Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

All of us have been asked this at some point in our lives, perhaps by a parent, an auntie, a teacher. And as kids, we likely responded enthusiastically,

“Wonder Woman!”

“A prince!”

“A mermaid!”

A doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, a journalist, a business owner.

Even in childhood, we all had dreams of what we could become, but how many of us actually feel like we’re working towards those dreams now? Do we feel like we’re moving forward or moving in circles? Are we happy? Are we living up to our potential?

We all strive to make something of our life. We have an innate desire to grow, achieve and become who we are meant to be in this lifetime. This is what it is to “self-actualize” – reaching our full potential and accomplishing that something we’ve always wanted to accomplish.

This desire is nothing new. In fact, it is human nature and one that has spawned many a theory. One such theory has been proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow. In 1943, he suggested that human beings have certain needs that can be arranged in a hierarchical pyramid (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs):

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The bottom four levels comprise the “deficiency needs” which are more primitive needs. These include physiological needs like eating, drinking and sleeping; safety needs like health and financial security; the need for love and a sense of belonging (typically from family, friends, partners); and esteem needs like self-confidence and acceptance from others.

The top of the pyramid is comprised of “growth needs” – needs that enable people to reach their fullest potential and self-actualize. To self-actualise requires uncommon qualities like independence, proactiveness, creativity and originality. This self-actualization need is the most sought after by human beings, yet only a small minority of people are ever able to self-actualise because “reaching your full potential” is not as simple as it sounds! In order to be able to focus on self-actualization, all our deficiency needs must first be met. This is problematic because, in our world, we are so busy trying to meet our primitive needs for food, money, shelter, fulfilling employment and community that only the privileged few are ever able to reach the top of that pyramid.

This is the Maslow Initiative’s mission: to help people meet all their “deficiency needs” in order to enable them to pursue their “growth needs”, self-actualization.

Because wouldn’t it be nice to finally be who we’ve always wanted to be?

Written By – Noelle Dumo

What Maslow Initiative aims to ?

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He was seven when he decided to be a musician. He was moved by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Though uneducated in music, he was still a musical genius, composing melodies of his own. Music freed him from the chains that bound him, the wings on his back fluttered as his fingers raced along the piano keys. He was happy, and music made him ecstatic.

Even though he knew his freedom was temporary, he cherished each and every note he played.He came from a line of doctors. His parents were doctors, and so were his grandparents who expected their only grandchild to be the best of them all. His parents dreamt the same.

“You can play music as long as you like after you become a doctor,” his parents said. “Music has no future,” society laughed in unison. So, he let go of his childish dream and focused on the road his predecessors had walked.

Years down the lane, he became a great doctor. He was what his parents wanted him to be. Society cheered for him, children looked up to him and his peers congratulated him, but he had lost his freedom and his wings. He lost his own identity.He has his own family now. His children told him that they wanted to be musicians. Smiling, he told them, “You can play music as long as you like after you become a doctor.”

He is now ninety-two. He is on his deathbed. The society that once cheered him was no longer there, the children who looked up to him were gone, and his peers were either dead or decaying. He has lived ninety-two years of his life, but to call the life he lived ‘his’ would be a blatant lie. He was only an actor, playing the role designated by society, and reading the script written by his parents.

His grandchild began to play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. His son told the grandchild, “You can play music as long as you like after you become a doctor.” He only had regrets, as he counted his last breaths. He wished he had taken the road less traveled.

In an article by Harvard Business Review, a group of professionals talked about their career regrets. 80% of people, despite being dissatisfied with their jobs do not quit, when they still had passion. Some regret their job because they joined solely for money. Some say they wished they had enough confidence to start their own business.

Why? We believe success is subjective to society’s standards.
Society teaches us to glorify the philosophies of science, mathematics, and technology, and mock the philosophies of music and other softer subjects. Is there a difference between those philosophies, that makes us believe in one house is superior to the other? Abraham Maslow, in 1943, released his paper, A Theory of Human Motivation in which he talked about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.


Most people get up to Esteem Needs but never manage to reach the Self Actualization part. Being a doctor is not self-actualization for all. Maybe, they dreamt of being a writer, or a musician. We tend to let society dictate our lives and we follow the path that we believe is a guaranteed success, but even graduating an engineer from an elite institution doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a CEO at a Fortune 500 company.

The society of today makes followers, not leaders.

We at The Maslow Initiative aim to change that.

Ours is a social cause. We dare to deviate from society and preserve those passions which it slaughters. Our goal is to nurture these underlying talents, from artistry to web development, into full-fledged skills that people can use to carve their own path to happiness. We will host workshops for people to develop their skills in futuristic fields such as Internet of Things and soil regeneration, as well as programming and handicrafts.

These workshops will also be an opportunity for people with similar goals and ideas to meet and connect with each other, brainstorming together and finding solutions. A project of Maslow Initiative, UpNetwork is about cultivating people’s ideas and solutions into something on a global platform. UpNetwork aims to build a network of these visionary mentors and the entrepreneurs. These mentors can provide a way to the entrepreneurs and guide them. It will also connect small businesses to larger companies in order to build a collaboration between the two.

This also provides an opportunity and gives way to the innovators, for them to put forward their solutions to our problems. If you have the drive and are willing to learn, then The Maslow Initiative is perfect for you.

Our goal is to make you happy.

Why be a sheep when you can be a shepherd?

Written by – Yatharth Rai