Tony Leighton is a Canadian writer happily retired and attempting to help others feel the same.

Are you "self-actualized"? Find out here.

Self-actualization. I’ve been throwing that term around for years with only a dim awareness of exactly what it means. I’ve been aiming at it what I think it means.

Now I know. The idea originated with Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of Humanistic Psychology. Self-actualization was at the top of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs that progressed from the basics of life like water and warmth, through safety, love, esteem, and eventually, self-actualization.

Maslow believed that to become the person we have the potential to be in this life, we must be self-actualized. He held that we are more likely to thrive when we can confront life with characteristics such as spontaneity, positive self-regard, and acceptance of paradoxes. There were 17 characteristics in Maslow’s definition.

It seems to me that confronting retired life, a time when we have the time to become our best selves (assuming that’s one of your goals), those same characteristics would help a lot.

So how self-actualized are you, and hence, I suppose, how prepared emotionally to thrive in retirement?

Now you can find out.

Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at Columbia University, has recently updated Maslow’s list of characteristics, reducing them from 17 to 10 and offering an anonymous online test as part of his research.

The test is here.

I did pretty well — assuming I was telling myself the truth.


Feel free to email me about this post.
I probably can’t respond but would appreciate your insight or story or query, which I might refer to in a future post.

Kurt Knew

Reverse-Downsizing: Trading One Kind of Spaciousness for Another