In order to reach self-actualization Abraham Maslow said, "What a man can be, he must be." Self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, with more fundamental human requirements forming the base layers. Maslow himself didn't use the pyramid shape, although it's predominantly how his hierarchy of needs is portrayed.
My feelings about this is that we can quickly become disheartened and de-motivated when we look at the pyramid and interpret it as meaning, "If I don't have all the base categories fulfilled I will never achieve self-actualization." I don't believe that. If we become fixated on that belief we might find ourselves throwing in the towel and "making-do" with an unsatisfactory, unfulfilled existence. Of course we need our physiological needs met, and without a roof over our heads it can be difficult to have time to do much more than survive on a daily basis. However, if you have some of Maslow's basic needs fulfilled there really is no place for the belief that self-actualization is an unattainable dream, something others achieve, not you! You don't have to look far to discover "against the odds" stories of great feats and personal achievements, by people who were thought to be destined for an un-extraordinary life.
My sketch below re-vamps the usual pyramid of Maslow's hierarchy of needs....one thing I do know, I'll never be an artist, and that's okay!
"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be." - George Sheehan 1918-1993