how self-actualization is about integrating all your needs into a healthy whole that enables you to grow. They explain how realizing your full human potential can connect you not only to your best possible self, but also to the people around you.

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The Need For Safety is the Basis of all Other Needs

  • Our most basic need is safety—it's the secure foundation that allows us to take risks and explore the world.
  • Beyond physiological needs like hunger, our sense of safety comes down to how we relate to the people around us—attachment is one of the ways in which our relationships with others begin in childhood, and as we grow older our attachment style plays a key role in our relationships.

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Connection is a Fundamental Need

  • Being around people fulfills a deep human need: connection with others.
  • The need for connection is the need for stable, positive, intimate relationships.
  • Belonging is about feeling protected by your group; intimacy is about loving, caring for, and protecting others with whom you have a close relationship.
  • Close connections hinge on what psychologist Carl Rogers calls unconditional positive regard.

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Healthy Self-Esteem

  • Self-esteem is the result of positive accomplishments.
  • It has nothing to do with narcissism or egocentricity.
  • If you find yourself focused on improving your self-esteem, that's a sign something has gone wrong.
  • Healthy self-esteem has two aspects: self-worth and mastery.
  • In a nutshell, it comes down to liking yourself.
  • We're social beings, and our judgments about ourselves often factor in the judgments of others.
  • Mastery is the extent to which you can act intentionally, achieve your goals, and exercise your will.

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Exploration Enables You to Grow as a Person

  • It's the desire to seek out unfamiliar information and experiences.
  • There are two types of exploration: behavioral exploration and cognitive exploration.
  • Behavioral exploration has two components: social exploration and adventure-seeking.
  • Social exploration: engaging with people in a way that helps us learn more about them and the world.
  • Cognitive exploration: reasoning and understanding the world through abstract thought.
  • Adventure-seekers: mastering their fear and learning new skills.

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Love is More Fulfilling When it's not Based on a Deficiency

In his writings, Maslow distinguished between deficiency-love (D-love) and love for a person’s whole being (B-love).

B-loving people are driven by self-transcendent values, have high levels of tolerance, benevolence, and trustworthiness, and integrate two aspects of human existence that might seem contradictory.

Agency involves independence and separation from others; communion involves contact, openness, and participation—being together with others.

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Purpose is What Gives Meaning to Our Lives

  • A purpose is a sort of focal point. It's the center of your life, around which you can organize all your actions so that each has significance. It also gives you the energy to pursue your goals and encourages perseverance.
  • Purpose often means having a calling—an. Overwhelming urge to follow a particular path in life.
  • How do I see my work? Is it just a way to make money?
  • Do you find it interesting, but only if you make progress and get that promotion?

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Peak Experiences Enhance Your Sense of Self and Your Connection with the World

  • These are experiences of heightened beauty, wonder, joy, or serenity.
  • Research suggests that peak experiences are great for mental health.
  • They increase motivation and a sense of purpose, make relationships more satisfying, reduce fear of death and encourage personal growth.
  • And all peak experiences have one thing in common: self-loss
  • When we are in the grip of insecurity, we feel unsure of ourselves or of our identity.
  • Experiences like these are what happy memories are made of.

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Transcendence Involves Your Entire Being

  • It's about being the best version of yourself, mobilizing all your resources in service of this version, and integrating them in a way that raises the standard for the whole of humanity.
  • Anyone can have a peak experience, regardless of what motivates them in life. But people who are transcenders are driven by transcendent values and have a vision for humanity.

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Conclusion

Human needs are all closely connected, and the greatest sense of well-being and fulfillment comes when we can integrate them into a healthy whole.

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IDEAS CURATED BY

kevinluevano

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CURATOR'S NOTE

These ideas show how self-actualization is about integrating all your needs into a healthy whole that enables you to grow. They explain how realizing your full human potential can connect you not only to your best possible self, but also to the people around you.

Curious about different takes? Check out our Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

Kevin Luevano's ideas are part of this journey:

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