Becoming and Fulfilling more through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Motives

My Morning Routine
In that Order.

Though I am not a YouTube content creator, I am proud to be a resident of the YouTube community. I appreciate content, comedy, reactions, news, analysis, how to videos and much more. Every day I look forward to my favourite YouTubers presenting me with new lessons and rants or their journey to self-discovery and charitable works and I reflect on that. I reflect on the fact that they don’t have it easy, especially in the digital space where everything is still fairly new but I see the joy and fulfillment that they have found and I believe that I need to work my way through my hierarchy of needs/motives.

“Motives are the “whys” of behaviour — the needs or wants that drive behaviour and explain what we do.” — Nevid, 2013
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and some needs take precedence over others. At the beginning is our most basic needs or physiological needs that must be satisfied and this is the first thing that motivates our behaviour (Meyers 2013). Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so forth.

The order of our needs is not universally set

By examining cultures in which large numbers of people live in poverty like India, it is apparent that people are still capable of higher order needs such as love and belongingness. But following Maslow’s theory, people are not capable of meeting higher tier needs if basic physiological needs are not sated since they are more pressing. Similarly, Maslow’s hierarchy does not explain many creative people, such as authors and artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh who achieved self-actualization while living in poverty (McLeod 2016).

Contemporary research has shown that all cultures of the world are fulfilling needs out of order and it is still rewarding (Diener 2011). This research indicates that though we teach and understand Maslow’s work as a pyramid and in a particular sequence, from lower needs (food, water, warmth etc) to higher needs (intimate relationships, self-expression etc.), the needs of an individual co-exists together. That is while we argue that needs follow an order, people worldwide pursue needs out of order or in no particular order.

The results of the Louis and Diener study (2011) demonstrate that universal human needs exist regardless of cultural differences. However, ordering of the needs within the hierarchy is inaccurate.

“Although the most basic needs might get the most attention when you don’t have them, you don’t need to fulfill them in order to get benefits [from the others].” — Diener, 2011

Furthermore life-satisfaction surveys support this idea that the hierarchical ordering of needs or drives are invalid. For instance in poor nations that lack access to money and basic amenities; financial satisfaction strongly predicts feelings of well-being while in wealthy nations where most people meet basic needs, home-life satisfaction is a better predictor of well-being (Meyers 2013).

Psychologists see human motivation as a pluralistic behaviour — needs operate on several levels simultaneously. A person may be motivated by higher growth needs at the same time as lower level deficiency needs (McLeod 2016).


But Maslow’s descriptions of human motivation are still applicable despite his assumptions being considered arbitrary by many in the psych community. Human motivation is based on people seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth. Self-actualization is the need for personal growth and discovery present throughout a person’s life. A Self-actualized “person is always ‘becoming’ and never remains static…in self-actualization a person comes to find a meaning to life that is important to them (McLeod 2016).”

“It refers to the person’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially.” — Maslow, 1943
Markers that I’ve checked off on behaviour leading to self-actualization:
McLeod, 2016
Though I don’t check off all boxes I can safely say that I wish to improve on these and move forward.

When I first started this blog, it was an outlet for me to write (something I missed terribly when I finished university). A medium for me to write my own content and in whatever context that I chose; it made me happy. Then I started to get a couple of recommendations on my pieces and I was over the moon (I still am) but in my professional life I was and still am stuck. I forgot to count my blessings for the things I have experienced and accomplished, but most importantly I forgot my dream.

I tweeted two weeks ago about having a problem and I found my answer…

I will continue most urgently and ardently to pursue my dream; the one thing that I have ALWAYS wanted to do and be — A Teacher. Despite my struggles which to this day are not nearly as hard as other people, I will persevere and persist and I will be triumphant.

Every day I want to wake up knowing absolutely that my purpose on this earth is being fulfilled. My greatest motivator is to make a difference in children’s lives. If by the time I retire I only got through to a handful of students that would be enough for me.

Today, I’m re-affirming that I will rigorously continue to pursue my dream to become a good teacher. I’m sticking with my plan A and I shall create several paths to it if I must.


Blohowiak, Don. 2013. “Is The Maslow Pyramid Of Need Universal?”. Quora.

Diener, Ed. 2011. “New Findings On Subjective Well-Being”. Presentation, Philadelphia, PA.

Maslow, Abraham. H. 1943. “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–96.

McLeod, Saul. 2016. “Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs”. Simply Psychology.

Meyers, David G. 2013. Psychology. 10th ed. New York: Worth Publishers

Nevid, Jeffrey S. 2013. Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Sprouts. 2017. Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs. Video.

Tay, Louis, and Ed Diener. 2011. “Needs And Subjective Well-Being Around The World.”. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology 101 (2): 354–365. doi:10.1037/a0023779.