Don’t Sell Yourself Short

“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.”  ~ Abraham Maslow

We’re just a few days away from the new year, 2018. Lots of folks are making resolutions and goals to make it a good one, including myself.

2017 was actually a pretty awesome year for me. Not because everything that happened was amazing, but because I didn’t sell myself short.

I think of the self-actualizing man not as an ordinary man with something added, but rather as the ordinary man with nothing taken away.” Maslow 

When we sell ourselves short, we take away from our potential — the talents, abilities, gifts, etc. that make us our full selves. And when we live and feel like whole and like ourselves, we’re happier and healthier, which makes the world happier and healthier.

This upcoming new year is full of potential because we’re full of potential. They is not selling ourselves short.

The following are 12 ways we sell ourselves short of our full potential, inspired by the king of self-actualization, Abraham Maslow. I hope you’ll consider these things as you plan and prepare for the new year ahead.  Which of these things do you struggle with most?   How do you plan on overcoming them?

Make a plan, make the most of your potential, don’t sell yourself short.

12 Ways We Sell Ourselves Short


  1. Distraction 

“First, self- actualization means experiencing fully, vividly, selflessly, with full concentration and total absorption” Maslow

2. Too Much Time in the Real World

“creativeness comes partly out of the unconscious, i.e., is a healthy regression, a temporary turning away from the real world.” Maslow

3.  Failing to Follow Your Interests/Hobbies/Dreams/etc.

“working to do well the thing that one wants to do” (Maslow, 1971, p. 48).

4. Lack of Appreciation for All Aspects of Life (Both Good & Bad)

“Self-actualizing people enjoy life in general and practically all its aspects, while most other people enjoy only stray moments of triumph …” (Maslow, 1999, p. 37)

5. Limiting Ourselves 

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.”  Maslow
 6. Self-Doubt 

 “Be independent of the good opinion of other people.” Maslow


7. Fear

“Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.” Maslow

“We fear our highest possibilities. We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments, under conditions of great courage. We enjoy and even thrill to godlike possibilities we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness, awe, and fear before these very same possibilities.”  Maslow

8. Over-complicating Things 

“The sacred is in the ordinary…it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own backyard…travel may be a flight from confronting the scared–this lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.” Maslow

9. False Optimism

“False optimism sooner or later means disillusionment, anger and hopelessness.”  Maslow

10. Overprotecting

“Not allowing people to go through their pain, and protecting them from it, may turn out to be a kind of over-protection, which in turn implies a certain lack of respect for the integrity and the intrinsic nature and the future development of the individual.” Maslow

11. Not Listening

“To be able to listen — really, wholly passively, self-effacingly listen — without presupposing, classifying, improving, controverting, evaluating,
approving or disapproving, without dueling with what is being said, without rehearsing the rebuttal in advance, without free-associating to portions of what is being said so that succeeding portions are not heard at all — such listening is rare.” Maslow

12. Selfishness

“The empirical fact is that self-actualizing people, our best experiencers, are also our most compassionate, our great improvers and reformers of society, our most effective fighters against injustice, inequality, slavery, cruelty, exploitation (and also are best fighters for excellence, effectiveness, competence). And it also becomes clearer and clearer that our best ‘helpers’ are the most fully human persons. What I may call the bodhisattvic path is an integration of self-improvement and social zeal, i.e., the best way to become a better ‘helper’ is to become a better person. But one necessary aspect of becoming a better person is via helping other people. So one must and can do both simultaneously.” Maslow


Wishing you a new year of discovery, growth, happiness, and healing!



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