I returned to work today after a week-long vacation, and within five minutes I was reminded why I need to change things up. A lot. I suppose a job is really just meant to satisfy our needs for financial security and perhaps some esteem found within our achievements, but given the time I spend at work, I want more than that in return. Thinking back to Psychology 101 and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, my distaste for my work is because it does nothing to satisfy my need for self-actualization*. Is it supposed to? Perhaps not, but I blame it for getting in my way then.
My personal self-actualization involves freedom. And I don’t use that word lightly.
“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened
of responsibility.” Sigmund Freud
In my mind, the responsibility of freedom requires that you meet those highest needs. It may seem overly simple, but why would anyone want to go to their deathbed knowing they never fulfilled their dreams? You need to ask yourself: What do I really want? The real responsibility starts when you answer that question and follow it up with action. This is why I’m super impressed by people who risk it all for the sake of their happiness.
My year off in 2018 is more than a time to travel. It’s the opportunity I am giving myself to explore what I have to offer, and try to make that my life’s work. My retirement career. My reason to get out of bed in the morning. Staying employed in an unfulfilling job is a Catch-22 for me; I need my job to satisfy my “deficiency needs”, because without those needs met, I’m not in a position to self-actualize.
So what do I really want? I want the freedom to create in a way that’s meaningful and helpful. I want to see the world, and find a way to help you see it too. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy photography. I’m not good enough at either to be paid for it. But can I be? Over the next four years while I save for my sabbatical, I can use the time to improve and learn to market those skills. I can take courses, practice, develop. I can do whatever I want because I’m buying myself the ultimate freedom, albeit only a year. I’m open-minded enough to smile at the possibilities that go beyond 2018, but for now, I’ll focus on the next five years of my life. It’s all up to me 🙂
“What a man can be, he must be.” This quotation forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions. As previously mentioned, Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs, but master them.Share This: