Over sixty years ago, a psychologist named Abraham Maslow began working on a theory of motivation. His questions had to do with what makes people do different "things" at different times? His work, of course, led to the much studied, and widely known "hierarchy of needs". An idea behind this early work was that some needs are more compelling than others, and thus serve to influence behavior more strongly. Another idea was that once "lower level" needs were met, higher level needs would take over as influences of behavior.
Maslow's hierarchy was often depicted as a pyramid, with survival needs at the base and higher order needs at the top. The survival needs were physiological and safety related, in that we need to eat, sleep, breathe and be protected from harm. Above the survival needs were the need to be accepted and loved by others, and to be approved and recognized as competent. These needs seem associated with our group-living characteristics—indeed, we are social animals. Together, these needs (survival and social) were referred to by Maslow as deficiency needs, suggesting that actions taken to meet them were inspired by their deficiency. That's why Maslow called them "D-Needs".
At the top of the pyramid, were needs Maslow described as "being needs". Being needs include our quest for aesthetics and cognition, the realization that we have that beauty and art and music enrich our lives, and our need to understand the world as coherent—to organize the universe and understand it as having order and symmetry. At the very top, a motive that Maslow called "self-actualization", people are compelled to realize their potentials.
These ideas of Maslow have now been supported by many studies, and have been debated and refined over the years. Yet, they have fundamental value in steering us toward understanding the kinds of things we can do to meet our universal needs through the things we do.
In coming posts, some examples of need meeting activities will be discussed, and readers will be invited to provide their experiences and ideas about meeting essential needs.
DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.
Great Links About What, How, Why, Where and How Often People Do Things
- Calculate your Life Expectancy
- O*Net - A terrific resource to get information about work related occupations
- Wisdom—A must see project of shared experience
- Brian R Little- About Personal Projects
- Authentic Happiness - Take the Work-Life Questionnaire
- wdydwdyd? (Why do you do what you do?)
- Calculate your weekly Time Use
- Bureau of Labor Statistics -American Time Use Survey
- ► February (7)
Interesting Books about Doing and Not Doing
- Bateson, Mary Catherine—Composing a Life
- Bruner, Jerome—Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures On Mind and Culture
- Christiansen, Charles & Townsend, Elizabeth—Introduction to Occupation: The Art and Science of Living
- Csíkszentmihályi, Mihaly— Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
- Diener, Ed, & Biswas-Diener, Robert—Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth.
- Edgell, Stephen—The Sociology of Work: Continuity and Change in Paid and Unpaid Work
- Gini, Al—The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure and Vacations
- Kabat-Zinn, Jon—Whereever You Go, There You Are
- Little, Brian; Salmela-Aro, Katerina; and Phillips, Susan D. — Personal Projects Analysis: Goals, Actions and Human Flourishing
- Matuska, K & Christiansen, C. — Life Balance -Multidisciplinary Theories and Research
- McAdams, Dan P. —The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self
- Robinson, John & Godbey, Geoffrey — Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time
- Seligman, Martin—Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
- Tolle, Eckhart—The Power of Now