One helpful way to explore self-actualization theory as a starting point for human development is to use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy is commonly expressed in the form of a triangular pyramid. Physiological needs are at the base of the pyramid, while self-actualization is at the tip. Love and belonging lie at the middle, sandwiched between self-esteem (closer to self-actualization) and safety and security (closer to physiological needs).
Interpretations and applications of the theory vary and appear to have changed over time. Some scholars and psychologists interpret and apply self-actualization theory in terms of motivation. Visualize moving up Maslow’s pyramid fueled by some motivating force. As such, a famous musician may have been motivated by a force in the surrounding environment. It may not matter if the force is positive or negative. Learned behavior relative to music may have come from a parent, a teacher, or even a person’s own experimentation. Such motivation and learned behavior may influence the musician to reach self actualization through music.
Included below are some links about self-actualization theory, as well as a few interpretations and applications.