Self-actualization is a term that has been used in various psychology theories, often in different ways. The term was originally introduced by the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one’s full potential. In Goldstein’s view, it is the organism’s master motive, the only real motive: “the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive … the drive of self-actualization”. The concept was brought most fully to prominence in Abraham Maslow’shierarchy of needstheory as the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and mental needs are essentially fulfilled and the “actualization” of the full personal potential takes place, although he adapted this viewpoint later on in life, and saw it more flexible.
Self-actualization can be seen as similar to words and concepts such as self-discovery, self-reflection, self-realization and self-exploration.