Ian Weinberg

1 year ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Self-actualization post Covid

Self-actualization post Covid

The concept of self-actualization is used pretty loosely. Coined originally by Kurt Goldstein, the concept referred to the individual becoming holistic through the realization that we comprise ‘self’ together with the environments that we inhabit. The concept was subsequently developed further by Maslow who positioned it at the apex of his hierarchy of needs. In this context Maslow defined self-actualization as ‘what a man can be, he must be’ (I assume this referred to women as well!) More contemporary thinkers have defined self-actualization as the full realization of one’s creative, intellectual, emotional and social potential as the source of our primary motivation, as opposed to being motivated and driven by environmental expectation, reward, power and status.

In the world of modern coaching, self-actualization became the buzz word. Consequently, coaching clients have been guided to ‘unleash their full potential’. When one fleshes out what the cornerstone is of the existing coaching offering we note an emphasis on such functions as goal-setting, enhancing self-esteem and seeking material reward and achievement. It struck me that all these concepts were directed at enhancing oneself as an entity divorced from one’s environment, or even at the expense of the environment. The self-actualization arising from this approach would be a half-baked version still driven by environmental expectation, status and prestige. It would serve only to forever feed the narcissistic needs of our being.

The missing component is value contribution to the greater whole. Value contribution can be defined as making something better than it was before engaging with it. This applies to self, to one’s personal environment and to the greater environment. Fundamental to value contribution is the requirement that we develop a sensitivity and empathy to self and to those in the greater external environment. In this way we may see ourselves as well as our suffering in the lives and suffering of others and thereby develop the motivation for value contribution. Additionally we contribute meaningfully to our own self-actualization. This was one of the core themes in the teachings of Viktor Frankl. Frankl took the concept further by indicating that this engagement would contribute materially to finding our own personal meaning and purpose. Allied to value contribution is the concept of gratitude. Effectively, gratitude is empathy received from something bigger than self. It is an acknowledgement of one’s fortunate situation as well as the existence of an order greater than oneself. This leads poignantly on to another of Frankl’s teachings – transform the expectations that you have of life into the question rather of what the greater order of things expects of you as a unique self-actualized individual. Here lies the real driver to attaining personal meaning and purpose.

As we engage a new post-Covid order I would like to believe that somehow we will be able to transcend the half-baked version of self-actualization with its narcissistic components, its obsession with consumerism and its disparaging judgementalism, to the more authentic version. Perhaps the fear, the illness, the financial hardships and the resulting existential vacuum may just be the catalyst that spurs us on to incorporate a little more sensitivity and empathy and thereby create a more meaningful, supportive, respectful and sustaining space. 


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Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #23

#25
Harvey Lloyd Thanks Harvey that made me laugh ... "in the first few days I would have called Dad and said cooked em all." I would likely be right beside you ... an echo Christ humility is poignantly demonstrated in the Garden of Gethsemane “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22 ... then moments later ... Judas betrays him bringing with him "a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people" Jesus said: “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns. (Luke 22) Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #22

#24
Yes i will have to admit that James is a special one. If you are looking for sympathy he is not the one to turn to. Humility when all forms of of power are available is a powerful weapon in conflict. This is what is so amazing concerning Jesus. If had been chosen for the role:) in the first few days i would have called dad and said cookem all.

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #21

#24
Harvey Lloyd Thank you for sharing that insight about the quality of "meekness" The quality seems to oppose strength but it's actually a secret of strength. I like what you said: "genuinely concerned about both winning." The greatest example: The Lord Himself was "humble in heart" (Matthew 11) There are many paradox's in the Word: be humble & you will be held in high regard "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you." ~ James 4

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #20

#22
I think we need look at the definition of meek in antiquity. Biblically "meek" was derogatory but virtuous. Its meaning was that you carried a sword and the strength/authority to use it, but found other ways to settle the conflict. Meek. Being meek under this definition is the actionable way of delivering humility to others. Yes i have the ability, resources and weapons needed to win this conflict. But known of these are of value if you don't win also. (WIN-WIN) or being meek. From the other side of the table i see this as humility as one does not immediately reach for the powerbase to win. But is genuinely concerned about both winning. There are many power plays to bring to conflict. Meekness as defined in ancient times is the strongest of them all.

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #19

#19
Harvey Lloyd As always Harvey I appreciate you ... your wisdom I just read an affirmation about humility so I'll share it here https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6682097052249391104/ Is HUMILITY a sign of strength?

John Rylance

1 year ago #18

We would all like to know what the future holds. I found this quote over the weekend. I hate spoilers but i would like to know how 2020 will end. Wouldn't we all, but maybe its better to wait and see. At least in not knowing we can feel we are able to influence outcomes.

Ian Weinberg

1 year ago #17

#19
Thanks for sharing that perspective Harvey Lloyd I guess it does boil down in the end to the forces of sensitivity and value contribution on the one hand and narcissistic, insensitive consumerism on the other. In Buddhist terms - the age old conflict between dukka and enlightenment. Anyone’s guess where this one will end.

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #16

Ian Weinberg This one is a keeper. You very eloquently stated both what Buddha and Jesus preached. Even some forgotten kingdoms of our early city state attempts preached the same thing. One such story of early civilization stated that the King each year was hauled outside the gates and the village would humiliate and strip the king of his clothes. In the end new robes were presented and a feast was had. The new year began. All in an effort to subdue arrogance brought on by materialism. All of this to point out exactly what you stated. Humility is the first to go as we venture into the material world. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor. A challenging task in any millenia. One of two things will happen over the next few decades. Materialism will win and we all participate in a very scary world or a remnant will withstand the scary world and rebuild. My hope is the third alternative is possible. The wise men such as you get through and the remnant stops the advancement of gross materialism. Thanks for the thoughts.

Pascal Derrien

1 year ago #15

What goes around comes around , we will get thru the turbulences it's a question of personal accountability Covid is actually enabling us to do just that if we think about it ....my two cents :-)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

1 year ago #14

#13
Ian, you're not naive. Hope dies last. I have no faith in the world's leaders, global politics and new fairer world order, but I'm still hoping. Human nature is the reason why things just won’t change. The same nature makes us hope even when hope is the only thing left. :)

Jerry Fletcher

1 year ago #13

Ian, I share your hope but fear that a huge portion of mankind cannot begin to perceive that possibility. I suspect that the inherent biases in the USA and in other parts of the world are, sadly, allowing a fascist viewpoint and behaviors to come to the fore. And so it goes.

Ian Weinberg

1 year ago #12

#10
Hi again Lada. There is a Buddhist connection - it's all about the Buddhist concept referred to as dukka: The obsession with material acquisitions and the fear of loss of those possessions as well as fear of loss of status, adoration etc. So indeed you experienced an accurate association albeit subliminal. As regards the more sensitive and empathic human post-Covid - I guess I was projecting more my hopes rather than reality, which may be a little naive. Post-Covid we're seeing all the existing divides between people, maybe even worse. And with some very destructive emotions based on that perpetual disparaging judgementalism. I guess there's no real evidence for the collective evolution of mankind. We seem to be carrying members of our species who are just as savage as they were 2000 years ago.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

1 year ago #11

#7
Just one small correction, Paul Walters. My short buzz from a week ago, https://www.bebee.com/content/3757615/2146071 inspired Ian to re-publish this post on beBee that was published on LinkedIn initially. Although I would like my thoughts were the inspiration for this thought-provoking piece, I cannot take credit for it. 😊

Lada 🏡 Prkic

1 year ago #10

#7
Just one small correction, Paul Walters. My short buzz from two a week ago, https://www.bebee.com/content/3757615/2146071 inspired Ian to re-publish this post on beBee that was published on LinkedIn initially. Although I would like my thoughts were the inspiration for this thought-provoking piece, I cannot take credit for it. 😊

Lada 🏡 Prkic

1 year ago #9

Ian, your posts are always a challenge to comment on. While reading your thoughts about self-actualisation, an image popped into my head - an image of Budha sitting silently on a blooming lotus flower. I'm not a Buddhist and don't know if self-actualisation is in line with Buddhism. As I understand the whole concept, a self-realised person is also socially responsible. Such kind of responsibility implies compassion and empathy, and concern with the world, or the greater environment in your words. I agree with you about a narcissistic approach to self-realisation as presented by the personal development industry. After watching one live video with Tony Robbins, I asked myself why thousands of people "buy" what he's preaching. I would like to believe that the new post-COVID order will bring "more sensitivity and empathy and thereby create a more meaningful, supportive, respectful and sustaining space" but I'm not convinced.

Ian Weinberg

1 year ago #8

#8
Just got me all dammed up!

Paul Walters

1 year ago #7

Ian Weinberg. perhaps call Mr Dam for a few spells which might come in handy during a tricky spinal operation...you never know!

Paul Walters

1 year ago #6

Ian Weinberg for perhaps the inspiration for this piece. Also, would it be any good suggesting to Dear Leader in the USA to read some of the philosophers you mention? Perhaps not...dodon't think he reads. A thought-provoking article as always...thank you.

Paul Walters

1 year ago #5

#1
Ian Weinberg Indeed you do speak for the likes of the Aussie/Scott poet ( @ken Bodie ) and myself. Yup this platform has been encroached upon by ads for penis enlargement and some viagra like concoction. Shame really but it is up to those in Bebe HQ to ferret out this drivel so that the platform can rediscover its roots.

Ken Boddie

1 year ago #4

I guess, Ian, we could all improve our sensitivity and empathy by striving to make a “value contribution to the greater whole.” The alternative is, like fake news, to produce senseless and pathetic offerings which invariably are disposed like “contributions to the greater hole.” 🤗

Lada 🏡 Prkic

1 year ago #3

#1
Thanks, Ian. Glad to see you back, and look forward to some hearty dialogue with "old folk". :) I'll comment in the morning.

Ian Weinberg The"new post-Covid order". We aren't fully there yet. There is lots more coming.

Ian Weinberg

1 year ago #1

This was published on LinkedIn initially. But inspired by Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic and the rest of the gang.

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