Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and our Sense of Fulfilment Part 2, is today’s post. Click here to read yesterday’s post, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and our Sense of Fulfilment Part 1.Yesterday  the earlier needs we discussed were deficiency needs. The basic needs of the pyramid need to be satisfied before you can rise to the self-fulfillment needs at the top of the pyramid. The order is not rigid you may well fulfill level 4 before you are satisfied in level 2.

The top of the pyramid was initially self-actualization. Maslow’s completed his research in the 30s and 40s. This research was before and during the Second World War. This was a very different world the world we live in today. The original pyramid had a huge impact on educational policies in the United States. What is generally forgotten is that in the 60s and 70s he developed cognitive aesthetic and transcendent needs. Although in many ways these extra levels added credibility to his work, history has overlooked them!

Level 5 Cognitive Needs

Cognitive needs are a desire to learn more, to expand and increase your knowledge. Curiosity and exploration of the first steps here you are curious about things. Once you have a curiosity, you have the potential to explore the need for up meaning in life.

Aesthetic levels.

These are a desire to enjoy beautiful things. These can be in nature or a sculpture.

Self-actualization needs

In the definition of Maslow, self-actualization is realizing your own personal potential. This, can be in any field. It can be achieved in the corporate world as easily as it can be achieved in the physical world by sportsmen. Anyone can complete the path of Self-actualisation.

Once one has achieved self-actualization according to Maslow, you have Understood the meaning in life which is essential to you.

What Really Motivates You

At the end of the day, all of Maslow’s research came down to what motivates people. For instance, when you purchase something you probably think you need it. I’m not talking about coffee in the supermarket I am talking about new shoes, or clothes or material things.

You may well think you bought the new shoes because you like the color. The chances are you make that purchase as a result of a subconscious reason. You may well be trying to outdo your neighbor across the road. There is no chance you will understand or remember the reason for that.

95% of what we think about comes from the subconscious mind. Sadly, these thoughts belong to other people, and they have planted in your mind subliminally. They have been put there by the things you heard and made assumptions about and long buried.

Buying a new pair of shoes may well remind you of a sensation you felt when you watched the film the Wizard of Oz. There is a very famous scene of a pair of red court shoes in the movie. New may not even remember seeing the film and certainly don’t remember the shoes. I will bet my last cent that you remember how you felt when you watch that film.

In 1962 Maslow wrote self-actualization could be measured by looking at a person’s “peak experiences.” Having this experience means a person sees the world as it is, they expand their divine consciousness and experience a sense of joy, bliss, wonderment, and euphoria.

What Motivates People to Achieve Self-Actualisation?

The fact is although we can all achieve this potential very few of us will do so. In 1970 Maslow estimated that 2% of people would reach the state of full potential.

Certainly, in today’s world where more and more people are waking up to their spirituality, the chances are that much more people will achieve this.

Also to some extent, the methodology of Maslow is questionable? This means he didn’t use quantifiable scientific measuring.

Maslow’s research group were 18 people, including himself. He considered that these 18 people had realized self-actualization. These people included Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and Beethoven. Also, he only added to women in this group of 18 which is one in nine. Today that would be regarded as sexist. The women he included were Mother Teresa and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The characteristics of self-actualization

1. They look at life as it really is. They do not have a need for certainty.
2. They accept themselves fully. Because they do not judge they can also accept other people for what they are.
3. They have ditched their own ego. They are problem centered rather than ego centered.
4. They are spontaneous in everything they do rather than being rigid.
5. They are extremely creative.
6. They have a highly developed sense of humor.
7. They observed life objectively
8. They don’t conform to cultural stereotypes
9. They are capable of establishing relationships which are deeply satisfying on every level.
10. They have a tendency to put the needs of others before themselves. They are aware of the collective consciousness
11. They have a highly developed need for privacy.
12. Politically they tend to be democratic
13. They have a defined their own personal core value and tend to have strong ethics.

In today’s world, the main stumbling block would be the fact that he did not have any control group and he included himself in the group. Which is somewhat of a subjective decision.

There could be arguments to be said that poverty defines people who are self actualised. Van Gogh didn’t sell a painting in his lifetime he died in abject poverty yet his paintings are incredible.

Certainly, I have spent over seven years in India and in practical terms this hierarchy doesn’t stand up.

They tended to listen to their own inner soul rather than listening to outside influences. They avoided gameplaying and reverted to honesty. They valued hard work and took their responsibilities seriously. They took responsibilities for their own actions as a life choice.

None of them were concerned with what other people thought they were secure enough in their own ideas not to be challenged by people who thought differently. They all adhered to their own personal core values. Which allowed them to define the people that they were and live by those principles.