04 August, 2010

Pursuit #9: Pyramid Scheme

No, I'm not trying to sell you Amway. I'm selling you Pampered Chef!

Kidding, kidding. I'm simply selling you some more psychology:)

The Pursuit:
So onto the pyramid schemes that relate to our lives. As you may recall, there's ye olde Food Guide Pyramid (which has undergone some recent renovation it looks like) telling us what of each food group we should eat. And there's also a lesser known pyramid (though it was created in the 1940's) telling us about our needs. According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, humans have a hierarchy of needs,  seen in his pyramid-shaped theory to explain human motivation.

According to Maslow, our basic needs start out as physical, then as people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. The first 4 basic needs are deemed deficiency needs  - Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, and Esteem - that arise out of deprivation. We work to satisfy those needs in order to alleviate any feelings of anxiety or stress we would feel from their deficiency in our lives.

The top need, Self-Actualization, is what he deems a growth need. This is not a need that arises from a lack of anything. Rather it is a need that arises from a desire to grow and develop as a person to achieve our own potential.

The Findings: 
I made a list of 3 significant activities that I have participated in during the last month that fit each category, either an overt activity or a covert behavior like a thought. Then using a rating scale, I rated my level of satisfaction in each of those categories based on how well those activities are meeting my needs. Nothing complex, simply did I feel slightly satisfied, generally satisfied, totally satisfied, or perhaps totally unsatisfied?

What I found was revealing about my priorities in life. Our ratings can fluctuate from day to day obviously, but it's interesting to account for where our focus is. Maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on my social well-being and not enough on my personal growth. Or maybe I'm satisfying my basic needs, but not to the extent that I would like to be (i.e. not sleeping enough, not eating healthily, not exercising enough etc). It's a good self-inventory practice that keeps us on the right path to becoming more self-actualized. Now go on with your bad self!

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