In his 1943 psychological research studies on what motivates people, Abraham Maslow discovered there is a logical order of needs that have to be satisfies before people can be motivated to the next level. He identified five levels, starting with the most essential needs:
- Physiological. The most basic needs that people experience are the essentials for their survival, such as air, food, drink, shelter, sex, and sleep. They need to satisfy these needs before they are motivated to be concerned about the next level.
- Safety. Once people’s physiological needs are met, then security becomes important, including personal and financial security, health, and well-being.
- Love and Belonging. Next in the hierarchy of needs that motivate us are relationships, such as work, group, family, and partner.
- Esteem. Both self-esteem and respect from others are among the needs identified in the next level.
- Self-Actualization. The highest level that motivates people is fulfilling their greatest potential.
Most often Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is expressed as a pyramid, with the most essential needs expressed in the lowest level. Maslow’s Pyramid illustrates his philosophy of the relationship between the different types of needs. For example, people who don’t feel loved or a sense of belonging (level 3) will not have self-esteem or feel respected by others (level 4). You cannot convince people to possess self-esteem unless they achieve love and belonging needs in the third level first. People need to fulfill each level, starting with physiological needs, before being motivated to move up the pyramid and achieve the next level.
The strategy for fulfilling a more productive life follows a similar pattern. People have to satisfy, to some extent, competency with one level before they can move on to the next. That led me to create a structure that mirrors Maslow’s pyramid, using what I have learned working with so many clients to help them improve and enhance their productivity. It’s called the Peak Productivity Pyramid™ system.