So the question is: How might we accomplish this?
I believe it’s by adding stress to the body and mind.
Think about it – we don’t really know what our genetic potential is. How would we? We must first be thrown into situations where we have to adapt to find out – and of course this adaptation implies growth.
On a physical level, lifting weights provides a great concrete example. Stress the body by lifting a heavier and heavier load and it adapts by literally growing physically – it changes our morphology. There is only one way to find out what your genetic potential for muscular growth is and that is by stressing it with progressively increasing load resistance and watching what happens.
The same is true for our mind – but this idea can also be extrapolated to an infinite number of adaptations: the ability to integrate socially, to lead, to fight, to protect, to nurture, to educate, to create, to innovate, etc.
We don’t know to what extent we might excel at any of these things until we are stressed by being forced to adapt to the needs of any given situation. This kind of self actualization is born out of living an active life, but it requires you to actively seek out opportunities for growth.
This is why the easy way out will never show us what we are capable of.