Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology, which argues that there are five stages of human needs that motivate our behavior. The five stages were later arranged in a pyramid. At the very bottom, and most important to meet, are basic needs that humans need for survival. At the very top are noble needs that promote our sense of purpose and accomplishment. The theory argues that in order to achieve the freedom to attend to the self, the needs at the base of the pyramid must be fully and securely met.
The full story
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology. It argues that there are five stages of human needs that motivate our behavior. Abraham Maslow proposed his theory in 1943 after studying what he called exemplary people such as Albert Einstein or Eleanor Roosevelt.
Stage 1: Physiological Needs
First, there are physiological needs, such as the need to breathe, eat, drink or sleep. The moment we get enough of that and we feel awake and our bellies are full, we get motivated by the next thing.
Stage 2: Safety
Now we want safety. We try to earn money, build up resources and look for shelter that protects us against dangers. Once we are satisfied and feel safe, we have time to think about what we want next.
Stage 3: Love & Belonging
In stage three, we seek love and belonging. We desire to be close to family and friends, belong to a society or join a gang. But the moment we feel completely part of a group we already wish to be a little different than the rest.
Stage 4: Esteem
At stage four we look for esteem, self-confidence and respect from our peers. We want to be someone. If we have money, we buy a fancy watch. If we have a brain, we write or think or work a lot. Motivation to perform and compete is now at its highest. Students, sportsmen and inventors excel. Neil Armstrong even flew to the moon.
Stage 5: Self-Actualisation
Only if we breathe, and drink and eat and sleep enough and we feel safe and part of a group and still special, only then we can reach level five: self-actualization. Now we can relax, be creative, accept facts for what they are, give back or do whatever we want. No more pressure, unless of course there is trouble below.
If you are a leader and believe in the theory, use it. First make sure everyone has eaten well. Then make them feel safe and help them belong to a group. Once they feel they belong, they are ready to stand out and excel.
“Thank you so much for creating this awesome, simple, clear cut video. I will be using this with my students!”– Kenya House
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Updated for the 21st century
- Updating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Verywellmind
- Updated Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs – PsychCentral
- Maslow’s 6th Level – from a coaching perspective
Discuss the theory with your students. Do they agree or disagree with the arrangement of the stages? Would they add or remove anything from the pyramid? Encourage them to design a hierarchy of needs pyramid for their partner in a pair and discuss how the pyramid differs from reality and what holds true. This could be a wonderful opportunity to develop or enforce the theory of mind and appreciate individual differences. Let us know how it goes!
In our dig deeper section, you can find resources and information on the recent update that was made to the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; a 6th level has been added! Discuss with your students what this update means and how it reflects on how human sciences are constantly evolving and how science in general is a dynamic field where discussion and new data can change well established theories 🙂