Understanding Motivation

Around 1943 Mr. Abraham Maslow was the first to come up with a paper titled “A Theory of Human Motivation” Maslow stated that there are five levels of hierarchical needs. He also informed us that the specific levels are Physiological, Security, Social Esteem, and Self-Actualization. The word “Motivation” was taken from the Latin word “movere” which means to move. Through this article, I will share what Maslow concluded and why motivation sometimes becomes a low priority in some people’s lives.

The word motivation is used daily by parents, relatives, coaches, teachers, friends, colleagues, and others who genuinely want us to succeed and be the best we can be. There is more to it than just one concept or thing we do to be motivated. Understanding Maslow’s Pyramid means understanding our life in compartments. We don’t move on to the next level until the first or next compartment is full or satisfied before advancing on. Each level being whole is not a luxury but a necessity to move on to the next level.

The first level in Maslow’s Pyramid is Psychological Needs, where one has to have the essentials for life to live, also known as survival. For example, having oxygen so that we may breathe and water is essential to replenish what we have in our body and keep our organs healthy. After we have air, food, drink, clothes, and shelter is vital to keeping us safe and having a place to call home. Warmth or cold is required depending on the time of year and, of course, the ability to sleep. Another need that is often thrown under the rug and many don’t want to speak about is the body’s need for sex, and all of these make up the first rung called Psychological Needs. 

We learn from Maslow’s study that our body cannot correctly operate properly and efficiently until all these needs are first met. Once one’s psychological needs are met, it is time to meet those in the next compartment: Safety & Security. People need to feel safe & secure with order, accountability, and control by the individual and the entire family unit of which the person is a member. Under this level, the person also understands the roles and responsibilities of the police, school, business, and medical care. 

Now that one has a handle on the Safety & Security unit; the next compartment is Love and Belongness needs. This unit deals with social skills and feeling as if you belong, including but not limited to human emotions, relationships, and being part of groups. Most would think this is the last chamber, but it’s not, as there are two more. 

The fourth level of Maslow’s Pyramid is Esteem, which refers to one’s feelings of self-worth and achievement. Maslow broke this level into esteem for oneself and the desire for an excellent reputation. The first part deals with the level of esteem one has for themselves, such as dignity, mastery & independence. The second part deals with attaining respect from others and having a certain status or level of prestige. 

According to Maslow, the highest level of the pyramid is Self-Actualization needs. This talk encompasses a person’s realization of their potential and understanding of personal growth and enactment of pinnacle experiences.

Many people will only do something you want if they are motivated. For example, you want volunteers to help you, but something needs to be said to motivate the person. Remember to get someone to do something, they have to be excited about it and want to do it. How about when you want to do something but keep procrastinating? Even though you believe that it is something you want, you don’t do it. Why is this, and how do you remove the block that exists? It appears you want to do it; however, there is no passion or excitement. 

You first need to figure out why you want this; if you can’t figure it out, you will never even be able to lift a finger toward it. Please dig deep and discover what excites you about this task and how it will affect others. Take a moment, close your eyes and imagine how you will feel once you have accomplished your goals. This will empower you with the passion in your heart to believe, and then you will achieve.

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