Growth Need: Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Growth need arises from a desire to grow as a person, and not from a lack of something. Once these growth demands are satisfactorily met, one may achieve the greatest level known as self-actualization.

Every person is capable and desires to move up the hierarchy toward self-actualization. Unfortunately, failure to address lower level needs frequently hinders progress.

Life events, such as death of a loved, job loss and single parenting, can cause an individual to shift between levels of the hierarchy.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological, and motivational theory consisting of a five-tier model of human wants.

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Growth Need: 8 Basic Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

According to Maslow (1943, 1954), humans are motivated to meet particular wants, and some needs precede over others.

Our most basic need is for bodily survival, and it is this that will drive our conduct. When that level is reached, the next level above motivates us, and so on.

1. Physiological needs

Physiological needs are biological necessities for human survival, such as air, food, drink, shelter, clothes, warmth, sex, and sleep.

The human body cannot function optimally unless these demands are met. Maslow believed physiological requirements to be the most essential since unless these needs are addressed, all other needs become secondary.

2. Security and safety demands

After an individual’s physiological needs are met, the need for security and safety becomes apparent. People desire order, predictability, and control in their life. These requirements can be met by the family and society (e.g., police, schools, business, and medical care).

Emotional security, financial security (e.g., job, social welfare), law and order, fearlessness, health, and well-being are examples (e.g., safety against accidents and injury).

3. Sense of belonging and love needs

After physiological and safety needs are met, the third level of human needs is social, which includes feelings of belonging. A sense of belonging is a human emotional need for interpersonal interactions, affiliation, closeness, and group membership.

Friendship, intimacy, trust, acceptance, receiving and giving affection, love are examples of ‘sense of belonging’ demands.

4. Esteem needs

Esteem needs consist of self-worth, accomplishment, and respect, are at the fourth level of Maslow’s hierarchy.

Maslow classified esteem needs into two categories:

  • Esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence)
  • The desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).

According to Maslow, the desire for reputation or respect from others is most important for children and adolescents. It comes before true self-esteem or dignity.

5. Cognitive needs

Maslow felt that humans wanted to improve their intelligence and thus pursue knowledge. Cognitive wants are the natural human desire to study, investigate, discover, and create to have a greater grasp of the world around them.

When this demand for self-actualization and learning is not met, it leads to confusion and an identity crisis. This is also strongly tied to the desire to explore or experiment.

6. Aesthetic needs

According to Maslow’s theories, humans require beautiful images or something new and aesthetically pleasant to progress up the hierarchy toward self-actualization.

Humans must refresh themselves in nature’s presence and beauty. They attentively absorb and observe their surroundings to extract the beauty that the earth has to give.

This is a higher level yearning to relate to the environment in a beautiful way. It leads to a lovely sensation of intimacy with nature and everything beautiful.

7. Self-actualization

Self-actualization requirements are the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy and correspond to a person’s potential realization, self-fulfillment, personal growth, and peak experiences.

Maslow (1943) defines this level as the ambition to achieve all possible and become the best one can be.

Individuals may sense or focus on this need with great intensity. For example, one person may have a great desire to become the perfect parent. In another, the ambition could be manifested financially, academically, or athletically. Others may express it creatively through paintings, drawings, or inventions.

8. Needs for self-transcendence

Maslow later divided the top of the triangle to include self-transcendence, commonly known as spiritual needs. Spiritual needs are distinct from other needs in that they can be met on multiple levels.

When this desire is fulfilled, it produces sentiments of integrity and elevates things to a higher degree of existence. – A person is motivated by values beyond the individual ego.

Examples include mystical experiences and specific experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science, religious faith, etc.

Difference Between Deficiency Need and Growth Need

This five-stage level of needs below can be separated into two parts: deficiency needs and growth need.

The needs are listed in the following order: physiological (food and clothing), safety (work security), love and belonging (friendship), esteem, and self-actualization.

Lower-level needs must be met before persons can attend to higher-level requirements.

The first four levels are known as deficiency needs (D-needs), whereas the top level is known as growth need (B-need).

Deficiency needs occur as a result of deprivation and are considered to motivate people when they go unsatisfied. Furthermore, the drive to meet such wants grows stronger the longer they are denied. The longer a person goes without eating, the more hungry they will become.

Maslow (1943) first suggested that individuals must meet lower-level deficit requirements before moving on to higher-level growth needs.

He further explained that need satisfaction is not an “all-or-nothing” phenomenon. This implies that a need must be met 100 percent before the next need occurs.

When a deficit need is satisfied, our efforts become directed towards meeting the next set of requirements we are yet to satisfy. These then become our most pressing requirements. However, growth demands continue to be felt and may even intensify once addressed.

To Wrap Up

Maslow, as a humanist, thought that people have an inborn drive to be self-actualized or achieve their full potential. However, to accomplish this ultimate aim, a variety of more basic demands must be addressed.

These demands or wants are analogous to instincts and play a significant role in motivating behavior. Overall, Maslow was interested in discovering what makes individuals happy and what they do to reach that goal.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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