MASLOW AND MOTIVATION
Know your state to change your state
One of the best-known models of motivation is by Maslow, he developed what he called a hierarchy of needs. He stated that we have 5 levels of need and each level has to be satisfied before we can move to the next! I wondered if Maslow really fitted with today's world, after all, it was developed in the 1940s to 1950s and the world was a very different place then. WW2 started and ended, countries were in ruins and there was great hardship after the war, so could a model developed in such extreme circumstances really still apply?
Maslow said the first level is all about basic physiological needs, for example, if I am in a meeting and I need the toilet what happens? Well, clearly the only thing I can think of is getting to the loo! So that seems to ring true. Making sure we have eaten and have gone to the loo and feel ok before we embark on an important project makes sure we don’t get sidetracked by having to have basic needs met.
The next level is all about safety. While I thought about examples I overheard a chap telling his friend he didn’t have enough money to pay the rent and thought he might be evicted, it was all he could think of he said, and I could see he needed the roof over his head to keep him safe - it seemed to me Maslow’s second level still applied today! Being happy with our living conditions and feeling we have a safe place to go makes it easier to concentrate on other things.
The third level of love and belonging seemed to make sense anyway, but no more so when I helped at the lunch club for homeless people, I saw someone come and ask for their lunch to take out into the cold so they could share it with their dog. I asked how they managed with a dog and he said ‘it's hard’ most shelters won’t take the dog so I have to sleep rough on the streets but I’d rather that than leave my best friend - I love him. ’Clearly, he balanced sleeping in a doorway against the loss of his friend and was motivated enough by the love of his companion to sacrifice comfort. He said as long as he and the dog had a doorway to shelter in they were safe and had each other for comfort. Amazingly I could see how Maslow still fits this situation! We all need to be carried for of care - finding an outlet for our affection improves our wellbeing overall - there are many examples of how pets help our health and well being and how our friends improve our lives.
The fourth level of esteem or respect is all about people taking us seriously and respecting our view and contribution. Every time we are trusted to make choices or decisions we shine more, think about how great it feels. My 10-year-old nephew asked if he could make supper for me as I had damaged my knee. I was tempted to say NO its ok I will do it, but, I saw he wanted to do something to feel proud of. I agreed and said he could make anything he wanted. As I waited for him to make supper I bit my tongue and tried so hard not to interfere in his supper making. When he produced the fruits of his labours [cheese on toast] it was actually tasty and really well done and he beamed with pride at being trusted to deliver something all on his own. I was so glad I had respected his desire for independence and his need to show me he could do it. We all need to be trusted and given the space to be great sometimes.
The last level is self-actualisation - or true freedom to be creative and have authority to get on with the job when we have this we fulfill our potential and we feel like we are dancing with life itself. You know, the days where just everything goes right and we win, regardless of the trials and tribulations we might face - that is what we strive for and let’s hope that is what we get more of.
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