Self-Actualization Thoughts

From: "Bill Cottringer" <>

To: "Van Sloan" <>

Subject: Thoughts

Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 08:41:20 -0500


I finished a rough draft of the article: Teaching Children What Matters Most: Getting Along With Others. I'll figure out a way to get it to you in a day or so.

In the meantime, let me pose a fundamental idea of mine. First, here is the way I arrive at the "truth" of something. I tend to be extremely intuitive of important ideas floating around out there in the "collective unconscious." I verify these ideas with my own experience. Then I clean them up a little with my ability to think about them critically. Next I check them out with great thinkers whom I respect. Finally I validate them by testing them out (practical research) with common folks.

Probably the most basic idea I hold to be true through all the above process is this: We are all on a self-actualizing journey to become more aware and more conscious of everything. Increased awareness leads to the inescapable conclusion that we are all much more responsible and powerful than we first imagine, in helping to determine whatever happens to us, from being extremely successful to being a total failure. The less aware we are the more of a victim we remain in a reactive mode; the more aware we become, the more of a proactive actor we become in creating our future. This is the value of practical intelligence put to action.

The most gains in self-development begin with the understanding of this power we have and slowing down long enough to see the intimate connection between all the choices we make minute by minute, and the results/consequences those choices bring us (In essence, the main goal of self-actualization is to stumble upon the Law of Karma). Lasting change can only occur when we accept our responsibility and power and begin to notice these connections closer, eventually making the right choices that gradually lead to success.

Children are making unaware/unconscious choices to be unsuccessful by being unlikable, unskilled socially, and not using emotional competencies appropriately. The change process requires their accurate understanding of their own responsibility in making these "wrong" choices and a readiness/determination to practice making different choices. Likability/ SQ "coaches" have the task of helping students become more aware of their successes and failures (SQ measure), encouraging them to become more aware of their power to turn failures into successes, and to stimulate/motivate them to practice making the little changes that get big results. In my earlier efforts to rehabilitate criminals and normalize mental patients, I was only successful when I could communicate an accurate understanding of their worlds, help them realize their actual discomfort of being where they were, "selling" the benefits of positive change, and holding their hands through the process of making those changes.

What do you think?


Response from Van Sloan:

Hey Bil! -

My immediate reaction is Right-On! You have great intuitive insights. If only you had a megaphone or platform with which to broadcast your thoughts. Your "most basic idea" describing everyone's struggle to self-actualization seems to me to be a valuable addition to Maslow's framework. Let me encourage you to expand your email's thoughts into an article for an academic publication.

And yes, I agree that our SQ/ Likability ideas can have their greatest impact with young minds, which are more malleable than in older folk. Your article title is dynamite: Teaching Children What Matters Most: Getting Along With Others. A lot of parents subconsciously agree with that thought. But they do not know, beyond common sense, how to do the teaching - or just how important social skills are to success. If they did know, they would pressure their schools to make Getting Along as important a part of the curriculum as one of the three R's. I do look forward to reading your draft of the article.

Perhaps it is understandable why the teaching of Likability has not been stressed more. Until the SQ measure, there has been no way of finding out for certain what teaching methods are really effective in helping others "get along." Similarly, many efforts in quantifying/ improving other human skills have not been rigorously tested. Except for the IQ measure, I think the "science" of psychology has justifiably been criticized for its intellectual flabbiness.

One culprit is the prevalent concern for political correctness. Fortunately with Social Skills, you and I are not likely to suffer from the attacks of those who do not like where our research leads, as with "The Bell Curve." But your overall idea that "we are all much more responsible and powerful than we first imagine" might not find as much resonance with liberal critics as it does with me!

What a great combination - your process of developing insights, plus my approach that eliminates self-bias in surveys. I think there is a world of psychological issues on which we can shed new light!

Let's get to them!!


Go to: Cottringer's article on Likability

Go to: Comparison of SQ and Cottringer research

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