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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need 

Although somewhat dated, Maslow is still pertinent. His hierarchy of needs applies to us and to our organizations even today. The basic premise is that you must satisfy each level before you can move to the next level. At the pinnacle of his pyramid is "Self-Actualization". However, most people never get above the third level.

There are a number of reasons for this. Peer-pressure is often one of them. You must conform to the socio-economic group to which you belong. Some organizations provide you with a substitute for the fourth level that makes you think you have achieved it. Unions, as an example, make certain that you are on a number of committees and are chair of at least one of them.

Some religions have elaborate membership structures that provide similar reinforcement to the idea that you are functioning on the fourth level without you really having achieved it outside your religion.

In all cases the group that is standing in your way is terrified of loosing control over you and will tell you all of the reasons why you should not even try to "step outside" the boundaries they provide. It takes an extraordinary person to rise above this and move on to the fourth level.

Occasionally someone makes a movie that espouses philosophy instead of preaching dogma. I recommend "Educating Rita" as a really good example of the peer pressure that can be applied to someone attempting to develop themselves and how they overcome it. It is satisfying without the usual romantic Hollywood ending.

This page was last modified:      Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 8:18:12 PM