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.
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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?