The 13 Characteristics of Self-Actualization

Ian Parkin is the verified author of this post.

When Maslow's 13 Characteristics of Self-Actualization become key to your personality you have a powerful personal development plan with which to strive for your own self-actualization.

Try this for yourself. Self-assess against this list, making a note of those Characteristics of Self-Actualization you honestly feel you lack. Then you can simply use those notes as a blueprint for the qualities to work on in your preferred personal development process. 

Some suggestions for effective personal development processes to help you embrace these 13 Characteristics of Self-Actualization are: hypnosis, NLP, Tapping, Psycho-Therapy, Counselling, and Life Coaching. Of course it would be beneficial to use a coach/practitioner like myself who fully understands self-actualization.

The 13 Characteristics of Self-ActualizationThe Way of Personal Development and the 13 Characteristics of Self-Actualization

The “better” culture gratifies all basic human needs and permits self-actualization. The “poorer” cultures do not. The same is true for education. To the extent that it fosters growth toward self-actualization, it is “good” education – Toward a Psychology of Being by Abraham H. Maslow

The 13 Characteristics of Self-Actualization

1. Superior Perception of Reality.

Self-actualizers (SAs) are able to judge situations correctly and honestly. They are very sensitive to the fake and dishonest and are free to see reality ‘as it is’.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on having a Superior Perception of Reality [____]


2. Increased Acceptance of Self, of Others and of Nature.

Self-actualizers accept their own human nature with all its flaws. The shortcomings of others and the contradictions of the human condition are accepted and tolerated. And while they can laugh good-heartedly at themselves they will never direct sarcasm to others in jest.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself in your Acceptance of Self [____], Others [____], Nature [____]

3. Increased Spontaneity.

In SAs spontaneity is simple and natural. They enjoy the freedom to be true to themselves, acting impulsively when they want to rather than holding back and acting how others may want them to be.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on being Spontaneous and Natural [____]

4. Increase in Problem-Centering.

Most of Maslow’s subjects were ‘focused beyond self’ as if they had a mission to fulfill in life or some task or problem ‘beyond’ themselves (instead of outside or inside themselves).

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on being Focused Beyond Self [____]

5. Increased detachment and desire for privacy.

Despite their satisfying relationships with others, self-actualizing people are ‘comfortably detached’ and value solitude and being alone. Even in the company of genuinely close friends SAs can seem detached by a lack in their need for constant communication.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on your level of Comfortable Detachment [____]

6. Increased Autonomy, and Resistance to Enculturation.

Self-actualizers have a high level of autonomy and are tend not to rely on external authorities or other people. They are resourceful, independent, and reliant on their own experiences and judgement. They are Independent thinkers and are not reliant on culture or environment to form their own opinions and views.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on having the characteristic of Autonomy [____]

7. Greater Freshness of Appreciation, and Richness of Emotional Reaction.

With this ‘innocence of vision’ the self-actualizer holds a continued freshness of appreciation. A sunset or a flower is most often experienced as intensely as it was at first appreciated. With eyes of an artist or child SAs constantly renew their appreciation of life’s basic good things.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on maintaining an Innocence of Vision [____]

8. Higher Frequency of Peak Experiences.

All of Maslow’s subjects reported the frequent occurrence of peak experiences. These occasions were marked by feelings of ecstasy, harmony, and deep meaning. Sometimes described as a mystic experience. Self-actualizers have times they describe as feeling filled with light, in tune with the universe, or at one with all others, making them feel stronger and calmer than ever before.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on the frequency of your Peak Experiences [____]

9. Increased Identification with The Human Species.

Self-actualizers are socially compassionate and feel connected to all of humanity.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on your feelings of Connectedness to Humanity [____]

10. Profound Interpersonal Relationships.

The interpersonal relationships of self-actualizers are marked by deep loving bonds. While usually possessing fewer friends those friendships will be close and more intimate. SAs do not collect many surface relationships.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on the depth of your Interpersonal Relationships [____]

11. More Democratic Character Structure.

While SAs value their own autonomy (tend not to rely on external authorities or other people) they do recognise and hold equal the individual rights and strengths in all people.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on your Democratic Characteristic [____]

12. Greatly Increased Creativeness.

SAs enjoy times of high creativity that may be expressed in many areas. Creativity is not limited to the arts and sciences. Maslow has said that a first-rate cook is better than a second-rate painter.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on your Creativeness [____]

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” ― Osho


13. Certain of Changes in The Value System.

Self-actualizing people are aware that they are not perfect and that there are always going to be new things to learn and new ways to grow. They are certain there will be changes in their value system and thus changes in their outlook.

  • [1 to 10] rate yourself on your Certainty of Change [____]

"CVS 2 BVS – Whatever the current view of the situation (CVS), there is always a better view of the situation (BVS)" – Software For Your Brain by Michael A. Hewitt-Gleeson


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The 13 Characteristics of Self-Actualization

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