How to live a fulfilling human life?

Abraham Maslow was the first psychologist to look specifically at what it takes to live a healthy, fulfilling human life. Prior to Maslow, psychology was focussed on dealing with mental illness and abnormality. Maslow suggested that to be happy, it is not sufficient to just remove sadness.

The 6 basic Human Emotional Needs

Maslow, Victor Frankl and Tony Robbins have developed the idea that there are 6 specific emotional needs that must be met in some way by each individual human being in order for life to have a sense of fulfillment.

These 6 needs must be met in a specific order… You can’t seek variety if you don’t have any safety; you can’t seek growth if you don’t have connection and significance.

  • 1. Safety & 2. Variety
  • 3. Connection & 4. Significance
  • 5. Contribution & 6. Growth

Video: The 6 Emotional Needs of Human Beings

Humanistic psychology

Maslow investigated the ingredients of positive mental health and developed Humanistic psychology. This approach to mental health is guided by the idea that we all possess the inner resources for growth and healing.

The basic principles behind humanistic psychology are simple:

  1. Here and Now is Everything – How you are right now is how you are in life; how you interact with me now shows how you interact with everyone.
  2. You are Responsible – To be mentally healthy, individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions.
  3. You are Worthy – Each person is worthy. I can take negative action, this never stops me being inherently worthy as a human being.
  4. You Need Growth – The ultimate goal of living is personal growth.

The Journey to Fulfilment

A Fulfilling Life or Transcendence is not a state that one attains, but a constant state of becoming. Self-Actualisation is a continual process of becoming rather than a perfect state one reaches of “happy ever after”.

No matter how learned or wise you become, if you stop the journey… you lose the sense of fulfilment. This is a journey, not a destination. This is life’s great pilgrimage.

You can’t copy someone else’s fulfilling life and expect personal fulfilment… your journey will be different than every other human being. If you find yourself following another’s footsteps… be careful.

If you liked this post, you will also like 17 Daily personal habits for a fulfilling life and The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People.

I came across a study reported in Mark Murphy’s book Hiring for Attitude.  (Here is a summary of Hiring for Attitude [pdf]).  The findings are based on 5,247 interviews.  Mark and his team categorised the top five reasons why new hires failed (were fired, asked to leave, received disciplinary action or significantly negative performance reviews).

Photo Credit: vinylmeister
Who will succeed?  Who will fail?  Photo Credit: vinylmeister

The 5 Biggest Reasons why New Hires Fail

The following are the top 5 areas of failure, matched with the percentage of respondents.

  1. Coachability (26%): The ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others.
  2. Emotional Intelligence (23%): The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, and accurately assess others’ emotions.
  3. Motivation (17%): Sufficient drive to achieve one’s full potential and excel on the job.
  4. Temperament (15%): Attitude and personality suited to the particular job and work environment.
  5. Technical Competence (11%): Functional or technical skills required to do the job.

Technical competence is fairly easy to test.  Don’t ask people how they would do something, Ask them about a time they have already done it.  Don’t allow people to tell you hypothetical stories, make them share real experience.

Coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament are more predictive of a new hires’ success or failure than technical skills are. How can you begin to decide if potential new hires have what it takes to be coachable, emotionally intelligent, self-motivated and have a balanced temperament?  Mark says this is more difficult, but you can watch how they are during the interview process.

Positive Attitudes of High Performers:

  • They take ownership of problems
  • They’re highly collaborative
  • They aren’t afraid to make mistakes
  • They meet commitments
  • They’re empathetic towards customers’ and colleagues’ needs

Negative Attitudes of Poor Performers:

  • They always find the negative
  • They gossip
  • They respond to feedback with an argument
  • They only do the bare minimum expected of them
  • They get overwhelmed by multiple demands and priorities
  • They always find someone else to blame for their mistakes
  • They’re unwilling to leave their comfort zone

How’s Your Employee Engagement?

My friend Bart Huisken is founder of Celpax.  They have a wonderfully simple business model.  They install a “good day/bad day” detector in the exit of a building and are able to track how HR initiatives impact the attitude and engagement of employees in the companies.  Have a look at this 35 second video to see how Celpax work: http://vimeo.com/67047557