Maslow revisited: might be simpler than you think to make a difference

You've probably heard of "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" and seen the colorful, multi-level pyramid that illustrates the theory right?


Since it was first described in Abraham Maslow's 1943 paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation," his original concept has caught on as a popular motivation theory.


maslow wipebook whiteboard notebook


But you know what....


I think it's more than just a motivation theory. I actually think it establishes a framework through which we can first envision our potential as human beings, and then make that opportunity happen for others. 


Sounds a little out there? Maybe? Or maybe not?


Here's the theory: Abraham Maslow suggested that before individuals can meet their full potential of "self-actualization", there are a series of needs that have to be satisfied as follows:




Level One: Physical Needs. The lowest level of the pyramid represents the need for food, water, shelter, safety, oxygen to breathe -- any basic physiological need.


Level Two: Safety. This next level includes feeling safe in your environment. It involves the security that comes from knowing that you have a job, or that you have resources coming in to take care of you and your family. It has to do with the security that comes from living in a healthy environment basically.


So if you're living in a war zone, your needs for security are not being met.


Your home, your life, and the lives of your family are constantly being threatened.


Level Three: Love. Do you feel loved? It's that simple. 


Level Four: Esteem. Do you feel good about yourself? Do you have confidence that comes from achievement, which in turn provides a sense of mutual respect as you interact with the people around you?  


Level Five: Self-Actualization. This is the zone where you are at your best -- whatever that might be.


At the level of self-actualization, you can live by a code of morality of your choosing; be spontaneous; view the world without prejudices; accept facts as they present themselves; and solve problems based on those facts.


Basically, at this level, you can achieve whatever you want.


Sounds simple, right?




However, I bet that if you took a look around in your community, more specifically, you'd see that there are a lot of kids and adults out there that don’t have food, a home, or a safe place to just "be".


Wipebook Maslow how can we make a difference


Basically, they don't have the needs met that are described in levels one through three of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs provided above.


And if these three basic levels of need aren't being met, the question is: How can you achieve the esteem described in level four?


Then, if you don’t have esteem, how can you arrive at the zone where you can do your best at whatever you choose to do, and be in a position to give back?


No system's perfect. And there's no quick fix.


But I bet that if we wanted to, we could all make a difference.




For starters, let’s make sure that people in our community have everything described above in Maslow's hierarchy.


So how can we make that happen?


Try this: Grab a Wipebook. Start by drawing your own hierarchy of needs. Then, map out a pyramid for a member of your family. Or someone in your area or your community. 


See what's missing, and figure out how you can work, individually or as a group, to fill in the gaps for this person.




So: sketch it out, build it up, or start it over. Do it again until you've got it down.


Wipebook. Get involved and get messy. And start local.