Monthly Archives: October 2014

Your Weekly Noodle: October 29, 2014

 Noodle* on this…

Photo of rose bud withering on the stem representing refusal to self-discover for well-being

If we don’t allow ourselves to blossom, we risk shriveling up like this rosebud.

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

What pain or problem are you holding on to, that, if you let it go will allow you blossom into the magnificent “true you” – just like a rose?

Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below.

Read more about letting go and growing.


To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of Bernard Frisse





Developing Self-realization


Help wanted inwuire within sign with arrows poiting to heart and mind of on human figure representing the sources of self-realization for well-being

Self-realization is often called self-actualization by psychologists and self-fulfillment by philosophers and spiritual thinkers. Regardless of the term you use, the concept is the same. Self-realization is the process of maximizing what is inherently part of your nature. Just as a mustard seed will naturally become a tree, or a puppy to become a dog, so you have the power to develop your “natural” capabilities and to use them to develop more skills. It is an ongoing process and not a goal. It is both a freedom and a choice. You have the freedom to choose which of your innate capabilities you will fulfill.

Self-realization means that you have a future you can envision and desires you can realize. In seeking self-realization, ask yourself:

  • How can I make the best of myself?
  • What are my innate capabilities and how can I development them?
  • What desires do I want to achieve?
  • How do my capabilities support my aspirations?

Your desires depend on your capabilities. I love music. I took both piano and guitar lessons. Unfortunately I have no musical talent and pursuing a career in music would be extremely frustrating and likely to end in failure. Similarly, I love to paint, especially watercolors. But, my eyes don’t work together properly, so I have problems with depth perception. This limits my ability to create realistic images. So, I compensate by focusing on abstract expressionist painting, where depth perception is not so important.

Rather that abandon my aspirations, I found ways to build my passions into my life given the constraints of my innate capabilities, but still finding happiness and fulfillment in these areas of my life. I listen to music constantly, fulfilling my musical desires and I paint for myself, my family and friends in my unique abstract way, which brings me joy.

Self-realization is a Journey
Self-realization is not a straight line. It is a process – a journey of discovery, with wrong turn, distractions, failures and success. Urban legend claims that Thomas Edison failed anywhere from 700 to 10,000 times to invent a better light bulb. According to Walter S. Madison, a longtime associate of Edison, when he commented to Edison about his lack of results, the inventor replied, Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work. (1) This is the process of self-realization, trial and error fueled by persistence. But the number of trial and error cycles you go through can be minimized through mindful preparation.

Ponder this
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. ~Thomas A. Edison  

What are you considering giving up, that if you try just one more time may lead you to success?

 Next: Self Realization at work


  1. Dyer, F. L. and Martain, T.C. Edison: His Life and Inventions, 1910

Human figure image courtesy of Door to Self-esteem



All about Self-realization

Man holding up puzzle pieces trying to figure out how they go together as a analogy for developing self-realization and well-being

Kurt Goldstein, a neurologist and psychiatrist, first proposed the concept of self-realization in 1934. He defined “the tendency to actualize, as much as possible, a person’s individual capacities.” He described it   “not a goal to be achieved but a fundamental tendency for individuals to actualize their capabilities” and it is present in every situation.(1)  Psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers developed and expanded Goldstein work over the following decades. 

Characteristics of Self-realization
Maslow studied the work, writing and lives of 18 historic figures he identified as self-actualizing including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, William James, Aldous Huxley, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, William James, Benedict Spinoza, Ruth Benedict, and Max Wertheimer. Based on his research, Maslow identified a number of characteristic that these people had in common, including:

  • An accurate grasp of reality, allowing them to evaluate situations honestly and correctly.
  • Acceptance of themselves, others and nature with all their strengths and flaws.
  • Sense of spontaneity and authenticity.
  • Task oriented, having a mission or a purpose to fulfill.
  • Autonomous and self-motivating demonstrated in their ability to be resourceful and productive.
  • Appreciation of both the simple and the complex.
  • A deep connection with others, acting with compassion and humanity.
  • A few deep interpersonal relationships rather than many acquaintances.
  • Comfort with solitude.

Working on self-realization does not mean being perfect. In fact, Maslow was quick to point out some of the faults of highly self-actualizing people. In Motivation and Personality (1997), he wrote:

“They show many of the lesser human failings. They, too, are equipped with silly, wasteful, or thoughtless habits. They can be boring, stubborn, irritating. They are by no means free from a rather superficial vanity, and pride, partiality to their own productions, family, friends, and children.” (2)

Self-realization is about living in the moment and being all that you can be. It is part of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which includes physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-realization. This blog assumes that as a worker your employer has met its basic “duty of care” requirements relating to physiological and safety needs and issues such as work-related stress and work/life balance are in the domain under your health well-being.

According to Maslow and others, once basic needs are met, a person can work on issues of self-fulfillment belongs, esteem at the same time rather than sequentially. I place self-realization first in the list of tools because as we become more accepting of ourselves and our situation, we have more inner resources – confidence, patience, tolerance, compassion that allow us to build connections with other; develop our self-esteem and reputation at work; and tend to our physical and emotional well-being

Ponder This…

If it is bread that you seek, you will have bread.
If it is the soul you seek, you will find the soul.
If you understand this secret, you know you are that which you seek.” ― Rumi

What are you seeking to realize or enhance about yourself in your work life?

Next: Developing self-realization


  1. Goldstein, Kurt. The Organism: A Holistic Approach to Biology Derived from Pathological Data in Man. 1934. New York: Zone Books, 1995
  2. Maslow, Abraham, Toward a Psychology of Being, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1962

Your Weekly Noodle: October 15, 2014

NSunrise representing self-self realization and well-beingoodle* on this…

When we finally give up the struggle to find fulfillment “out there,” we have nowhere to go but within. It is at this moment of total surrender that a new light begins to dawn.  ~ Shakti Gawain

Name one thing you have been searching for “out there” and eventually found within yourself. Self-realization comes from within. You will be surprised at what you can learn about yourself.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the Comments field below

Read more about: Self-realization and Well-being

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Photo Credit: John Mueller

Self-realization and Well-being @ Work

Image showing surprise, self-reflection often involved an element of surprise Be all that you can be. This is the simplest definition of self-realization and growth you will find. It was also the recruiting slogan for the U.S. Army from 1980 to 2001, and it is a cornerstone of humanistic psychology that focuses on our potential, our drive for meaning and creativity and not on what is wrong with us. The terms self-realization, self-fulfillment and self-actualization are used interchangeably.

Self-realization may well be about surprising yourself – discovering things you have forgotten or things you didn’t know. I sometimes forget that I am a good teacher. I get so caught up in the “doing-ness” of it – in getting through the course material, that when a student comes up to me after class or sends me an e-mail saying. “Wow, that was great. Now, I understand …” I was pleasant surprised when this happened. In the rush and pressure of daily living, we forget who we are and what we do well, and self-realization is the process of reminding ourselves about the good we do and discovering opportunities to develop hidden talents and abilities.

Self-realization is driven by your values; a sense of meaning or purpose in your life; continuous learning; a sense of empowerment; and accountability. In exploring each area, you are:

  • Identifying and prioritizing your values so you can apply them to your work.
  • Creating or finding a “why” for your work like tangible outcomes; making a difference; having a sense of duty; teaching others, setting an example for your children or using your talents.
  • Developing your personal learning plan that does not depend only on courses or seminars offered by your employer to learn new skills or create opportunities for advancement.

Using the insights you gain from the information and exercises in the following posts you will identify areas of self-realization to work on; develop activities to enhance your well-being; and track your progress.

A Final Thought
Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread. ~ Richard Wright

Ponder This…
What talent or skill do you have that has been starving for realization, that if developed, would enhance your well-being and improve the quality of your work or the amount of work you complete? 

Next: All about Self-realization   

Your Weekly Noodle: October 8, 2014

Noodle* on this…Dog watching a skunk eat its food an example of patience and wisdom in well-being

Patience is the companion of wisdom. ~ St. Augustine

Patience is not about how long you wait, but how you behave while waiting. ~ Anonymous

This dog has learned patience and wisdom. Have you? How do you behave while you are waiting?

Share your thoughts with us in the Comment field below.

Read more about Patience and Wisdom.

To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Photo courtesy of Cleveland Seniors

Tips for Persisting with Patience

Hand holding a magic want

This is the second article on Persisting with Patience for Well-being. Click here for the first article

First, let’s review; well-being is a choice that will lead to you make changes in how you respond to events in your workplace. You will identify old ways of responding that do not support your well-being. Then, you must choose now more positive responses and practice them many times until they become natural for you. Here are some quick tips for persisting with patience.


Write down your well-being goal and post it someplace where you will see it regularly – on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, by the front door. Read it every day. For example, my wallet has two spaces for photo identifications – one space has my driver’s license and the other holds a note with my current goal. I read it every time I open my wallet.

Keep score. Add a tally sheet to your posted well-being goal and keep track of how many times you did your well-being task or use the Well-being Calendar at the end of this chapter.

Give yourself rewards for your successes. If the office grump finally says good morning to you, reward yourself by listening to a favorite tune or treat yourself to a “guilty pleasure” like buying a large cup of your favorite coffee instead of the usual medium. For me, it would be chocolate.

Visualize the result. What will it look like and what will you feel like when you reach your goal – the difficult client says thank you or your manager recognizes your accomplishments?

Ask for help. My friend Katherine has what she calls her “board of directors.” It is a group of friends whom she can call on for support when she needs help or just “needs a friend.” It doesn’t need to be several people, one person whom you trust and respect can be a great source of strength and support.

Ponder this…
Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead. ~ Mary Pierce 

Identify one thing that is not clear about your workplace well-being. What will you do to patiently clarify the situation?

Next: Self-realization and Well-being at Work

Your Weekly Noodle: October 1, 2014

Flowers growin in dry cracked ground representing persistence

Persist with patience, no matter how hard the road may be.

Noodle* on this…

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.
~ E. O. Wilson, Biologist

What goal will you work on this week and what actions will you take to keep going no matter how “hard the path?”

Share your goal and plan with us in the comment field below.

Read more about: Persisting with Patience

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Photo Credit: G. S. Hearron