Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Maslow's Hierarchy

I used to be incredibly closed minded, but nowadays I'm starting to absorb the light from anyone and anywhere.

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

Image: http://changingminds.org/explanations/needs/maslow.htm


  1. This will be an awesome blog! Thanks for inviting me! So I actually am really glad I read this tonight. I don't have to be so hard on myself when I don't have the step number three. And now I know why life seems soooo hard when that's not happening too. It's not just me, I'm not just a baby, I'm just a normal human being with normal needs like everyone else! Phew.

    ALSO, thanks for reminding me the importance of taking all theories into consideration and deciding for yourself what you think is all best and correct by your own best judgement according to what you have learned and what you feel. Good for me right now!

  2. Glad to hear someone cares!

    It's good to feel normal. There is so much pressure in our society to perform that it's very easy to think that we are abnormal when our performance isn't as great as we would like it to be. I think everyone struggles with this and it's probably because we compare ourselves with the over-inflated standard set by society. Our standard should focus on personal development, potential, and progress rather than producing what society thinks we should produce.