like to make practices stimulating, fun, and, most of all, efficient. Coach Al McGuire once told me that his secret was not wasting anybody’s time. “If you can’t it get done in eight hours a day,” he said, “it’s not worth doing.” That’s been my philosophy ever since. Much of my thinking on this subject was influenced by the work of Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of humanistic psychology who is best known for his theory of the hierarchy of needs. Maslow believed that the highest human need is to achieve “self-actualization,” which he defined as “the full use and exploitation of one’s talents, capacities and potentialities.” The basic characteristics of self-actualizers, he discovered in his research, are spontaneity and naturalness, a greater acceptance of themselves and others, high levels of creativity, and a strong focus on problem solving rather than ego gratification. To achieve self-actualization, he concluded, you first need to satisfy a series of more basic needs, each building upon the other to form what is commonly referred to as Maslow’s pyramid. The bottom layer is made up of physiological urges (hunger, sleep, sex); followed by safety concerns (stability, order); love (belonging); self-esteem (self-respect, recognition); and finally self-actualization. Maslow concluded that most people fail to reach self-actualization because they get stuck somewhere lower on the pyramid. In his book The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, Maslow describes the key steps to attaining self-actualization: experiencing life “vividly, selflessly, with full concentration and total absorption”; making choices from moment to moment that foster growth rather than fear; becoming more attuned to your inner nature and acting in concert with who you are; being honest with yourself and taking responsibility for what you say and do instead of playing games or posing; identifying your ego defenses and finding the courage to give them up; developing the ability to determine your own destiny and daring to be different and non-conformist; creating an ongoing process for reaching your potential and doing the work needed to realize your vision. fostering the conditions for having peak experiences, or what Maslow calls “moments of ecstasy” in which we think, act, and feel more clearly and are more loving and accepting of others.