The Gifts That Come With Knowing Your Purpose

Knowing your purpose gives life meaning. It is what allows you to grow into your highest self, and gives each day direction and fulfillment. When you know your purpose, the values on which it is based, and your path to fulfilling it, you are well on your way to self-actualization.

Abraham Maslow was a pioneering American psychologist who gave us the hierarchy of human needs, and wrote extensively on the subjects of peak experiences and self-actualization, which he called “the full use and exploitation of talents, capacities, potentialities…” In Personality and Personal Growth (Prentice-Hall, 2005), Robert Frager and James Fadiman describe the characteristics Maslow ascribed to self-actualized people:


1. More efficient at perceiving reality, and more comfortable with their relationship to it
2. Accepting of self, others, and nature
3. Spontaneous, simple, and natural
4. Problem-centered, as opposed to ego-centered
5. Detached, with a need for privacy
6. Autonomous, independent from their culture or environment
7. Appreciative, in a way that is always fresh and new
8. Capable of mystical and peak experiences
9. Able to feel Gemeinschaftsgefuhl (a feeling of kinship with others)
10. Given to deep and profound personal relationships
11. Democratic in their character structure
12. Able to discriminate between the means and the ends, between good and evil
13. Philosophical, with a sense of humor that is not hostile
14. Creative
15. Resistant to being encultured, which means that they can transcend any particular culture

Self-actualization is something to which we can all aspire, and an essential ingredient is being clear about our purpose in life. Yet self-actualization is not a static state. It is an ongoing process that asks us to live fully and creatively. And since it is open-ended, it requires that we become conscious of the unseen quantum universe where thoughts shape reality. That is the subject of the next chapter.