In anticipation of my upcoming book, and of the McGregor-Mayweather fight on August 26th, I have created a video breaking down and explaining Conor McGregor's Self-actualization.
Here is the video's full transcript (with citations):
Conor McGregor is the perfect example of the Self-Actualizing individual. He is a human being striving to reach his highest potential, and succeeding brilliantly. And that is why people love to watch him.
But it isn't just that he is successful, or captivating, or even the best at what he does; it is that he belongs to a completely separate class of human beings that Abraham Maslow called Self-Actualizing. Maslow was the psychologist who gave us the Hierarchy of Human Needs. And in 1950, he was the first to identify these Self-Actualizing People. He showed them to be a unique psychological type, and listed about a dozen of their distinctive characteristics.
In this video, I'm going to show you why Conor McGregor is Self-Actualizing, and how Maslow predicted Conor's psychology nearly 70 years ago.
First: The Self-Actualizing person, Maslow said, was the human being who had attained the highest level of psychological health. Which means, he is completely at peace with himself. He has no internal conflicts, existential anxiety, shame, or guilt. (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, page 155)
Conor McGregor: “I am in a state of Zen right now. My mind is calm, composed. I am prepared, and ready to put on the performance of my life.”
Second: The Self-Actualizing person, Maslow said, is “secure and self-confident.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, page 207)
Conor McGregor: “People can say this fight game is dangerous, and it’s brutal, but my mind is strong. I’m fit in body and mind. And that’s something that . . . not a lot of other careers can give.”
Third: The Self-Actualizing person’s “behavior is marked by simplicity and naturalness.” They are “authentic . . . honest in the sense of allowing [their] behavior and [their] speech to be the true and spontaneous expression of [their] inner feelings.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, page 157; Farther Reaches of Human Nature, by Abraham Maslow, page 176)
Conor McGregor: “It’s not trash talk, it’s not promotion: It’s fact. If you ask me about someone, if you ask me about a style, or anything like that, I’ll give an honest opinion, I’ll give an honest answer. Some people can’t handle it. But that’s not my business.”
Conor McGregor: “I haven’t worked hard to penetrate his psyche. I have simply carried myself, and I have been true to myself, at different stages of the process. I reacted the way I naturally reacted in that given time.”
Fourth: Self-Actualizing people, Maslow wrote, were “robust, hearty, lusty individuals” . . . “hearty in their appetites and enjoying themselves without regret or shame or apology.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, pages 156, 175)
Above all, Self-Actualizing people derive great joy from their lives. As Maslow said: “Self-actualizing people have the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, page 163)
Fifth: For all the great things that happen to them, Self-Actualizing people are, above all, humble. They are, as Maslow described it, profoundly “capable of ‘gratitude.’ The blessedness of their blessings remains conscious.” And “their sense of good fortune, of luck, of gratuitous grace," that all these things should have happened to them, leads to “[a] peculiar mixture of pride fused with humility.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, page xxi; Farther Reaches of Human Nature, by Abraham Maslow, page 293)
Conor McGregor: “I think it’s important that you put a conscious effort into appreciating your surroundings. You know what I mean? That’s what I do with this place, I absolutely love this.”
Conor McGregor: “All these little things that happened just shaped . . . shaped it, and I’m grateful for each and everything that has happened.”
Conor McGregor: “This is all fun and games to me. I love it. I love my job. I whoop people for truckloads of cash. How could I hate this life. I love it so much. I’m grateful every single day.”
And on the opposite extreme, they find it easy to maintain their calm and serenity, even in the face of great misfortunes, failures, and disappointments. (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, page 162)
Interviewer: ‘Can you describe the emotions after a loss like that?’
Conor McGregor: “You know, it stings. It stings real bad, but this is the fight business. I’ve been on the end of many defeats in my life, and I've rose back, so.”
Conor McGregor: “Right now, I’m just bathing in defeat. This is something that comes with the territory up here. I'll take in on the chin, and continue on.”
Conor McGregor: “I make no excuses. This is . . . it is what it is. I was . . . I came up short. I took a chance, it didn’t pay off. I’ll be back.”
Conor McGregor: “Make no mistake: I am cocky in prediction. I am confident in preparation. But I am always humble, in victory or defeat.”
And at the center of all these people’s lives — and this is the most important thing—is that they have “some mission in life, some task to fulfill . . . which enlists much of their energies.” . . . “One gets the feeling of a beloved job, and, furthermore, of something for which the person is a ‘natural,’ something that he is suited for, something that is right for him, even something that he was born for.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, pp 159; Farther Reaches of Human Nature, by Abraham Maslow, page 291)
Conor McGregor: “I was just a normal kid, growing up, and fights would happen. Every boy gets into fights, I was never bullied. You know, it was just, fights would happen as a kid, you're growing up out on the street, playing football or whatever. Fights would happen. But for me, it stuck in my head. Maybe if a fight happened, another boy would have just left, and he would have forgot completely about it. But for me I dwelled on it. In what way should I have moved there? He done this, maybe if I had done that, it would’ve turned out better. Those type of things occupied my mind. So, I just, it begun to build in my mind that this is . . . I wanted to be really good at this, I wanted to be able to defend myself in any situation, any movement, any scenario.”
Conor McGregor: “But then eventually it drifted from that, it drifted from them thoughts of defending myself to, you know what, I’m actually . . . I'm good at this, and it’s actually something that I really enjoy doing. And when I do it, and when I put myself in these uncomfortable situations, and come through it, I get this energy that I don’t get from anything else. So I kept doing it. And just . . . and then, it’s an addiction. Then it took over. Then everything else blacked out around it. And now there’s nothing else that matters to me.”
Because these people have reached such a high level of personal development, “motivation [becomes for them] just character growth, character expression, maturation . . . in a word, self-actualization.” . . . “What such people do emanates from growth and expresses it without striving.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, pages 159, 198)
Conor McGregor: “Yeah, certainly. I will enter [the octagon] and be free, and allow . . . allow the situation to unfold. And allow myself to act naturally. That’s what this is. I enter and it’s a freedom of expression.”
Conor McGregor: “That’s why I’m saying, I don’t feel pressure on fight night, I don’t feel pressure when I make that walk. Someone asked me what it’s like when I make that walk, what it’s like when you walk out into that arena. And I swear on my life, when I walk out to that arena, I honestly feel like I’m unshackling chains off of me. Do you know what I mean? I feel like I’m chained, and I’m carrying a cross, or something, and then when I get to that Octagon, I’m peeling it all off. And when I finally step foot in that Octagon, and place my bare feet on that special UFC canvas, I feel free."
It is because of this passionate dedication to his life's purpose, that “the self-actualizing person is," like Maslow said, "very different from other people in thought, behavior, [and] emotion. When it comes down to it, in certain basic ways he is like an alien in a strange land. Very few really understand him, however much they may be like him.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, pages 165-166)
Conor McGregor: “My confidence comes from my performance. My work in the gym. My work ethic. They don’t work harder than me, and they don’t want it like I want it. So, I'm . . . My confidence comes from looking around at the division. I don’t see anything in the division that troubles me, not one of them. They don’t move like I move, they don’t think like I think, and they don’t talk like I talk.”
Conor McGregor: “I am in a league of my own here. Ahead of everyone in the game, by a country mile. I am finding it hard to even engage with anyone in the game, because they are not on my level. Not one single individual in this company is on my level.”
But they are also the happiest, most at peace, most existentially fulfilled human beings.
Conor McGregor: “It has been a hell of a ride. Two years, just over two years I’m here. I’ve already broke every single record in the game. And it does not come easy. Trust me when I tell you, there’s a lot of work involved. It's not just about showing up at the gym. It’s not just about that. . . . I have been constantly working, constantly promoting, constantly handling my media obligations, as well as keeping on top of my weight, as well as keeping on top of my skill level, as well as managing niggling injuries. Just . . . It’s a crazy game, and you know, I absolutely love it. I love this job. I love this game. I love this ride I’m on, and I am happy to have taken the gold.
As Abraham Maslow concluded his 1950 paper: “What this has taught me I think all of us had better learn. There are no perfect human beings!” . . . "[Self-actualizing people] show many of the lesser human failings. They too are equipped with silly, wasteful, or thoughtless habits. They can be boring, stubborn, irritating. They are by no means free from a rather superficial vanity, pride, partiality to their own productions, family, friends, and children. Temper outbursts are not rare.” (Motivation and Personality, 2nd Edition, by Abraham Maslow, pages 175-176)
“I have the strong intuition,” Maslow wrote, “that such authentic, fully human persons are the actualization of what many human beings could be. And yet we are confronted with the sad fact that so few people achieve this goal. . . . We can be hopeful for mankind because in principle anybody could become a good and healthy [human being]. But we must also feel sad because so few actually do become good [humans]. If we wish to find out why some do and some don’t, then the research problem presents itself of studying the life history of self-actualizing [individuals] to find out how they got that way.” (Toward a Psychology of Being, Second Edition, by Abraham Maslow, page 163)
And that is what I have done in my upcoming book: Self-Actualizing People in History. Visit https://www.romangelperin.com to learn more.