Why do our needs matter? They matter because they define our ‘well-being’, if we have any problems such as depression then it will effect our performance ability in life and business. Now, you may be thinking “Why has this got anything to do with me” or “I am fine” but I believe it is important you understand our needs and well-being.
During the 20th centaury there was an American psychologist called Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) who dedicated much of his life to studying the needs of people. Rather than focusing on the mentally ill, which most psychologists before him did, he focused his study on realising how people had a positive mental health. This resulted in “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” which shows each step to well-being.
Stage 1 – Physiological
The first step to well-being is having the basic literal needs of survival. These are self-explanatory and include: Breathing, Homeostasis, Water, Sleep, Sex (personally I believe this should be on the third stage, but I am not a psychologist.), Food and Excretion. I really hope that as many people as possible, including those in the third world countries, are much higher than this stage of the hierarchy.
Stage 2 – Safety
Being safe is the next stage, and is one that has many different meanings. Firstly, for well-being it is vital that you personally feel safe. Some people suffer with paranoia, this means that they are probably “stuck” in this stage as they feel that their lives may be in danger. Another meaning of safety is to be financially stable which, especially during this dreaded recession, is a big problem for many people. Lastly, it is very important to be healthy and safe from disease because those that have health problems often are not able to advance to the next stage of well-being. It seems to me that a good definition of safety is “having your life under control”.
Stage 3 – Love and Belonging
I believe that this is the stage that most people have problems passing. In business, and this is true for general life as well, without the support of family and friends then it will be extremely hard to be successful. Everyone needs support, without it you will feel like you are on your own which will severely disrupt your work and may even lead to depression. I have found that many people feel better if someone talks to them, even strangers on the internet. Sometimes the best advice is from those that do not know you, as they have no judgement about you. Many people feel lonely, so even just a little support can go a very long way. I have always found that helping other people also helps me at the same time, as it gives a sense of achievement for being supportive.
Stage 4 – Esteem
I had to do some research for this one, the reason for this is that I have only ever heard the word used as “Self-Esteem”. It is actually quite surprising that this word is more often used to describe one’s “Self Esteem” as it should be used for others as well. Examples of this include respecting yourself and those around you. You must be respectful if you wish to be respected. It also includes confidence in yourself and others, as with respect it is vital to be confident in other people’s abilities. Lastly, it is important to be aware of your own achievements and the achievements of others, just complimenting them for what they have done will make you feel better about yourself.
Stage 5 – Self Actualisation
If you honestly are this far, then well done! Now you need to think about yourself. The first part of this is one that modern culture seems to be excessive about, aesthetics. It is very important that you feel good about what you look like. I do not mean what other people think about how you look, but how you feel about yourself. I personally am not into fashion, I just wear what is comfortable and I always make sure that my appearance is justified, for example today I wore a jumper because it was snowing but I would not wear one in the summer even if that was what everyone else was doing! Next, you must be aware of facts about yourself and not be ignorant of them or deny that they exist. Also it is very important that you lack prejudice, which means you must not pre-judge people before you get to know them. Remember, one’s appearance does not define one’s person.
Just so that you know, many people have said that this hierarchy is wrong and it is impossible rank any of the needs in an order. I am not trained in psychology but for this purpose I believe it is safe enough to use this theory as a guide for well-being.
Now you are familiar with the 5 stages of the Hierarchy of Needs, do you understand why I am telling you? Probably not. As I have already explained, the Hierarchy of Needs is a fairly solid foundation for building your well-being. Many of you will not understand what well-being has to do with how well you work. Basically, if you feel good about yourself then it will spread to the people you work with and everything you do will be of higher quality. This includes blogging, life and business.
I submitted this post as a guest post to ProBlogger.net and JohnChow.com, they both said that it was not focussed enough on their niche. That is fine, however I believe that the Hierarchy of Needs is very important to keep in the back of your mind as no matter what you are doing, your well-being affects it.
Thank you for reading this article, please share your thoughts!
Further Reading: As of 05/05/09 you can now find more on this subject at A Psychologist’s Concept Of Learned Motives have fun!