Climbing the Pyramid of Needs


If you were to ask me what are the most important pyramids of the world, I would answer: “the Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Chichén Itza, the pyramid of the Louvre Palace and the Pyramid of Maslow”. Then you would say that this last pyramid doesn’t belong in the list. Obviously Maslow is a person, not a place on Earth. But in my opinion, the pyramid of Maslow is one of the important pyramids; not important from an architectural point of view, but in the context of life goals and priorities in life. It’s a bit difficult to write about these and completely forget about the pyramid of Maslow.


Climbing the pyramid of needs

I learnt about the pyramid of needs when I was at school. I must have been like 15 or 16 years old. Then for a long time I forgot about it. And then, when I was thinking about life goals and priorities in life, I remembered the pyramid of needs, invented by Abraham Maslow in 1943. Yes, that long ago!

Maslow in a nutshell

In case you have never heard about the pyramid of needs*: Maslow states that as long as the needs of an individual at a certain level in the pyramid are not met, he/she will not feel the motivation to go to a higher level. The different levels of the pyramid of needs from the bottom to the top are:

  • Physiological needs: The focus here is on survival as an individual and as species: Air, food, water, sleep, shelter/housing, clothes and sex
  • Safety and security needs: Health, personal and financial security
  • Love and belonging: The need to love others and to be loved by others. The need individuals feel to belong to a family, to a social group, etc.
  • Self-Esteem: The need to gain respect from others: status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention; and the need for self-respect: strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom
  • Self-Actualisation: The need to accomplish all that one can, to realise his/her full potential.


Climbing the Pyramid of Needs

Can you see the link between the pyramid of needs on one hand and life goals and priorities in life on the other hand? What do you wish for in your life? Good health, financial security? To have a loving partner? To have a great career, giving you financial security, status or fame, mastery in your domain and a feeling of fulfilment? What other interests do you have that you would like to explore? You see the link?

What are the priorities in your life? Now it should be fairly easy to answer that question. What your priorities are depends on which level in the pyramid you are. So what are YOUR priorities?

Basically, the point is to keep your needs in the lower levels met, while working on your current level, climbing the pyramid step by step. If you can’t take it step by step, try taking baby step by baby step. If you ask yourself where to start, remember that your needs on the lower level(s) have priority over the ones on the levels above. Now I have given you a good excuse to go and look for sex, as it is on the bottom level in the pyramid. Just keep in mind, as with food and drinking which are on the same level, to not overdo it! You could forget to climb up to the next level 😉 Anyway, I will talk about the different levels in more detail in following posts.

In the meantime, climb that pyramid! The higher the level you have achieved in the pyramid, the happier as a person you will feel and the higher the level of well-being you will reach.

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