#1598 Areté +1° #73: There Are No Perfect Humans

And You And I Won’t Be The First

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, a micro-chapter from my new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

451 of my all-time favorite ideas. Here's one of them…


If we’re looking for things that get in the way of our eudaimonic joy and antifragile confidence, thinking that we shouldn’t be experiencing challenge-problems would be at the top of the list.

Closely related would be the sense that something must be wrong with us because we are experiencing those challenges.

When we forget Rule #1 and THEN tell ourselves we must be inherently flawed because our lives aren’t perfect, we run the risk of cooking up a toxic brew of perfectionistic shame—which, of course, is not a wise idea.

Therefore, if we’re serious about forging some world-class antifragile confidence, we better hit this whole shame thing hard as well.

Let’s invite three of my favorite psychologists to share their wisdom on this subject: Abraham Maslow, Tal Ben-Shahar, and Kristin Neff.

First, Maslow.

As you may know, Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychologist who came up with the whole “hierarchy of needs.”

He basically said that as you take care of basic needs (like food and shelter and then a sense of belongingness and self-esteem), you get to a point where the need to actualize your potential is, as we discussed, as real as your need to breathe.

As part of his research, Maslow studied the greatest people of his generation—extraordinary humans like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt. These were truly great people who, in his words, had “self-actualized” their potential and, in my words, had given their greatest gifts in Heroic service to the world.

But… Here’s the deal.

These self-actualizing exemplars were NOT perfect.

Not even a single one of them.

Which is why Maslow said so unequivocally that there simply are NO perfect people.

Movers and shakers? Yep.

Truly great people? Yep.

Perfect people? Not even one.

It’s INCREDIBLY important that we keep that in mind as we pursue our own vision of optimizing and actualizing. I repeat: There are no perfect humans.



You and I won’t be the first.

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