Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has taken new meaning to me. There are many philosophies out there to explain why and how we should do things. It's best to approach each theory with scrutiny and realize that first and foremost it is, after all, just a theory. When examining an aspect of your life it's wise to view it from several different theories, not just one, and derive the best meaning and value you can from each of them.
There are 5 basic stages of development to Maslow's theory: Physical Needs, Safety Needs, Love and Belonging Needs, Esteem Needs, and Self Actualization Needs. According to the theory, you cannot move up the ladder of needs until that need has been met.
For most of us, the first two needs are pretty well taken care of. There is, of course, some controversy over how much satisfaction do each of these needs require, but I think it's safe to say that most of us are not truly starving nor do we live in constant fear for our life.
I believe I have ascended the next three stages of development at different times in my life and I'm certain that whoever is reading this bore has too.
What I would like to point out is that upon personal reflection I realize that you can fall down the ladder at any time when one of the preceding needs is challenged. For example, during my single life I climbed to the top of the needs ladder and reveled in the self actualization stage. However, I became absorbed in my quest for a wife and the need for love and belonging was greatly challenged. I could no longer focus on self mastery and achieving my potential because that need to love and belong was not met (according to the theory).
Here's some words to ponder about the meaning of each stage and where you are and what you can do to move up the ladder. Perhaps the higher stages of development are only personal perspective? Change your perspective and you move up the ladder?
Physical Needs - Food, Water, Shelter, Clothing etc.
Safety Needs - Protection, Security, Order, Law
Love and Belonging - Family, Affection, Relationships, Friendship, Feeling Appreciated
Esteem - Achievement, Status, Mastery, Respect, Self Esteem, Responsibility
Self Actualization - Personal Growth, Self Fulfillment, Realizing inner potential, Problem Solving, Acceptance of facts, Morality, Creativity, Lack of Prejudice