Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Jennifer Hale was a special guest teacher in Steve Blum’s Live Teaching Series class recently. WOW! She is a powerful representation of goodness and light! Not only is she an award-winning actress, successful businesswoman, published singer and songwriter (the list goes on and on), but she’s also passionately interested in helping you become the best version of yourself! I could gush for a while about Jennifer Hale’s brilliance and intense caring, though I’ll instead focus on the fact that she applies and easily communicates psychological topics and concepts for every-day life.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
During class, Hale referenced Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, though perhaps not everyone knows of this concept. Therefore, I thought I’d share a bit more about it because it’s a motivational theory in psychology that was initially presented in 1943 and is still very prominent to this day and has multiple applications.
Abraham Maslow was imperative in developing and communicating humanistic psychology and theories about basic human needs and motivation. Arguably, his most prominent work was from a published paper “A theory of Human Motivation” where he introduced the Hierarchy of Needs.
How many levels?
It’s important to note that the initial theory was presented with only 5 levels in the chart, though Maslow later updated the Hierarchy to include a total of 8 motive levels. Also, Maslow never presented it as a pyramid, though it’s most commonly represented in a pyramid.
Basic Human Needs
In this theory, Maslow proposed that humans have fundamental needs in motivation. The lower, more basic needs are deficiency needs and until those needs are met, an individual will not be as motivated for higher-level needs. Basically, basic human needs must be fulfilled before one can appropriately focus their energy on higher growth (or Metamotivation).
The most basic needs are Physiological. These main physical requirements for human survival are self-explanatory and include air, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, shelter, health, and clothes.
The next level of important needs is Safety related. There is some overlap with shelter and health, but a person also needs personal security, emotional security, financial security, and well-being. If a person doesn’t feel safe and secure, they will instinctively seek safety.
Once the physical and safety needs are met, the next focus is on interpersonal needs and involves feelings of love and belongingness. These love needs include Family, Friendship, and Intimacy. Many people experience loneliness, social anxiety, and/or clinical depression in the absence of such love or belonging.
Beyond that, the fourth basic level of needs is Esteem needs (for self and from others). This includes the need for respect from others and could include a need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. Additionally, there is a need for self-respect, and can include a need for strength, competence, self-confidence, independence, and freedom.
Once those four basic levels of needs are satisfied, one can better focus on Self-Actualization needs. This level has since been updated with a further breakdown. Though generally defined, these are the highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and relating.
Higher Order Growth Needs
For reference, the additional needs added to the expanded motivational model includes (directly after Esteem needs) Cognitive needs – knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability. Then, Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc. Then after Self-Actualization is the Transcendence needs – when a person is motivated by values that transcend beyond the personal self.
This is not a simple upward chart. As life and circumstances fluctuate, so will your focus. Also, since humans can multi-task and focus on a variety of things, we usually work on developing multiple levels at the same time. It is not a linear path.
Now that you are aware (or have a refresher) of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where will you focus your energy? Will you reach for those higher order growth needs? Will you have better energy and understanding for the deficiency needs? Will you use this information to help others around you to realize the motivations and reach their greater potential?
After spending multiple years assisting Steve onsite at various conventions, Gwendolyn happily joined Blumvox Studios in March of 2020. Mostly focused in marketing and social outreach, she creates and edits content, measures analytics, and heavily engages with the community.
Gwendolyn has a B.A. in Business Administration with a dual focus in Marketing and Management from the University of Washington. She also sits on the board of directors for Village Theatre in greater Seattle and is a musical theatre “junkie” with many passions in the artistic and creative world.