Why do you read personal growth materials or purchase personal growth products?  If you are typical, there is something in your life you would like to improve.  Most people interested in personal growth programs would like to “get better” in some way.

The meaning of “getting better” varies from person to person, but it can include relieving suffering, getting over various fears, taking action when we feel fear, stopping compulsive behavior, improving relationships, eliminating the barriers to making and saving money, stopping the negative self talk, etc.  Most of the people in the world are trying to get better in some way.

But what happens once we’ve eliminated the beliefs and conditionings that cause most of our behavioral and emotional problems?  What happens once we’ve stopped giving meaning to most of the moment-to-moment meanings we unconsciously create?  Once we stop seeking to get better, what’s next?

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, identified what he described as a hierarchy of needs.  He said that needs must be satisfied in the given order.   Levels 1 through 4 are deficiency motivators, in other words, there is something missing that must be attained; we want to get better.  Level 5 is a growth motivator; it is about self-actualization.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking peak experiences.

Maslow argued and I agree fully that you have to progress through these five levels in order. In other words, you can’t skip from level one to level three or four, or from level three to level five. Moreover, at any given level the higher levels are not fully real to you. But once you’ve satisfied your needs at any given level the next level becomes real. And once you’ve satisfied all your deficiency needs, you are ready to self-actualize.

Unfortunately, tens of millions of people still exist at levels one and two, still trying to meet survival needs.

My experience with literally thousands of people has demonstrated that eliminating beliefs and conditionings can move people upward through levels three and four.  Moreover, hundreds of people who have learned to stop giving meaning to daily events report that they experience some of the characteristics of self-actualization.

A website devoted to Maslow’s work (http://www.businessballs.com/maslow.htm) presents a list of self-actualizing characteristics.

Maslow’s self-actualizing characteristics

  • keen sense of reality – aware of real situations – objective judgment, rather than subjective
  • see problems in terms of challenges and situations requiring solutions, rather than see problems as personal complaints or excuses
  • need for privacy and comfortable being alone
  • reliant on own experiences and judgment – independent – not reliant on culture and environment to form opinions and views
  • not susceptible to social pressures – non-conformist
  • democratic, fair and non-discriminating – embracing and enjoying all cultures, races and individual styles
  • socially compassionate – possessing humanity
  • accepting others as they are and not trying to change people
  • comfortable with oneself – despite any unconventional tendencies
  • a few close intimate friends rather than many surface relationships
  • sense of humor directed at oneself or the human condition, rather than at the expense of others
  • spontaneous and natural – true to oneself, rather than being how others want
  • excited and interested in everything, even ordinary things
  • creative, inventive and original
  • seek peak experiences that leave a lasting impression

I want to help people with self-actualization

For 28 years the Lefkoe Institute has focused on the first four levels.  Our current mission is “to help create a world in which people are empowered to rid themselves of their self-imposed limitations and to create unimagined possibilities for their lives.”  This can be achieved with the various processes that currently comprise The Lefkoe Method (TLM).

Using TLM myself I’ve eliminated too many beliefs and conditionings to count and achieved a state where most of my occurrings dissolve automatically.  I rarely give meaning to events.  I am no longer attached to the outcome of my choices.  I hardly ever get upset (and when I do I don’t give it any meaning) and even less frequently have arguments with my wife Shelly and my children.

After a lifetime of trying to get better, overcome my constant anxiety and depression, stop my neediness, and halt my concern with the opinion of others, these problems are gone.  I no longer wish I were anyone other than me.  I am finally okay with myself.  I no longer think about getting better.

So as I ask myself what’s next for me, I wonder what I can do for others who are asking the same question.  I’ve been thinking a lot recently about this fifth level, which is what life is all about once you have meet your deficiency needs and no longer seek to change the way you are. 

In order to explore self-actualization I am offering a new course that is only open to people who have completed our Occurring Course and who have stopped giving meaning to most events.  The purpose of this new course is to investigate what life is all about after one is no longer trying to get better.

The new Advanced Lefkoe Freedom Course

Starting in January, the name of the current Lefkoe Occurring Course is being changed to the Lefkoe Freedom Course (LFC).  The new course will be called: the Advanced Lefkoe Freedom Course (ALFC).  The reasoning behind the name change is that once someone joins the course I can explain what “occurring” is, but it doesn’t make sense to use a term no one is familiar with as the title of the course.  (The word comes from how the world occurs to us, in other words, the meaning we give events moment to moment.)

When I created the LFC almost three years ago I had a sense it would make a profound difference in people’s lives, but I wasn’t sure exactly what we would do in the course or how we would do it.  It turned out to be the most powerful program we have ever offered.  I have the same sense about this new ALFC.  I think it will enable people to enter and extend their experience of self-actualization.

I intend to explore with members of the course a wide range of issues, including:

  • Learn how to live with passion but without attachment, in other words, live life as a game.  There is nothing inherently better about having cards that match than ones that don’t, or getting a little ball in a hole in less attempts than someone else, etc. You pretend something is better than something else.  When you play a game you can be very passionate, excited, and committed to winning, but you still know it is a game and not “real.”  At some point the game will be over and you will go back to “life.”  It is possible to live all of life as a game.
  • Think about the question: If events have no meaning, is there ever a need (as opposed to a desire) to change anything from the way it is?
  • In the creator space you experience that there is nothing missing, that everything has already turned out, that there is no place to get to.  This course will explore what it takes to live out of that experience.  You can have a vision of more to do in your life, but you don’t have to be attached to it.

I’ll keep you informed about what we learn as the course progresses.  Whatever we discover I will find a way to make it available to everyone who is interested in it. In the meantime, have 2013 be the year you no longer need to get better and you begin your process of self-actualization.

Thanks for reading my blog. Do you agree or disagree with the points I made in this post?  Why?  Do you have something to add?  Your comments will add value for thousands of readers.  I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

If you think others will find this post useful, please tell your friends and followers by using the buttons located both at the top and the end of this post.

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If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to http://www.recreateyourlife.com where you can eliminate one limiting belief free.

Copyright © 2012 Morty Lefkoe

Use this information to improve your life

Make an honest appraisal of your life and determine at which of Maslow’s five levels you are.  And if you are at the third or fourth level, which is where most people in the developed world are, see if you can identify what beliefs and conditionings have you stuck at that level.  Eliminating those beliefs and conditionings will probably move you to the next level.

If you are at the fifth level, what are you doing to improve your ability to live at that level consistently and effectively?


  1. Paunee December 29, 2012 at 12:54 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    If I understood correctly, the beliefs / needs must be eliminated in order of each level. I’m working on the 19 beliefs which seem to mostly relate to level 4. But I have a lot of negative beliefs when it comes to romantic relationships (level3). For this, I was planning on getting private sessions but thought that I should first finish the 19 beliefs. Am I on the right path or should I schedule the private sessions first before completing the 19 beliefs?

    • Morty Lefkoe December 29, 2012 at 10:27 am - Reply

      Hi Paunee,

      You can do them concurrently. Keep working on the 19 beliefs on your own and work on your relationships beleifs in sessions with a certified Lefkoe method facilitator. You can find out more about the sessions at (415) 506-4472.

      Happy holidays.

      Love, Morty

  2. Kaaren December 28, 2012 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Thank you for your insight on how to look at everything. I will try to see the “newness” in everything from now on. Of course it is great that we are alive to see it. Good point!


  3. Nitin December 28, 2012 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    I have heard about Maslow pyramid but don’t much about it, I don’t whether one has to travel through level 1 to 4 to reach the level of self-actualization but i think may be during level 1 to 4 you experience something that collapse, suppress or dominates all your beliefs in level 1 to 4 and you suddenly findyourself in self-actualization zone. After all everything is about eliminating belief and playing the game that I am the CREATOR.

  4. Lauren December 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    I’m looking forward to participating in the Advanced course come February. I first read about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Wayne Dyer’s, “The Sky’s The Limit.” And even earlier I was at the lowest time in my life when I was close to suicide and said, “There’s got to be something better than this.” Getting better was a pursuit and a journey. Since I participated in The Occurring Course, I feel like my whole inner life has expanded exponentially. And I am fascinated by ordinary things: a mud puddle, a leaf lying in the grass, a spider web, firewood. @Kaaren: I am rarely bored because there is and always will be something new to learn whether my attention is for seconds or years. Everything I see; my books, this computer, a jar of rocks on the window sill, a basket of pens and pencils, the unvacuumed rug, are extraordinary just because I am here to see them and notice them. Boredom results from losing touch with ourselves and thinking we “know” a thing when we’ve just barely touched the surface of it. Hope this helps.
    Love and Light on your Journey,

    • Carl December 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      AWESOME LAUREN! Thanks :-)

  5. Wanda December 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm - Reply


    I like the sound of the new course. By description it seems that I am mostly level 5. For as long as I’ve known, people have always told me not to change. Some people appreciate my “naive” way of looking at the world (I’ve found enjoyment in waiting 4.5 freezing hours in Times Square for The Ball to drop), while others have looked down on it. I’ve found that when I try to NOT be me, to be as another wants me to be or how it seems I should be, I suffer– emotionally and economically, my spirit and health.

    I found my way to the LBP because I ponder the world around me, while enjoying it, I live my senses “open.” Along the way I lost myself. After listening to comments on the “errors” of my ways, I became consumed by doubts and limiting beliefs I had inside surfaced to give stronger meaning to events in my life– 2012 was rough on me. See… if I’m not experiencing life, then I get into a funk, when I am in a funk, then everything else collapses– You can say that I put in jeoperdy (more like sabotage) the steadiness of the other levels.

    Alex, I find that it’s not that one must make a conscious decision to be excited about something, but rather enjoy the idea of an experience. Example: When I took knitting lessons, I did so with gusto. Then, I found that it was not for me…it’s too slow.

    I like to experiencing the world, and I stick to things that give me continual growth… like the Lefkoe Method. Which I have found to my great benefit as it is helping me not be so susceptible to people’s emotions.

    I look forward to ALFC– I find the Maslow’s Levels are more like a stair made of rope, not solid at all. If you don’t watch it, your foot will slip, then, while your body is at level 4/5 your foot is on level 2. The course has extreme value.

    Ahh, the more I learn, the more interest I have in becoming a certified Lefkoe Method facilitator. (Am I being very obvious?)

    Happy New Years, everyone.

  6. John December 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    There is still a lot of debate in the circles of human behavior concerning Maslow’s theory. Most of that debate is centered around the “levels”, and the need to satisfy one level, before another is attained. It is entirely possible to enjoy self actualization, and not have advanced through all the other levels…I personally have enjoyed that scenario. But the concepts you offer, are valid I think….when you have satisfied most of your needs on certain levels, enjoying a sense of self actualization is a thing worth pursuing!

    Thanks for sharing your insights!


  7. DeBorah December 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Greetings Marty,
    Thanks for sharing this post. And I also want to take this time to thank you providing your service to the world. Since, I know you don’t apply any meaning to anything, I’m glad to be able to share the first things that came to my mind freely. And these are, it would be better to develop courses for people at the other levels and not at level 5. Why? Because a personal who is at level five doesn’t have a need for any course. Maybe a forum to share with like minded people, but why would they pay for something like this when it is not a high priority? Or, maybe a joint partnerships with level 5 people to assist in supporting people who are where they were and they feel called to assist (without attachment). Or maybe setting up a series of retreats and travel experiences for level 5 people to enjoy each other’s company. Like that. Again, thanks for sharing

    My Love,

    • Morty Lefkoe December 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Hi DeBorah,

      Thanks for your comments.

      All of the courses and materials we have developed for 28 years have been mainly for people at levels 3 and 4.

      And although people at level 5 don’t need anything, most of them desire to expand their experience at that level. The course I am creating is intended to do that and explore several issues, including the three I mention in my post.

      Happy holidays,

      love, Morty

  8. Kaaren December 27, 2012 at 7:53 am - Reply

    To help you Rainec……you should try to understand that if you’re not growing, you’re actually dying. How fortunate we are to have a person (Morty) who has dedicated his life to our growth and keeping us alive. Of course everyone at the end of the day needs to make a living. Money in exchange for growth is a good thing. It’s only currency which should run like the current of a river to stay moving, curculating, breathing new life as it flows. Flow of money equals flow of life. Get hung up money, you get stagnated. Which is why you start to die within. Hope this helps and keeps you striving for growth at any cost. Morty is very reasonable as far as the tremendous wealth of growth for very little money.

    • Carl December 27, 2012 at 8:14 am - Reply

      Hi Karen, I have to say that the courses are not cheap and there are several levels. And, as a note, the current pricing does put it out of the reach of most people on this planet and most in the western world especially if they pay cash and not use credit. My first investment with Morty paid almost immediate dividends and the second I am working on now.

      Flow of money does not equal flow of life.

      Life is life

      Money is money

      Stagnation is stagnation

      Hang ups are challenges

      Personal growth can be more pleasurable with a towards, gentle and relaxed motivation than an away from fear based motivation. From experience often my breakthroughs happened easily when I stopped pushing and needing.

      Just a few thoughts :-)

      • Kaaren December 27, 2012 at 8:34 am - Reply

        Hi Carl,
        I especially liked your first comments, I felt you are right on with your view point. I will ponder your recent comments as sometimes taking on a new perspective takes time. But I thank you for giving me something to think about.

  9. Carl December 27, 2012 at 7:25 am - Reply

    Great post Morty!

    I have a couple of thoughts to share based on personal experience and observation.

    I disagree that the hierarchy of needs must be achieved in order. I would suggest that the period of self actualization comes at different times for different people no matter how many of the other levels are being met and the degree to which they are being met.

    “The Hero’s Journey” (self actualization process) can begin at any time and, for most, in situations where a number or even all of the other “needs” are not being met. Often the self actualization phase is prompted by a collapse in the other areas.

    I think if we try to put too many rules and judgements on how things should happen it interferes with ways that things could happen. In my own experience there is definitely a higher level of power (more about this in a moment) at work in all aspects of life and this higher level of power has ways that are far far beyond our comprehension and lead to greater joys than we can currently imagine.

    The biggest self actualization lesson is to know and fully embrace the fact that we are all in fact conscious facets of this ONE being we call God. When people do actually get that they are God playing with him/herself then life really does become a game.

    The God belief is the kingpin of all beliefs. When all of us on the planet get that, then all our troubles fall away.

    I look forward to more information about your new course.

    Blessings and Thanks Morty :-)

  10. James December 27, 2012 at 4:46 am - Reply

    Currently difficult to believe that what occurs (including my thinking) is always acceptable and nothing to get upset about. Still not sure that the meaning creator counts as a real identity or if even if (self) awareness counts as an identity. Therefore confused about the name of the game – what meaning to give being a meaning creator or just awareness. Self actualisation seems to add to that identity eg flow states (Csíkszentmihályi) or degrees of freedom from confusion, inadequacy or dissatisfaction – or degrees of (identity with) clarity, compassion & joy. But as peak experiences – are they about actualising a wonderful self image or something beyond that?

  11. rainec December 27, 2012 at 3:54 am - Reply

    Well I see what you are saying and it’s a nice tihng to want to help people with. However I think by the time you get to stage 5 and SELF-actualisation..well this is sometihng a person needs to discover for themselves, rather than take an (expensive ;p) course to do……Starting to look like there is an awful lot of add-on courses here, all of course costing a lot….

    • Mary December 27, 2012 at 6:39 am - Reply

      Do you expect Morty to give all his life-changing information away for free? Of course you have to pay for his courses. Anything of value (which his work definitely is) usually has a price attached to it! When you invest in yourself, the rewards will be even greater.

  12. Kaaren December 27, 2012 at 3:10 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,
    Thank you for addressing “what’s next after getting better”? Maybe a coincidence, but that was my request to you when you ask for input. So now you are helping me on the next level after ridding a lot of outmoded beliefs. Which has changed my life dramitically. I find myself in a new space, but not sure how to keep up the good work. Looking at your Maslow’s self actualizing characteristics….I feel I’m at level 5. The only part of level 5 I don’t experience yet is “excited and interested in everything, even ordinary things” which is a frustration for me as I know it is an important state of mind to achieve. I’m excited about your new course and hope you will place some emphasis on this area. I guess in a way I feel numb about ordinary things and I would like to know why. Perhaps even bored of ordinary things. What makes a person get bored? Many thanks, I look forward to your new course. Kaaren.

  13. Alex December 27, 2012 at 1:52 am - Reply

    Morty, I’m thinking about something that I hope you can discuss with me.

    One of Maslow’s self-actualization characteristics is the property of being excited and interested in everything, even ordinary things. Now, from what I understand, the main (or only?) factor that determines whether someone is excited and interested in something or not is the meaning that person sees in reality regarding that something. Assuming this statement is accurate, I’d like to know how someone who doesn’t see any meaning regarding a certain something can go from not being excited and interested in that something to being excited and interested in it. I would like to analyze this using knitting as an example.

    Let’s say, for instance, that you have two people “A” and “B”. Person A sees a few meanings in reality regarding the activity of knitting, such as “Knitting is a calm activity that promotes peace and quiet (which I value)” and “Knitting improves your patience and creativity”. At the same time, Person B sees no meaning in knitting, for he has cultivated the habit of seeing things from an objective perspective, always recognizing that any distinction to be made about something is never THE truth, but rather, A truth. Person B is currently not excited or interested in knitting.

    I suppose that, at least in this case, the way to get Person B to become excited and interested in knitting would be for him to do two things:

    1. Make one or more conscious, valid distinctions about knitting that, within a certain context, promote a perspective of excitement and curiosity, such as “Learning a new skill is healthy for the brain” and “I could profit from this skill”.

    2. Consciously choose to view knitting through that perspective.

    To what extent do you agree or disagree?

    • Morty Lefkoe December 27, 2012 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Hi Alex,

      What you describe might work, I’m not sure. Another alternative is just to create a game about knitting where you challenge yourself to accomplish something involving knitting, just because you say so. Like any game where the rules are arbitrary.

      And I’m not sure you can create an interest in anything at all just because you say so.

      Love, Morty

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