For the final project in my advanced language arts class this year, we had to create a new model for a person to reach self-actualization. We had to argue why it was better than Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and explain the new steps of the model. The model my group created shows how a person must reach fulfillment as opposed to self-actualization. This post is going to be a long one, so be prepared to do a lot of reading! Enjoy!
After untying the ropes and releasing the sandbags, the beautiful and bright hot air balloon was released from the ground. Slowly and gracefully, the hot air balloon travelled farther and farther from the surface of the earth. As it reached into the clouds, its passengers could see the land below clearer than ever before. The journey to becoming a fulfilled person is like a hot air balloon in that the more needs a person satisfies, the clearer everything appears to them and the closer they are to becoming fulfilled. If someone allowed too much heat to fill the hot air balloon, it might pop or tear causing the passengers to come crashing to the ground. If a person is full of hot air or has a big ego, they may fail to meet their needs and never reach fulfillment. A person must satisfy their basic needs, communication, self-confidence, love, sense of accomplishment alongside benevolence, and be self-motivated to become fulfilled.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has become irrelevant to the people of today because it was created so many years ago. Times have changed and so have the needs of the people. Maslow’s hierarchy also lacks communication, self-motivation, and self-confidence in its steps to becoming self-actualized. These three needs are crucial to a person’s understanding of themselves and the world around them. They are also needed in order for a person to reach fulfillment. Unlike Maslow’s model which appears to have a clear end, this hot air balloon model shows that a person can become fulfilled, however, their journey is never complete and they are always working to accomplish new things and discover even more about life. Similar to Maslow’s model, a person must first satisfy their basic needs to start their journey.
Whether it be shelter, food, clothing, or water these are basic needs that a person must satisfy in order for them to begin their journey to fulfillment. These basic needs are what help keep a person alive. Some people, like Shin Dong-hyuk, who had escaped from the internment camps in North Korea was deprived of his need for food (Harden 76) as well as a comfortable, spacious place to call home (Harden 15). In Camp 14, he was unable to become a fulfilled person because his basic needs were limited. A person can get by with enough food to keep them alive, enough water to keep them hydrated, and a small area to use as shelter but it may be difficult to survive. Even if a person is at a low on their basic needs, they still have the opportunity to become fulfilled. In order for a person to continue on their path to fulfillment, they must be able to communicate with others and have support systems present in their lives.
Communication is crucial to a person’s growth and ability to become fulfilled. It provides a person with comfort and people to talk with. It gives people a support system too. Social interactions make people happy and give them something to look forward to in their days. According to the documentary titled Happy, “studies show that the happiest people have strong and close relationships with their friends and family”. Communication allows for support systems between others to be built. People rely on others to give them criticism, encouragement, advice, and guidance therefore communication is critical to a person’s journey to becoming fulfilled. In life, the job of parents are to help their children overcome setbacks, help them see their progress over time, and guide their children in making the right decisions (Merryman). A lack of communication or support can halt one’s progress towards reaching fulfillment. When someone a person loves shows disappointment or disapproval, it can be difficult to feel confident in one’s self especially when they are doing their best to please their loved one. The main character of Two Kinds wasn’t able to become fulfilled because her mother failed to communicate with her in a way that would allow her to understand why she was disappointed. The girl’s mother wasn’t willing to support the main character through her struggles of discovering herself and thinking positive. Even though body language can be considered a form of communication, verbal communication allows people to gain feedback that they will be able to remember and use to improve themselves. Social interactions and having a support system are important in helping to build one’s self-confidence which is the next step in this model.
Self-confidence, or being able to be happy with one’s body, knowledge, and accomplishments is the next step on the path to becoming fulfilled. It is critical for a person to be able to have faith in who they are and their abilities because it allows them to continue gaining confidence in themselves. In today’s society, especially in schools, students are pressured to achieve good grades, particularly A’s so that they will feel good about themselves. Receiving a B in school is still a good grade to receive, however, most students feel that receiving a B in class doesn’t make them look as intelligent and doesn’t make them feel as accomplished as receiving an A does (Lieberman). In order for a person to achieve self-confidence, they must stop measuring themselves to others. They must “stop gauging [themselves] and comparing [themselves] with others’ accomplishments and possessions” (Green). A person must realize that only they can control their actions, feelings, thoughts and worry about themselves. When someone has faith in their abilities and has a plan for themselves in a sport, school, or life in general, they will be successful and ultimately become fulfilled, like Novak Djokovic, #1 men’s singles tennis player in the world. Starting at a very young age, not only did his coaches and parents know that he had potential to be an amazing tennis player, but he too knew he could be great. In order to do that, he worked extra hard, trading in his recess time for tennis practice and now Djokovic dominates the men’s professional tennis tour (Novak: Novak Djokovic). Believing in one’s own potential and and abilities assists them in becoming fulfilled and having loving relationships can back up one’s self confidence and journey to fulfillment.
Love can be defined as a strong feeling of attraction for someone, whether it be a friend, family member, or a significant other and it is beneficial to one’s happiness and sense of security. Not only this, but love allows a person to get closer to reaching fulfillment. When a person is in a loving relationship with someone else, they are willing to sacrifice their time and strength, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Oog from I Love Girl, spent every night he could moving rocks to form a path for Girl, whom he loved very much. He wanted Girl to be safe and have a more efficient way of getting to the river from her cave (Rich). Love is important to have in one’s life because it helps people “get through tough times and [allows them to] reach [their] peak potential” (James), as long as it is a healthy loving relationship. Some people struggle to form healthy loving relationships. They communicate poorly, are rude to one another, or forget to support their loved one. Hamlet and Ophelia, for example, loved one another, however, they struggled to deal with their negative emotions in a way that would not damage each other. Hamlet upset Ophelia by rejecting her love, and with the death of her father still fresh in her mind, she drowned herself in a river (Shakespeare). Hamlet and Ophelia may have been in a loving relationship, but since it was a damaging relationship, the two lovers weren’t able to become fulfilled. Love allows a person to feel as if they have accomplished something good in their life. It gives them a sense of accomplishment, urges them to be the most helpful, generous person they can be, and brings them closer to fulfillment.
Doing good things for others and wanting to be able to help other people learn is pivotal to one’s development towards reaching fulfillment. Having the satisfaction of helping others, getting good grades in school, receiving awards in sports, and recognition in one’s community are not only important to the confidence and security of a person, but their sense of accomplishment. Men’s #1 singles tennis player, Novak Djokovic, has had a successful tennis career and this has given him confidence as well as a strong sense of accomplishment. Not only does he have a sense of accomplishment with his career, but he has had success with his foundation, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which raises money for poor children throughout Serbia in order to build and create safe, nurturing, and fun environments for them to learn and play in. So far, his foundation has helped over 10,000 children in Serbia (About Us: Novak Djokovic Foundation). Djokovic has been willing to give back to the people of his country and this has added to his sense of accomplishment. Others may not be as successful as Djokovic or have a wonderful tennis career like he does, but they may still be willing to perform helpful acts for others. However, some people may not have a sense of accomplishment because they haven’t been successful in anything or don’t have the motivation to accomplish something like the main character of Two Kinds. She was constantly pushed to try new hobbies and activities with hopes of becoming a prodigy in at least one. Since she wasn’t successful in any of the activities she tried, she had no sense of accomplishment and was unable to motivate herself to feel as if she had a sense of accomplishment let alone fulfillment.
Before a person can finally become fulfilled, they must have self-motivation. Self-motivation is a person’s drive to push through difficult times and get work done on a day to day basis. If a person wants to become wealthy, lose weight, or meet a certain goal, they have to create a plan and follow it. According to a surfer interviewed in Happy, a documentary, “If [a person] wants to be a surfer, they will be, and if they want to be a doctor, they will be”. A person should do what they enjoy and want to do so that they will be the happiest they can be and have the most insight on their life. If someone wants to perform better in a sport or academics they need to push themselves to work hard and accomplish their goals like Peekay in The Power of One. Despite the beliefs of most people in his life, Peekay believed he could become the welterweight champion of the world. With long, hard hours of work and training over many years, Peekay managed to stay undefeated in his boxing matches and “earned an exaggerated reputation as a boxer” (Courtenay 342). Peekay was motivated to prove everyone in his life wrong and accomplish something great in his life. Even when a person is in a position of strength or at the top of their game, they need to be motivated to stay on top and become even better so that they can remain in their position. In an interview with Djokovic about being in the #1 position, Djokovic said, “I believe that all guys that are out there are fighting each week to get to number one and I know that… I think that you need to work twice as hard when you’re up there” (Stutchbury). When someone is lacking motivation, they struggle to accomplish goals or succeed in many things. The main character of Two Kinds had no motivation to try to become the next Shirley Temple, an expert pianist, or even succeed in school after failing in many activities. Even though her mother would persuade her and find ways to motivate her daughter to become successful, they would never motivate the poor girl (Tan). A parental figure or a friend could be doing whatever they can to push or force someone to become good at something but this will usually never motivate the person to accomplish a goal. In the end, it is the individual being pushed that has to force themselves to practice and succeed. Once a person is able to motivate themselves to accomplish goals, be successful, and find happiness within themselves, they can become fulfilled.
After a long journey filled with positive and negative experiences, a person finally can become fulfilled, realizing all that they are able to do, what their potential is, and that they are as happy as they are. Fulfillment is the satisfaction or happiness as a result of accomplishing something in a career, school, sports, or anything in life that comes from becoming a fully-developed being. In life, a person will experience many ups and downs, successes and failures. They have to learn to overcome the negative aspects of their lives and watch as their successes slowly become bigger and more important in their lives. When a person believes that they have enough accomplishments to quit trying in life and finally relax, but they continue accomplishing goals, they have become fulfilled (Gordon). Becoming fulfilled means that one is happy with who they are and all that they have accomplished (Cort) and in order to do this, a person must embrace change as well as the unknown. They must enjoy the process of reaching goals and discovering how to reach fulfillment. When a person reaches fulfillment, they are humble, have a purpose to life, are motivated by growth, and aren’t bothered by the little events in life (Sze). Even after a person is fulfilled, their work is never done and they continue to set and accomplish goals. A fulfilled person knows that there is always room to improve and learn, so they are eager to try new activities and hobbies that will keep them satisfied and happy with their accomplishments and life. This new model gives a person unlimited room to continue accomplishing goals and improving themselves once they have become fulfilled.
The hot air balloon travelled over luscious, green pastures and fields of wildflowers. The passengers inside excitedly waved down at cars, which appeared as ants in a long line from high up in the sky. The people could see so much from their halcyon place in the sky. They felt happy, truly happy. The ride up into the sky gave them a sense of excitement as well as accomplishment in life, giving them motivation to keep trying new things and be successful. This new model with the analogy of a hot air balloon is more fitting in modern times than Maslow’s old model. It touches on several traits and needs that Maslow missed with his model. It also allows a person to continue growing and improving, unlike Maslow’s model which abruptly ends after one becomes self-actualized. In order to become fulfilled, a person should satisfy their basic needs, need for communication, have self-confidence, love, and a sense of accomplishment. A person must also be benevolent and have self-motivation. Only after a person has acquired all of these traits and satisfied their needs, can they reach fulfillment, allowing them to truly be happy and see the world in a new, bright, and encouraging light.
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