Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory that describes how humans become motivated. It is represented in the form of a pyramid. The most influential and important needs are found at the bottom of the pyramid, while the necessity for self-actualization is found at the top. The main concept of this theory is that humans need to satisfy their most important need before they can desire their higher level needs.
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The Hierarchy of Needs
There are five levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Each level must be satisfied in order for a person to pursue the top levels of the pyramid. The levels of this hierarchy include the following:
· Physiological Needs. People’s basic needs are found at the bottom part of the pyramid. This level includes the fundamental things that humans need in order to survive. It includes food, water, air, sleep, sex, clothing, shelter and other things that people need for their daily survival.
· Safety Needs. Once the physiological needs are satisfied, people need to address their safety needs. This is the second level of the pyramid, where a person’s need for a secure life is found. It includes protection from natural elements, law, order, personal security, freedom from fear, financial stability, health, protection against accidents and others.
· Love and Belongingness Needs. Once an individual already feels secure, the third level is where the need for human interaction and belongingness is found. It includes friendship, family, intimacy, affection, love, work relationship and more. This is an important aspect of human life because no one wants to feel alienated or neglected. Everyone wants to find a place where he or she truly belongs.
· Esteem Needs. The fourth level of the hierarchy of needs pyramid is a person’s need for respect. It includes the need for achievements, independence, dominance, status, prestige, respect, self-worth, mastery and more. Everyone wants to feel important and respected. Therefore, it is important to satisfy this need in order to prevent a person from developing a low self-esteem as well as an inferiority complex.
· Self-Actualization Needs. Finally, self-actualization is found in the topmost part of the hierarchy because it is very difficult to achieve. It involves the feeling of self-fulfillment, personal growth, highest experiences, realization of full potential and more. This is a need that most people want to achieve in order to feel whole. If you know you can become what you want to be, then you have to do what it takes in order to fulfill it.
Maslow is able to capture the true nature of being human. Since most people are fueled by their want to fulfill their needs, this hierarchy best explains what it is like to be a motivated person.
Is the Hierarchy Accurate?
Some people say that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, lacks some essential levels. According to others, the pyramid needs to include cognitive, aesthetic and transcendence needs. Cognitive needs include the need for constant knowledge, wisdom and meaning. Aesthetic needs are the needs of a person to appreciate as well as search for beauty, form and balance. Lastly, transcendence needs include the need to help other people in order to feel important as well as reach a high level of self-actualization.