Episode #4: All About Needs
Welcome to episode 4 of LIT. My name is Ravi Toor, I’m your host. If you’re brand new to LIT, welcome aboard. Expect this to be one of the best rides you take. If you’re a returning listener, I have to give you a shout out for sticking with the program. Clearly, you know your priorities. Today’s episode is educational and is all about needs! So, let’s get to it.
Ok, so far, I’ve told you why I started LIT, what LIT means, and I’ve discussed the different Changemaker archetypes out there. Then last week, I got vulnerable so you could really understand how mindset impacts your choices and your life. Now, I want to focus on needs specifically using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Abraham Maslow was one of the most influential American Psychotherapist of the 20th century. In 1943, Maslow published his legacy, The Theory of Human Motivation. This theory was based on the common questions we all ask ourselves still to this day: Why am I here? What is my purpose? What truly satisfies me? How do I reach true happiness?
Psychoanalysts and Behaviorists all have different ways to answer these questions but Maslow took it to a whole ‘notha level. He created an extremely structured plan or pyramid to explain the path of human motivation, spelling out the exact steps humans need to follow as they move towards Self-Actualization that is, fulfilling their personal potential. That plan was called The Hierarchy of Needs.
In much of my work whether it’s my blog, my podcast or working with clients within The Verge or 1:1, I often rely on The Hierarchy of Needs because this will tell me where a person’s at and what the person needs to Self-Actualize. Additionally, I talk about Self-Actualization all the fucking time because I truly believe it’s a real thing. We see it time and time again presented in different ways, but those who are living a life of design, working and living their true passions, are highly successful and super happy at the same time usually are ones who have Self-Actualized. So, let me break down the theory for you so you can do a bit of an assessment of your own.
In the Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow splits the needs into 2 sections. The first 4 stages are characterized as Deficiency Needs and the last 4 stages are characterized as Growth Needs. Let’s talk about the Deficiency Needs first. These needs are at the base of the pyramid.
The 1st stage is Psychological Needs. In this stage, you’re mainly focused on ensuring you have air, food, water, sleep, warmth and exercise. Basically, these are primal needs for humans to survive and function at their highest level. Think about it, if you’re struggling to access food or water, you throw your body off chemically and all of sudden your main focus is on attaining food and water. By common logic that means if your main focus is food, water or any of the other basic need, your other needs will remain inactive because your focus is simply on your primary or basic needs. Throw in time and repetition, you’re in a psychological shit storm. If you’re always needing food or water, you’re going to have a tendency to feel anxiety, fear, worry, anger, frustration, envy, guilt, depression or loneliness. However, if your needs in this stage are met, you move on to stage 2.
The 2nd stage is Saftey Needs. In this stage, you’re focused on security, stability, health, shelter, money and employment. Here, you’re mainly focused on predictability, order, justice, and consistency. If you don’t find these needs satisfied, you’re typically going to start feeling doubt and shame. Why doubt or shame? You’re not autonomous which means, simply put, you’re not in control. When you bring on the wrath of doubt or shame, you’ll start to notice yourself questioning everything you do, not asking for help, and trying to bury your head to disappear. You also open yourself to self-blame, anger and addiction issues. But, if these needs are met, you’re moving on to stage 3.
The 3rd stage is the Love and Belonging Needs. Here, your focus is acceptance, friendship, intimacy, and relationships. After the first 2 stages are satisfied, the 3rd layer of human needs is social. In this stage, you’re focused on emotionally based relationships like friends, sexual intimacy, and having a supportive and communicative family. If this stage is not satisfied, you’ll likely experience negative social emotions and have lower extraversion values. That means you avoid social gatherings and you typically doubt social relationship or your ability to maintain healthy emotionally based relationships. This kicks up a huge psychological storm in how you feel about yourself, others and how you view yourself in terms of being a loveable and deserving person. Now, if you’re doing wonderfully in this stage, you’re moving on to stage 4.
The 4th stage is Self-Esteem Needs. For this stage, you’ll focus on achievements, recognition, respect and competence. This one I don’t really have to explain because let’s face it, both you and I know we all have a need to be respected, to have self-esteem, self-respect and to respect others. But this stage goes even further than that. Here, respect is earned through recognition derived from contribution whether that’s via profession or hobby. This gives us the sense of being accepted and valued. Here, we also develop self-value because we have grown our self-esteem, are recognized and are contributing. If this stage isn’t satisfied, you’re most likely feeling inferior manifesting itself as putting others interests before yours, becoming distant, unfriendly and uncooperative.
Can you start to see the correlation between unmet needs and psychological impacts?
Ok, if you’ve met the needs in Stage 4, you’ve passed the Deficiency Needs. You’re no longer focused on the basic needs and you’re poised to grow exponentially through the next 4 stages. Now, let’s talk about Growth Needs. Assuming you’ve conquered the first 4 stages, you’ll be moving into stages 5 through 8.
The 5th stage is Cognitive Needs. In this stage, you’re all about knowing and understanding. Here, it’s pretty self-explanatory. We’re intelligent beings always seeking knowledge, quenching our thirst for information. So, in this stage, you’re focused on increasing your intelligence by learning, exploring, discovering and creating a better understanding of the world around you. When this need is unmet, you’ll likely experience confusion and identity crisis. Confusion manifests itself as a feeling of emptiness, exhaustion, emotional numbness, dissociation and derealization or a detachment from the outside world. Identity crisis manifests similarly but more specifically, you’re experiencing worthlessness, depression, loss of interest, irritability, fatigue, issues with concentration and creativity, low energy levels and a lack of motivation. Additionally, you begin to question everything about your reality and self. Of course, if you’ve met these needs, you’re headed to stage 6.
In the 6th stage, you’re addressing the Aesthetic Needs. That is, you’re focused on order, beauty and symmetry. Here, Maslow believed humans needed beauty or something new and aesthetically pleasing to keep them moving towards Self-Actualization. You need to be able to refresh yourself in the presence of beauty usually found in form of environment. Do you ever notice yourself being reenergized when you are out in nature, maybe on a trail or by the water? You simply soak in all the world has to offer. This lifts your spirits, keeps you connected, grounded and humbled. When you’re not seeing the beauty around you, you have a very skewed view of the world. All of a sudden things seem dark and gloomy, there’s a disconnect with feelings of joy or feeling reenergized because there’s no beauty around you. So, take that time to get into the wild outdoors so you can appreciate the beauty but also meet stage 6. Now, if this stage is met, you move on to stage 7.
In the 7th stage, you’re focused on Self-Actualization. THIS is my favourite one! Ok, here, you’re right in the thick of what we’re all instinctually striving for. You’re taking advantage of your personal greatness, accessing your ultimate potential, using most of your abilities to strive to be the best you can possibly be in any area of interest. When you’re Self-Actualizing, you’re usually focused on the future and doing for the greater good of humanity. This is the part I have been talking about in the last 3 episodes. Self-Actualization means you’re not self-focused, instead, you’re using your greatest potential to solve problems, create change or develop structures that would serve the world in a better way while letting your being access your greatness. It’s the thing to strive for! When you’re not meeting these needs, you often feel an emptiness. A longing to fulfil your purpose and you’re left asking what’s the point, where’s the meaning, or what’s my life path?
Alright, so at this point, if you’ve met all the stages, that is from stage 1 through to stage 7, you’re in line to find yourself at stage 8, the final stage.
Stage 8 focuses on Self-Transcendence. By default, in this stage, you’ll find yourself accepted as an influencer. Someone who focuses their energies on society and the betterment of society. You’ve already Self-Actualized, done the big thing to create massive change while using your massive potential, therefore, the only thing left here and I use only real fucking lightly, is to reap the benefits of being an influencer, thinking about others and focusing on the greater good of humanity but also, developing your spirituality. Although Self-Transcendence can start to take place at any stage, you’re going to find yourself hitting the big marks when you’ve met all the other needs. This is because you’re able to open yourself up to another level of being through spirituality. You’re confirmed in your identity, you’re steadfast in your success and you’re stable as fuck. Therefore, when you’re here, your only focus is the greater good of humanity which yields crazy spiritual downloads but also, you’re tapping into your higher self and being meaning you’re growing spiritually.
And there you have it, the Theory of Human Motivation explained using The Hierarchy of Human Needs.
My goal is to help you Self-Actualize, be the best you can be while accessing your greatest potential but before we can do that, you need to be objectively aware of which needs are not being met. So, use the infographic and this episode to self analyze to see where you are and what needs need to be met for you to Self-Actualize, living out your greatest potential while accessing your inherent greatness.