Have you ever tried to discover what gives us the motivation to carry out the things we carry out? Well, the widely known theory called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” can help you get the answer to this question. I don’t believe that the theory is completely valid. However, for the sake of completing this post, I’m going to suppress my belief and follow a clarification from the theory itself.
Being a humanist, it was Maslow’s belief that every human has a desire to achieve a state of self-actualization, which is the innate need to reach their potential. However, humans need to fulfill fundamental needs like the need for food, self-esteem, love, and safety before they can reach this. There’re five tiers in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In this post, we’re going to give a detailed explanation of Maslow’s hierarchy.
From Deficiency Needs To Growth Needs
Maslow’s hierarchy is popularly described as a pyramid, where the lower levels comprise the fundamental needs, with the top half containing humanistic needs. At the pyramid’s base, the needs are physiological desires like water, food, warmth, and sleep. After these physiological desires are met, then we can enter the succeeding tier of needs, the desire for security and safety.
Humans’ needs become more psychological and social when they reach a higher level of the pyramid. The needs for friendship, intimacy, and love become vital elements of our lives. Then comes our desire to attain recognition in the world because the needs for feelings of success and self-esteem become priorities in our lives. Maslow advocated the innate desire to achieve one’s potential in life or the need for self-actualization.
Deficiency Needs In Contrast To Growth Needs
Maslow believed that our needs are similar to instincts. According to him, the physiological, social, esteem, and security needs represent deficiency needs that take place because of a need for survival. The pyramid’s bottom half comprises these needs. The pyramid’s highest tier represents the growth needs. These needs originate from a desire to grow, not due to a feeling of deprivation.
Let’s take a quick look at every level of the pyramid. We’ll start with the pyramid’s bottom and move up to its top.
First level: Physiological Needs
These are self-explanatory needs and originate from a need for survival of an individual’s self and the human species’ propagation.
Second Level: Safety And Security Needs
Here, individuals want to be in control of their own destiny and lives, and the need for security and safety becomes the priority.
Third Level: Social Needs
Social needs, such as love, belonging, and acceptance, take precedence at this level. Here, human behavior is controlled by the need for emotional attachments.
Fourth Level: Esteem Needs
Here, individuals want to have appreciation and respect. When the initial three levels have been fulfilled, esteem can become more important in driving behavior.
Fifth Level: Self-Actualization Needs
Here, individuals get consumed by entelechy. Entelechy refers to the biological drive that motivates people to work toward their potential. Entelechy is also a synonym for self-actualization. Therefore, we can say that entelechy is the destination and the motivating force. At this tier, individuals become more concerned with personal growth while being less concerned with others’ perceptions as it can obstruct them from achieving their potential.
While I don’t completely agree with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it helps us understand more things accurately than inaccurately. Therefore, if studying human behavior or expediting their personal growth is something that interests you, this theory is an excellent start.