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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What’s Better Than Self-Actualization?



For most, constant improvement is satisfactory. It’s a way to become better over time and progress to self-actualization. For an extraordinary person, breakthroughs and world records are a source of empowerment. It is not simply about improvement. Most people explain those results away with things like luck, right place at the right time, genetics, family had money, etc. Perhaps the key that distinguishes those two groups is the very thing most people avoid. What could be so important? Yet, so discouraging?

problems. In fact, people go out of their way to avoid problems, disruptions, chaos, challenges, breakdowns, etc. In many cases, people find a scapegoat to blame for the breakdown. If they can find the perfect scapegoat, they may be able to get rid of the person and hopefully the problem. In the ideal scenario, someone smart solves the problem to get rid of it. Contrary to popular belief solving the problem to get rid of it often creates a bigger, unforeseen problem. For example, when you impose restrictions to stop behavior, the backlash can be so strong it creates a greater problem. The fatalistic story of Romeo & Juliet proves this. 

However, when you look at former seven-time Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger, you see an example of what happens when you take on breakdowns. As a bodybuilder, every day he trained with weights he broke down his muscles. Over time, those breakdowns increased the size and strength of his body. Instead of avoiding the breakdown, he went through them day after day. When some people go to the gym with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or build a stronger body, they have the same experience of breaking down muscles. The pain from the break down becomes uncomfortable and something to avoid and they often do not return to the gym.

From another perspective, it appears breakdowns may not always be breakdowns. They are relative. They are relative because what one person calls a breakdown can be an opportunity for someone else. As such, another way to view a breakdown or problem is to understand that it is merely something occurring or happening. It is your interpretation of the occurring that will determine if it is a breakdown or possibility. Therefore, it is imperative to develop more than improvement over self. It is in your best interest to develop mastery over self and the beliefs that you inherited from your environment. By mastery, I am not saying control over yourself. I am saying it is empowering to distinguish what you say to yourself when opportunity or chaos occurs. When you can still your mind and observe an occurring strictly as something that is happening, you have a better chance of mastering what others would call a breakdown.

Self-actualization, on the other hand, is the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world. In a world where breakdowns happen every second of the day, it is he who masters disruptions who then masters possibility that is beyond full potential. What is considered full potential today becomes obsolete by the person who fearlessly walks through breakdowns. The breakdown is often the other side of a breakthrough. You must go through the breakdown to experience the breakthrough.

Often times, people throw up their hands in despair when they experience too many problems with their marriage, profession, children, etc. Now imagine mastering self and breakdowns in such a way you are not deterred by the problem. Instead, you are able to fully experience the joy of marriage, professional life and children. While it takes something to master breakdowns, the person you become is often someone you could not have even imagined. That makes the journey worth the effort.   

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.

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