Do you ever catch yourself saying things like, “If I was motivated enough,” “I need more motivation,” “I just don’t feel motivated”?
To understand and stimulate our motivations, I will be creating a 4 part series on motivation. We will be looking at a variety of motivation types and how we can apply the knowledge to our daily lives. Motivation is usually broadly defined as a strong will or desire, but things that motivate me may not motivate you, and at its core, motivation is a very personal topic and its foundation may be vastly different for each individual.
In the next few days, I will be posting the following:
This post is the 1st of a 4 part motivation series, and I will be introducing you to a popular theory of motivation to get you started in understanding our motivations.
The Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow is one of the most famous and widely publicized theories of motivation. Although this theory may not apply to everyone, it gives us a great foundation to understand why we’re motivated to do the things we do. Abraham Maslow proposed that our motivations are based on a hierarchical need consisting of 5 levels. When all the needs of one level are fulfilled, we are then motivated to seek out the needs of the next level. According to Maslow, only when the needs of the previous level(s) are satisfied are we able to move to the next level.
Below are the 5 levels of need in their respective order:
Physiological – At this level, we’re motivated to meet the basic human needs to exist and this includes things such as food, water, oxygen and sleep.
Safety – When the basic survival needs are met, we are then motivated to seek out safety and security. This includes personal safety, health, and reasonable financial security.
Belonging/Love – When safety and security needs are met, we are motivated to satisfy the needs to belong and to love and be loved. (Affection, acceptance and intimacy) If this need is not met, people tend to have difficulty in social interactions.
Self-Esteem – Self-esteem is the need for our self worth and competence, the need for achievement and respect from others.
Self-Actualization – The fifth and final step in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, self-actualization is the attainment of one’s full potential. Although most people are not able to reach this level, it is said that the easiest path to self-actualization is to serve and contribute to the well-being of mankind.
By taking a look at the model proposed by Maslow, we can understand where our needs and motivations lie at any given time. The 5 levels are not concrete and you may find yourself in one level today, and another tomorrow. For example: I could be living in a middle class neighborhood with all the love and affection I need, enjoying my family time and hobbies. This would put me in the self-esteem category (4), but I experience a catastrophic earthquake the next day and lose my house and loved ones. I don’t have food, water, nor shelter, which will put me in the physiological level (1). At this point, my primary motivation will be solely on meeting my basic needs.
The Hierarchy of Needs by Maslow is a great way to look at why you’re motivated to do the things you do. By taking some time to evaluate where you are and where you want to be, you’ll be able to focus and begin fulfilling your specific needs.
Photo by philon
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