It's a rare thing to be Mr. or Ms. Self-Actualized. Less than 1% of us will ever get there. According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, those who did include Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Throughout the '08 campaign, Barack Obama has given every indication that he is the definition of self-actualized. Take a look at a few of the criteria and why he fits them to a tee -- and while you're at it see if they fit you! If there's a match, please consider running for (or staying in) office. We need more of you!
1. Obama is Perceptive
People with pathologies such as narcissism see the world as a refection of themselves. They are unable to get out of there own subjective experience long enough to see what's really going on. Obama has the ability and intelligence to leave behind narrow perspectives for a more encompassing, accurate view of the world. Obama was spot on in his perception about American's desire for change this election. In terms of the financial crisis, he accurately perceived the mood of the country as more anxious than angry.
2. Obama Resolves Dichotomies
Throughout history, paranoid leaders have sought to divide with their dangerous dichotomies -- us vs. them instead of we; black vs. white instead of shades of grey. Obama himself is a walking dichotomy. He's the embodiment of disparate elements existing as a whole. Resolving conflicts, dealing with ambiguity, and finding the unity in opposites is first nature to him.
3. Obama is Respectful and Humble
Humble people are low on arrogance, but high on true confidence. When you are comfortable in your own shoes, it's easier to compromise, stay strong when you need to, and there's absolutely no reason to disrespect or degrade others.
4. Obama is Problem-Focused
Over and over, Obama has reminded us that this election isn't about him; it's about the practical work of problem-solving. His focus is on the financial crisis, jobs, heath care, and national security. The power of his focus gives Obama the capacity to ward off distractions.
5. Obama Accepts Human Nature
Where does Obama get his sense of calm? A good part of it likely comes from his understanding and acceptance of human nature, including his own nature. When you know who you are and are able to accept yourself and others--the good with the bad--your psyche becomes less of a roller coaster ride. It's easier to stay centered and true to yourself--just as Obama, despite urgings from some (Dowd your perception was so off on this) to be more heated in debates, instead lit a fire with his authenticity.