Thursday, April 17, 2014

The 5 Levels of Human Needs

5 Levels of Human Needs
Abraham Maslow proposed in his paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" back in 1943 that human needs can be broadly categorized into 5 distinct levels. The most fundamental level of need being at the bottom, and higher levels progressively up to the top. He suggested that human will try to fulfill the most fundamental and basic needs at the bottom first, before he would feel a desire to achieve the higher levels of needs. Though human minds are complex and complicated by nature, and the likelihood of human trying to meet different levels of needs at the same time is possible. Maslow's theory of the 5 levels of human needs remained a very popular model even till today, and is widely used in sociology and psychology research, as well as management and sales training.

Human Needs Pyramid

(1) Physiological Needs

These are the physical elements required for human survival, which include air, water, food and shelter. These needs are met in all developed countries and most developing countries, except in some third-world countries distraught with civil war-fares, political unrest or unexpected natural disasters.
Sexual needs are sometimes classified in this category. Beer and perfume industries often use attractive models in their advertisements to cater to the sexual appeals of their potential customers.

(2) Safety Needs

This refers to a need of safety of their possessions and the ability to protect what they had already achieved after their basic or physiological needs are met. Humans require a need of safety of their lives, health and well-being, and also a protection against illness and unforeseen accidents, which is often applied in marketing strategies by insurance companies. In addition, human also seeks to attain financial and job security against potential loss of jobs and bank accounts protection.

(3) Love and Belonging 

This next level of need after security and safety refers to the need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their family, friends and social circles of working colleagues, religious groups and sport teams. People who do not participate in social activities actively often feel lonely and rejected. Teenagers from broken families often did things not in the most appropriate ways hoping to seek acceptance among his group of friends.

(4) Esteem

This refers to humans having a need to feel respected and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby which allows them to contribute, and strive to climb up to the top of the corporate ladder and social status to gain recognition among others and peers. Others seek to gain fame and glory to fulfill this innate need. People who failed to achieve their goals in this aspect sometimes lead to low self-esteem or inferiority complex.

(5) Self-Actualization

This refers to one's desire to realize his fullest potential, and to accomplish the maximum that he can possibly do, to be the best that he can be. This often leads to people trying to seek the true meaning and purposes of his life. Some find the answer in his faith and religion, while others believe in helping others and giving back to the society. There are also people who prefers to contribute their efforts to the environment, endangered species, plants and animals.

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