Chapter 13: Toward Self-Actualization

Renowned psychologist, Abraham Maslow once stated, “What man can be, he must be. This is self-actualization.” In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is at the pinnacle of the pyramid and can only be achieved when all of the other basic needs are met.

I made a conscious decision my senior year to dissolve any lingering drama, doubts or reservations and committed to reaching my true potential. Inwardly, I always knew I had more intelligence to showcase, but acknowledged that my self-inflicted struggles got the best of me in previous years. Most of my story, right up to the end, centered on school milestones because education lit my pathway. Although I spent most of my years well behind the learning curve, my school environment eventually provided a sense of security and fulfilled nearly every other necessary need (esteem, belonging, safety) to realize my potential.

In Toward Self-Actualization, I discovered that my accomplishments were never about making people proud of me or proving my doubters wrong. This was for me in preparation for making a meaningful contribution in my little corner of the world. At graduation, I realized that I didn’t have it all figured out at graduation, but that was okay. I decided to continue setting high standards for myself if for no other reason than it was going to be better than what life could’ve been had I settled for being a victim of my circumstances.

I had much to be thankful for on graduation day, but I was grateful for all of the random people who stepped up throughout my life at the right place and in the right moment. Life’s pass or fail pendulum could’ve swung in the most unfortunate direction, but thanks to those who stepped up when it mattered most, it managed to swing in my favor more often than not. Now it's my turn to pay it forward. 

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