At the very peak of Maslow’s hierarchy are the self-actualization needs. "What a man can be, he must be," Maslow explained, referring to the need people have to achieve their full potential as human beings.
According to Maslow’s definition of self-actualization:
"It may be loosely described as the full use and exploitation of talents, capabilities, potentialities, etc. Such people seem to be fulfilling themselves and to be doing the best that they are capable of doing... They are people who have developed or are developing to the full stature of which they capable."
As he was developing his theory, Maslow studied the biographies of famous historical individuals who he believed were good examples of self-actualized people. These figures included Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass.