Abraham Maslow, a famous past American psychologist, is probably most famous for his contributions to the theories of what motivates people to do the things they do. Maslow stated that people are generally motivated and led by a hierarchy of needs. These needs are, from most to least important, Physiological, Safety, Belonging, Self-esteem, and Self-actualization. Although Maslow argues that one needs to have a lower level of needs filled before moving to the next, I think I’ve master Self-Esteem, but struggle to find where I belong in the Self-Actualization and Belonging stages.
My Quest for Self-Actualization
The Self-actualization stage of my life is represented by my needs to “find a purpose.” This is probably seen best in my drive to mentor the young, join organizations whose mission is to educate and inspire others, and by my non-stop entrepreneurial endeavors, most of which I start and then stop. In 2012 alone, I’d interacted with or had volunteered to speak at The Top of the Week Rotary Club, Men Who Care Global, Bruns Academy, West Charlotte High School, the Financial Planning Association, Goodwill Industries, and at my own organization.
I tried to start at least 7 different passive income generating websites, all the while maintaining this blog. And, I tied to purchase two rental properties, although neither one came to fruition. I also thought about writing another book, but I stopped.
I feel like I have not yet determined where I want my talents to lay, which should be understood since I haven’t even reached age 33 yet. Nevertheless, I continually seek to fill this Self-actualization need. I’m waiting to see what my legacy will be, aside from raising my son into a respectable young man. Who else can I help? What can I do? Where am I most needed? Unfortunately, only time will tell.
Believe it or not, though, my biggest concern is not necessarily mastering the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s mastering my needs at a lower level — Belonging.
My Quest for Belongingness
My biggest struggle I have is in finding people who fulfills my social need. As Maslow stated, this need is a desire to interact with and belong to a clique of friends and family, and having a spouse or a lover. Intimacy from a spouse of lover is probably the biggest challenge since I’ve already determined that I want my cake and to eat it, too.
Mastering Belongingness is a particular struggle for me because I don’t easily let anyone into my life. Ironic, I know, being as how I write a public blog. But, I feel that seeking this comfort in others is where I must start if I want to have my social need fulfilled.
None of my closest friends live within driving distance. Therefore, maintaining these relationships are usually limited to phone calls or online banter via Facebook, and a trip once per year to their city. I wish I were able to spend much more of my time with them but something always seems to get in the way. Visiting each other are oftentimes restricted because of our clashing work schedules or lack of finances.
I really enjoy myself when I’m interacting with and learning from others, no matter who they are. This especially true when these people are my closet friends. But, how do I simulate such an environment?
First, I decided that I can’t always wait for my friends to save the money or find the time in their schedule to visit me, so I try to capitalize on the time-off flexibility that my job offers, and my own discipline at saving money. Afterall, I’m the one with the need that must be fulfilled, so why shouldn’t I take charge of my own fulfillment? In the past quarter year I’ve visited friends in Detroit, Houston, Washington D.C, and Salt Lake City, all on my own dime. Those trips were worth every penny.
Second, I’ve learned to talk to more strangers, while having a genuine concern for their stories. Though, it definitely helps to be a great conversationalist. I understand that everyone has a story to tell, and I want to know them. I thrive off of such interactions because it allow me to gain a different perspective in life. As long as I respect their opinion, I take solace in the fact that I’m actually interacting with them. This is why I didn’t mind going to Punta Cana by myself. Where there exists many people, there exist an opportunity to interact and feel a sense of belonging.
I readily invite others to converse with me, whether it be through this blog or in real life. In the end, maybe being a part of someone’s life will inspire or lead me to find what it is that will fulfill my other need of Self-actualization. Who knows?
Readers: Where do you think you exist in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Do you think that you are fully fulfilled? What can you do to fulfill any needs that you may have?
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DisclaimerThe opinions expressed on this blog are mine and represent my views only. I have very strong opinions, but am also an open-minded individual. If you refute my view with supported, educated and well-argued points, I could very well change my opinion.