Hierarchy of Needs – Dr. Abraham Maslow
Dr. Abraham Maslow was one of the fathers of Humanism. Maslow believed that all humans are motivated to achieve certain needs in order of priority. He outlined a motivational theory of psychology often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the broadest, most fundamental, basic safety needs at the bottom progressing toward higher level needs at the top.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
- Physiological Needs: food, water, air, warmth, hygiene, rest, exercise, and sleep.
- Safety and Security Needs: shelter, fire, structure and routine, consistency, protection from danger, and safety in the outdoors.
- Love and Belonging Needs: connecting, being part of a group (family, friends, tribe, community), receiving and giving love, respect, trust, and acceptance.
- Esteem Needs: respecting oneself, feeling respected, feeling competent, achieving confidence through task accomplishment and skill mastery.
- Self-Actualization: achieving one’s full potential
Our most basic human need is the Physiological need for survival and well-being, so this need must be met before higher level needs can be effectively achieved. Once our primary needs are met, we can move on to meet our Safety and Security needs. Once these needs are met, the next level needs are Love and Belonging, followed by Esteem needs, and ultimately, Self-Actualization, or achieving one’s full potential.
Maslow’s Hierarchy is foundational to the Open Sky program because it so clearly demonstrates that in order to evolve, we must meet our needs in an intentional and progressive way.
Wilderness offers the perfect environment to practice, reinforce, and value the importance of satisfying our primary needs. Every day, students work through their Student Pathway as a way of attending to and improving the foundations of the pyramid. Once students have successfully tended to their primary needs, they can build on these achievements and find motivation to effectively seek more meaning and purpose in life.