According to renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow, our unfulfilled needs make themselves known through feelings of restlessness: “the person feels on edge, tense, lacking something.” When we feel this way, we are motivated to act to fulfill those needs. This is what propels us to make changes in our lives and to seek greater fulfillment in the things we do.
Many of us have felt this kind of restlessness in relation to our jobs and the work we do. When you feel restless, tense, or on edge at work, it may be a sign that you’re not doing work that is fulfilling to you, that you are not self-actualized. Self-actualization is achieved when we are successfully fulfilling all of our needs.
Maslow created a hierarchy of needs “Hierarchy of Human Needs;” the basic needs like breathing, food, and water are on the bottom and self-actualization is at the top. In order to be completely fulfilled, one must achieve self-actualization. When this occurs, many positive characteristics emerge. People become more accepting of themselves, more spontaneous, self-reliant, and independent. They gain a stronger sense of integrity, as well as an increased zest for life and sense of humor. Creativity and curiosity increase, self-esteem improves, and people become more altruistic, humanitarian, socially responsible, and adaptable to change.
What I find most interesting about this list is that the majority of successful entrepreneurs I know embody these traits. By stepping out of the world of traditional employment, they became more self-actualized and, in turn, more able to handle the challenges of entrepreneurship.
“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves” – Thomas Edison