May 28, 2011

What Do We Really Need?

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

Our actual needs are very simple. Food, clothing, and shelter are all we really need. But there must be more to life than mere survival for us to be happy.

In the 1940's, humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, published his "Hierarchy of Needs", illustrated as a pyramid. The foundation is made up of the first two levels which refer to our simple basic needs required for our bodily health and safety. These needs must be secured before progressing farther up the pyramid - and our inner voices are urging us to climb.

Maslow's theory explains what motivates us in life - we want to become everything that we can be, and share our gifts with the world. His work can also show that money does not figure heavily in realizing our full potential. After our basic needs are safely met, money becomes less important, and may actually be a distraction and impediment.

If we see money as a means to an end, we can see we actually need very little - just enough (and a little bit more) to cover our basic needs.

We need to know that we are going to have a safe and suitable home, enough good food to eat, comfortable clothes to wear, and the opportunity to learn and grow and create. That is all we need in terms of financial security.

We may need to do something to make money, but what we yearn for is to become better at being us, then using our skills to make a better world. We yearn to become greater than we are.

Maslow believed we all have capacities, talents, direction, missions, and callings. He thought that our yearnings are suppressed to the detriment of our well being. We have a need to realize our dreams.

"A musician must make music," Maslow wrote, "an artist must paint, and a poet must write, if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves."

Our needs are very basic. Once we have enough money to cover them, we can take time for ourselves. Time to realize our capacities, talents, direction, mission, and calling. Maslow believed that whatever we can be is what we must be.

Beyond a certain level of 'enoughness', more money is not going to help us do what we need to do.

We don't need more work and more money. We need more time, and the freedom to use it. We already possess the inner resources we need for our personal quest. What we must do is remove the obstacles that prevent us from fulfilling it.


  1. Anonymous5/28/2011

    How refreshing to know that others before us have come to the same ideals. Thanks so much for this post dude!

  2. Dude,

    Glad you enjoyed that. Maslow was one of my favourites that I discovered while studying for my B.A. in psychology.

    As a psychologist he studied healthy individuals to discover what made them most happy. I love how he used this to explain our human needs.

    According to his theory, we should be concentrating on finding out who we are and what our deepest dreams are, rather than spending our lives accumulating wealth and things.

    Then we need to make our dreams happen. I hope you are realizing yours.

  3. Anonymous10/07/2011


  4. Sometimes it seems , all too often, that people do not accept basic needs as sufficient and mistake everything as a want. Within this centered in self realm, one is forgetting who and if not, what , they were, how they got here, and where they are going.

    1. We have definitely forgotten. It could be our downfall if we don't remember soon.


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