Motivation: It’s not just what get you through the day, it’s what propels you through the levels of your life to make you the best you possible. Find your motivation today!
I guess by definition I'm a psycho, in that I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a major emphasis in Human Motivation. During my studies, I learned that in determining why people do what they do, there are a number of different schools of thought. Early on, it became obvious to me that psychological conclusions are largely theoretical, and even though they can often be subjective, they do give a framework to explain people's motives and behavior.
One of the more famous schools of thought was proposed by Abraham Maslow in his landmark thesis called “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Though I certainly don’t view his work as gospel, what I do appreciate is that he studied what he called exemplary people. He followed the healthiest 1% of the college student population and the lives of high achievers like Albert Einstein, and Eleanor Roosevelt. He felt if you could determine what motivated them to success, it could help others to maximize their individual potential.
Maslow felt that behavior is motivated by what he called the Hierarchy of Needs. He illustrated the theory in the form of a pyramid with five layers. The lowest tier represents our most primal needs to be fulfilled, then progressing up the pyramid to more lofty and complex desires.
Level one is the base of the pyramid, which is labeled Physiological Needs, and are the most basic needs that are essential to simply survive: food, water, air, and even sleep. Think about it, if you were in a famine or truly starving; every waking moment and all your energy would be spent hunting for water and a morsel of food; it’s instinctive. Until these needs are met, nothing else much matters, and you are stuck at level one.
Level two he called Security Needs. These are also important for survival, like shelter, health, and safety. Once you have a place to live, to call home, and feel fairly secure and safe, you can relax enough to care about needs that are beyond just surviving. I have also noticed when someone is truly sick or badly injured, they can’t think about much else and are stuck at level two. Good health is huge if you want to get on to growing, progressing, and developing as a person.
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Level three is titled Social Needs. They are less basic than survival, but still are core needs, and include family relationships, acceptance, belonging, and even that all-important romantic love. Companionship and bonding are key to human happiness. There is an innate desire to belong to a group be it family, team, church group, community, or even a street gang.
Level four is Esteem Needs. After filling your stomach, having a place to live, and a feeling of belonging, self-esteem becomes increasingly important. Esteem comes from personal accomplishment, service to others, social recognition, and self-respect. Everyone wants to be appreciated, to matter, to be validated and valued. The recent societal concerns over bullying are because it can dramatically affect both level three and four needs.
The fifth and highest level is termed the need for Self-Actualization. That’s a big fancy word for fulfilling your potential, not just fulfilling, but rising above being concerned about what others think. It involves the higher order of traits like creativity, spirituality, morality, and charity. An imperfect example of level five that we all know would probably be someone like Bill Gates. He never has to worry about levels 1 through 4, so he can spend his days using his creativity and charity. His energy can be directed at great ideals, principles, and helping people. It begs the question, if you had all the money and time in the world, what would you spend your time doing? Interesting to think about, eh?
Maslow emphasized that this higher level of self-actualization is the process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve individual potential. It's worth contemplating the questions, “What motivates me?”, and “Why do I do what I do, when I know what I know?” Sunwarrior as an idea, as a principle, as a company, and as products, clearly appeal to the higher levels of human needs. A fact that is illustrated in our mission statement which is to Illuminate body, mind, and planet.