Level Up Your Life With Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsLifestyle . Opinion
Maslow’s hierarchy is well known for it’s basic ability to categories human needs but what it also shows is how these different factors can be used to level up your life. The idea being that at each hierarchical level certain needs are met elevating you to the next level and ultimately reaching the top level of self-actualisation/self-development. What I am ultimately suggesting is that you can use this as a tool to optimise your life by identifying where you sit, solving the problem and moving forward.
The hierarchy is so simple that it universally states the issue in generic terms and implies possible solutions. At the starting level is the physiological needs such as food and water and most humans have access to this but those who don’t may live in a stressful state. So if this is a challenge for you then this is the first problem to solve.
An example of this and it’s a problem that effects a lot of people these days is sleep and not getting enough quality sleep. We know that better quality sleeps ultimately leads to better decisions and so this can be solved by you as an individual researching sleep and the ways you can improve your own sleep. The short answer is to go to sleep at the same time, be consistent, eat well, ensure you drink enough water and limit screen time before bed.
The second level being safety needs including security, health and access to resources. For one if you don’t have a safe environment you aren’t going to feel comfortable and if you don’t have optimum health you are going to feel stressed. Once again how can you solve these problems to pass this level.
An example of this is being overweight, not living a healthy life by making poor food decisions. This is once again a problem with society with a large percentage of the population overweight. So the simple answer to this is to exercise more and eat healthy however there could be underlying psychological issues preventing this.
The next level is love and belonging. What relationships are you in are they fulfilling, do you have a close partner a sense of connection, what about sex. This is where the problems become more abstract and harder to solve and to be accepted by others grants a level of comfort and reduces stress.
I should also point out that you may have great relationships but in the previous level you might not have security and this means that you don’t explicitly fit into one category although you must acknowledge that you need to solve the problem to remain at the highest level. As you go through life you will fit into multiple levels as you face different challenges such as losing your job, health issues, etc. The point being that to be your best you need to continue to solve the problems at the lower level to attain self-actualisation.
The fourth level being esteem including respect, social status, recognition and freedom. This is obviously something developed over time and requires discipline. It’s likely you will gain and lose aspects but the idea here is you optimise yourself as an individual. This is a tough stage and is not entirely clear how to solve this. Perhaps some solutions could be developing your character to be consistent and noble. Intelligent and good decision making. Being fair and of good morals. Providing help to the community. Being a leader. Ability to be free from poor ideas and see the value in people. Recognition of achievements both formally and informally.
The final level is self-actualisation, the desire to be the most that one can be. This inherently means that you have abilities and traits and almost an upper limit on what you can achieve. You must be able to explore what you can and can’t do and know what you are good at. This means to try things and overtime accept what you are good at and what you aren’t. In this stage you have solved almost all of the lower level problems and you continue to develop yourself further.
You can see examples of people who have elevated themselves to self-actualisation in public life such as Elon Musk. Although if you take a deeper look at his life you will see that he has had a marriage breakdown which appears in the third level. So it’s entirely possibly to be in two levels at once but ultimately to have freedom of the mind and continual development solve the lower level problems but that is easier said than done but also that is part of the fun in life.
Can you identify where you sit in Maslow’s hierarchy? Are you getting what you need in the lower categories to optimise your life?