Self-actualization is the idea that humans are driven, at their core, by a desire to live out their lives to the fullest.

This idea was first developed by Abraham Maslow in his hierarchy of needs. Maslow believed that the desire to reach self-actualization is innate and is what drives people to seek further fulfilment in life.

This term is seen as an endpoint in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

  • step 1 – physiological needs: food, water, warmth, rest
  • step 2 – safety needs: security, safety
  • step 3 – love and belonging needs: intimate relationships, friends
  • step 4 – esteem needs: prestige and feeling of accomplishment
  • step 5 – self-actualization: achieving one's full potential, including creative activities

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