Success is having what you need, when you need it, and not wanting more. Sounds easy, yes? The first part is an issue of finances. The second part is an issue of finances and location. The third part, not wanting more, is a learned trait. We learn to want; we can also learn satisfaction. Being successful is a state of presence; however, feeling successful, living life well, is more complicated.
We can gain a feeling of success by setting goals and achieving or exceeding said goals. That feeling is short term and will drift away once the goal is compete and celebrated. To achieve long-term success, it is my believe, one needs to satisfy more basic needs in order to advance to personalized needs. Once all needs are satisfied, we become more self-aware and more satisfied. Although still being argued, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs define the process of motivation to advance. Since its inception in 1943, the hierarchy of needs has been modified with additional stages and used as a tool for business unit management and psychotherapy. In its simplest form, the hierarchy of needs list what is needed to achieve personal success for the long term.
The first stage of the pyramid relates the most basic of needs as those related to survival. The absence of these basic needs, breathing, eating, sleeping, protection from the elements prevents us from advancing up the pyramid. It is evident that these needs must be met before moving to the next state. Severely impoverished souls have little to no focus on personal safety. Eating from a dumpster is not generally viewed as healthy; however, when starvation is a reality, food quality is not considered. Homeless sleep where they can find protection from the elements although sleeping in a public park or street could be a safety hazard. We cannot expect homeless or severely impoverished souls to “pick themselves up” and advance because in the absence of food, water, and shelter, the primary need is survival. Personal safety is secondary. Note: there are arguments here that state some souls are quite happy living in a “shack” and eating grains or a few vegetables. Depending on our social status, we have different views as to what basic defies. The term basic needs here speaks of the most basic of needs rather than the quality of those needs.
Once the basic needs are met, we advance toward the need to be safe and to protect the source of our basic needs and avoid injury. Protecting ourselves and our resources is an advancement on the basic needs. This stage is where we are more likely to see a way out of poverty, where we will consider entering the job force. Financial security is included in this state on a basic level. We do not consider success at this level, this is where we are more concerned about paychecks then doing a good job or advancing in a career. Most people at this level do not consider themselves successful.
Success seems to come after the stages of social and self needs have been addressed if not satisfied. Once we connect with others and we learn to love ourselves, we advance toward looking outward into world and how we fit into it. Self-actualization is where we truly becomes individuals. We experiment with creative expressions and development of personal skills. We advance on our careers and our reputation as an individual. At this point in personal development, we care less what others are thinking and take more interest in how we, as individuals, think. This is the point of satisfaction that reaches out to others to help and advice. It is my belief that we reach to the “living life well,” when we are secure enough in our own identity that we are able to reach out to help those that are still struggling. It is fully possible to donate time or resources to a charity before reaching the self-actualization stage; however the personal rewards from doing so are not the same as when one reaches out from the heart/spirit.
More about the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: