Humanistic Psychologist Abraham Maslow believes in the self – actualization theory and the effect it has on motivating individuals. Abraham Maslow believed that people are innately motivated to satisfy a progression of needs. Self–actualization theory is simply fulfilling one need and then moving on to the next important need. Beginning with the most basic physiological needs and proceeding to the next level. Once the needs at a particular level are satisfied the individual is motivated to satisfy the needs at the next level, steadily moving upward (Discovering Psychology, 2013, p. 317). He also believed some influential people in our history have achieved self-actualization, such as Abraham Lincoln, and Albert Einstein for example.
The only problem with Maslow’s theory is that he did not experiment enough; he proved it to be completely an individual effort. Even the basic need on the hierarchy is dependent on other human interaction, Maslow is basically saying that everyone can reach the top of the hierarchy and sustain self-actualization. That being said, then everybody in the 21st century can do this and be a leader in his or her company. If this is true, and everyone has leadership skills, then who will they lead? All self-actualization comes from the assistance of environmental factors and cannot be completed by individual efforts alone. Maslow said it himself when he stated that most people do not experience or achieve self-actualization, because few people experience the supportive environment that is required to achieve self-actualization (Discovering Psychology, 2013, p. 342).
Maslow believed an individual started with their basic needs for survival, and then moved up the hierarchy to the next important needs. They are motivated by self-actualization or the need to fulfill one’s own potential as a natural motivator to get to the top of the hierarchy. As the individual excels up the hierarchy of needs, they learn to become better at things. Then, as a direct result this action motivates them to do more for themselves and others. Companies have been using Maslow’s theory to motivate people for years; several infrastructures of companies are based on Maslow’s hierarchy. This theory is, and can be effective in practice, especially in motivating people to believe they can achieve greater heights in their endeavors. A company called luminosity has been using Maslow’s theory for their motivation and thinking software for years. Motivation is what Maslow is famous for among other things, but his theory in practice can be a challenge. Maslow did, however motivate a few scientists and psychologists who have taken his theory to new levels making the humanistic view more practical.
Maslow’s hierarchy exemplifies how humans are motivated by basic biological needs eating, drinking, and safety. This level does not seem to be challenging for most people. Once the basic needs are met all other levels of the hierarchy are more social and psychologically challenged, resulting in the need to further obtain self-actualization. These are the challenging areas for most people. The reason is, that in the process one level of the hierarchy may inadvertently affect another level; which would prevent further ascending to the top. The level that seems to be the most challenging would be self-actualization because of the interference that comes from the preceding two levels, belonging and self-esteem.
If a person has self-esteem issues resulting from a bad marriage or abuse from a family member it would cause the individual to have negative influences, which prohibit him from excelling to the next level. Self-actualization of this individual is unattainable according to Maslow because they failed to get past a certain level; or was brought back down a level because of a negative action. These behaviors, according to Maslow are inhibitors that prevent most people from achieving self-actualization.