Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist born on April 1, 1908. He described a structure of human needs grouped as Deficiency Needs and Growth Needs
Within the deficiency needs, each lower need must be met before moving to the next higher level. Once each of these needs has been satisfied.
If at some future time a deficiency is detected, the individual will act to remove the deficiency.
Maslows Hierarchy of Needs
According to Maslow, an individual is ready to act upon the growth needs if and only if the deficiency needs are met.
In order to build a successful and happy life, we must build a firm foundation for life. The layers are easily described as a hierarchy of needs. From top to bottom they are:
- Self Actualisation
- Self Esteem
- Love and Belonging
- Safety and Security
Physiological, Safety and Security, Love and Belonging and Self Esteem are Deficiency Needs while Self Actualisation is a Growth Need
It stands to reason that we must address these needs from bottom to top.
Physiological needs support life in the body. They are things like breathing, food, water and sleep.
Safety and Security needs are safety of the body, employment, resources, health and property etc
Love and Belonging needs are friendship, family and sexual intimacy etc
Self Esteem needs support self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others etc
Self Actualisation needs relate to self development and spiritual growth.
Self Transcendence needs address the basic drive to be closer to God – whatever you conceive him to be.
Each lower need must be met before moving to the next higher level. If at some future time a deficiency is detected, we must act to correct the deficiency before we can again progress on life’s path.
So what does it all mean?
I agree with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We cannot act upon a higher need until all the lower needs are met.
Put simply, Maslow’s theory is like the broken barrel. Common sense would have it that we cannot store any more water in the barrel than the level of the lowest stave.
If that stave represents health, then we must address health first.
On a mundane level, I find this to be quite practical.
There is no point fulfilling a higher need if the foundations are poor. When re-evaluating anything, I need to prioritise the lower levels to ensure that the higher needs – when addressed – will not need doing again and again because the foundation will not support them (pouring more water into the broken barrel).