Advanced living - self actualization and self-masterySelf-actualization can be defined as "the full realization of your potential". You can't do this if you are not the master of yourself. You also need to know what you can and can't do (i.e. your limits) and what you care about, don't care about and like to do. In other words, the more you know about yourself, the more you can "... to thine own self, be true."
This is a tall order. As an aside, at 6 foot '2 inches, I know a bit about tall orders :)
To master yourself, and thus put yourself on the path to self-actualization, here are tools that I pass along to help you know yourself.
1. Instruments from Relationship Awareness Theory. If you don't know what Relationship Awareness Theory is, then contact me and we can go through it, to help you improve your relationships, reduce conflict and become more self-aware.
2. Simple lists of observation. For example, "What I like to do, and don't like to do", "Things that are easy for me and hard for me," and "Things that make me feel good and not good." As you observe your life events, you are able to choose more wisely and create situations that help you to enjoy life more. You don't have to understand it, you only need to know what works for you, and what doesn't. You have one life to live, and now is the time to make it better.
3. What are your limits? I was thrust into learning about the world of ADD through a coincidence of events. This opened my eyes to the research of brain "deficiencies" and terms such as "hyperfocus" as well as articulate my observations over the years. Some people, and families do better in hands-on occupations such as construction, carpentry and trades while others roll their eyes at anything that doesn't have a three-column ledger. In my opinion, we don't know enough yet about hereditary brain structure, but there might be more to '"like father, like son" than simple environmental circumstances. My research unveiled the reality of current findings and that some brains can't choose to focus on boring subjects. No amount of persuasion, stimulants or threats can make be drool in front of a general ledger. Accounting is boring for me, but I can hyperfocus on the chemistry of beer fermentation and internets. To assume, and think that "you can do anything you believe you can do" only sets you up for failure. Learn your limits, and stay away from them. Life is too short to do everything, therefore go where you biological body is capable of going, and can excel at.
4. Consciously learn tools to improve your self-esteem. Work at it, without shame or guilt. You might be thinking "Ok Wayne, I read this far, but now you are bordering on heresy." Isn't it the meek and mild that will inherit the earth. I can't be arrogant and consciously improve my self-esteem. The truth is that we know more about self-esteem and how to improve it than ever before in history. Read a book about self-esteem and educate yourself on ways to improve your self-esteem and those around you. What are the factors that contribute to increase or attack your self-esteem? It is heresy to be ignorant of this. If you are a parent, then you are on the spot to help your children learn about healthy self-esteem. Stupid affirmations such as "I like myself" are pointless and time-bombs. One exercise to increase your self-esteem to write down fifteen accomplishments that you are proud of. Then, review the list and honestly ask yourself how you measure up to others. You will see that you deserve all the self-esteem that you are entitled to. You can't do this and not realize how valuable you are and how much you accomplish despite the odds being stacked against you. Other exercises are more indepth, and are more powerful. The bottom line is that you are responsible to learn about self-esteem and can help yourself to do better.
When you decide that you are going to live an advanced life, and not be limited to your past and your environment, then you need to know yourself. Self-mastery starts with self-knowledge and you can learn yourself with simple tools and observation.