Understanding Human Needs & Motivation: Why Lack Can Influence Our Thoughts

Understanding human needs and motivation can be a daunting task. There are many theories that attempt to provide an understanding of our motivations, but no one theory seems to do it all. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one such example – he created this framework in the 1940s to help explain why lack might influence our thoughts or minds at any given time.

The premise of the theory is that we all have five layers or levels of needs – and if one level isn’t met, then our thoughts will be influenced by this lack.

That of course makes perfect sense. However, we are complicated beings and have evolved to live more complex lives. Different aspects of our lives, besides our physical needs, may be lacking, thereby influencing many of our thoughts and actions.

In this article, we take a closer look at these five layers of needs and the relationship between human needs and motivation. How lack can influence our thoughts and why we should be mindful of the role that scarcity plays in our lives.  The importance of recognizing what is missing from your life can help you make changes to your life – whether they be material or emotional.

Hierarchy of Human Needs, According to Maslow

So, what exactly are these five levels of needs? They are:

Physiological needs – such as food, water and air;

Safety needs – including security and protection from physical and emotional harm;

Social needs – related to our need for love, belongingness and affectionate relationships;

Esteem needs – involving our desire for respect, prestige and self-respect;

Self-actualization – which is our need to fulfil our potential.

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is a great way to understand the importance and order in which we prioritize our basic necessities. If these levels aren’t met, it will be difficult for any ‘one’ need to stand out as a priority over another. The most important thing is that you are able to live healthy lives with self-respect while also feeling safe from danger at all times (Physiological).

You can get your copy of “A Theory of Human Motivation” here. This classic publication is essential reading for psychology students, educators and professionals.

Five Levels of Human Needs

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory

The Relationship between Human Needs and Motivation

Now that we have a better understanding of these five levels of needs, let’s explore how they influence our motivation.  Maslow believed that humans are always motivated to meet their needs and will do whatever it takes to fulfil them.

He also proposed that there are two types of motivation – primary and secondary. The primary motivation is what drives us to meet our needs, while secondary motivation is what we do in order to achieve certain goals or rewards.

For example, if you are hungry, your primary motivator will be to find food. Once you have found food and eaten, your secondary motivating factor might be to look for a job that pays well (in order to support yourself) or to buy nice clothes in order for people to see you as worthy of respect.

The problem is that this theory has been criticized by many psychologists because it does not account for our evolved needs.

How Lack can Influence our Thoughts

How can a lack of something actually result in a change of thought? It’s all about understanding human needs and motivation!  When we don’t have something that is essential to our well-being, it can lead us to change our thoughts and actions in order to try and fill that need.

Maslow’s theory is always a great place to start when looking at this topic. He talks about different needs that humans have in order to be content, and how once those needs are met, we can move on to other needs.

However, Maslow’s theory is not without its critics. Many psychologists argue that it does not take into account our evolved needs, which are often more complex than the basic needs proposed by Maslow.

Examples of How Lack can Influence our Thoughts

For example, if someone feels like they are constantly lacking love or attention, they may start to act out in order to get more attention from others. On the other hand, if someone lacks a sense of purpose in their life, they may seek out an organization or volunteer cause to help alleviate that lack. It’s all about motivation and how we look for ways to feel fulfilled!

Another example, if your need for security is not met, you might be more likely to lash out at someone who makes fun of you – because our self-esteem needs are always on the line when we feel like we aren’t good enough (which may arise from a lack of respect).

It’s all about understanding what we need and how we can go about fulfilling those needs! As humans, we are always looking for ways to better ourselves and our lives, so it’s important to be aware of the different ways that a lack can influence our thoughts. By understanding how we tick, we can gain a greater understanding of ourselves and what makes us happy!

Sources: https://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/maslow.htm

The Importance of Recognizing What is Missing from your Life

Ultimately, the importance of recognizing what is missing from your life comes down to two things – understanding yourself better and taking action.

Self-awareness is key when it comes to understanding our motivations and needs. Once we know what we need and what drives us, we can start to look for ways to meet those needs.

However, we also need to take action in order to fulfil our needs. Simply knowing what we want is not enough – we have to work towards getting it.

Manifestation is a big part of this. If we want something, we need to put our focus and energy towards it. And if we don’t know what it is that we want, we can start by getting clear about our values and what’s important to us.

So, if you are feeling unhappy or unfulfilled, take some time to reflect on what might be missing from your life. Once you have a better understanding of that, start taking steps to fill the gap.

Human Needs: Ways to Fill These Gaps in Your Life

There are many ways to fill the gaps in your life. The first step is always self-reflection, which can help you understand what’s missing and why.

Once you know what you need, it might be helpful to talk about these needs with someone else – whether that be a friend or family member who cares about you or even a therapist.

When your motivation levels are low and you feel like giving up on something that’s important to you, it might be helpful to remember that these feelings are often temporary.

Another way to fill the gaps in your life is by taking action. This could mean looking for a new job, starting a new hobby, or even travelling to new places.

The important thing is that you find ways to meet your needs and fulfil those intrinsic motivations that drive you. When we do this, we are more likely to be happy and content with our lives.

Finally, if you feel stuck in life and don’t know how to move forward, therapy may be a good option for you. A therapist can help you get past your obstacles so that you can live the kind of life that makes you happy!

Strategies for Overcoming Scarcity-Driven Thinking

When we feel like there is a lack of something in our lives, it can be easy to fall into scarcity-driven thinking. You may think that having less means being deprived or unhappy, but this isn’t true at all.

The first step towards overcoming these thoughts is to recognize them for what they are: just thoughts. You don’t have to believe everything that you think!

Another way to overcome scarcity-driven thinking is by taking a step back and asking yourself: “Is this helpful?”

When we feel like there isn’t enough, it can be easy to get caught up in these thoughts. However, they are not always productive or helpful. If the thought process is hindering your life, then you might want to try and let it go.

Asking yourself if the thought is helpful can help you determine whether or not it’s worth holding on to that scarcity-driven thinking. If your thoughts are only causing harm, ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t have those thoughts anymore? What could be possible for you in that space?

Finally, another way to overcome scarcity-driven thinking is by practising gratitude. When we focus on all the good things in our lives, it can be difficult to feel like we’re lacking anything.

Gratitude helps us to see the world through a more positive lens and it can also help us connect with others.

Motivation and human needs

Ways to Overcome Lack of Motivation

When we feel like our motivation levels are low, it can be difficult to take action. Fortunately, there are some strategies that you can use in order to overcome this lack of motivation and get more done!

1. Self-Reflection

– The first step is always self-reflection – taking the time to think about what might be causing these feelings of laziness or sluggishness. Once you have a better understanding of that, start taking steps to address the issue.

2. Find the Meaning in What you Do

–  If we can connect with what we’re doing and see why it’s important, this can help us get past these feelings of apathy.

3. Start Small

– When we feel overwhelmed or intimidated by a task, it can be difficult to take action. Instead, start with something small that can help you build momentum.

4. Break tasks into manageable chunks

– If it’s something external that is causing your lack of motivation, like a difficult task or project at work, then try breaking it down into smaller chunks. This will make the task feel less daunting and more manageable.

5. Setting Goals

– Another way to overcome low motivation levels is by setting goals. When you set a goal for yourself, it gives you something to work towards and can help keep those motivation levels up!

6. Gratitude

– Write down each positive thing you experience throughout the day and reflect on them before bed. This can help to shift your focus from negative to positive experiences, and it can also boost your overall mood!

7. Reward Yourself

– Give yourself a pat on the back for every task that you complete, no matter how small it may seem. This will help to keep you motivated as you work through your list of tasks.

8. Try to be Present

– When you’re feeling unmotivated, it can be easy to ruminate on the past or worry about future events. However, this is unhelpful and will only cause more harm than good. Instead of spending time worrying or thinking about negative things that have happened in your life, try to stay present and focus on what’s happening right now!

9. Have Some ‘me’ Time

– It’s important to take some time for yourself, especially when you’re feeling unmotivated. This can be anything from taking a relaxing bath to reading your favourite book. Dedicate some time every day to do something that makes you happy and helps you relax!

10. Therapy

– Lastly, if you find that your lack of motivation is impacting your life in a negative way, therapy may be a good option for you. A therapist can help to get to the root of the problem and give you the tools necessary to overcome it!


Seeking Information Based on our Needs

Fulfilling our needs in our day-to-day lives requires us to obtain different kinds of information. According to Maslow, we need to learn new information to understand the world better. Learning about our environment allows us to better meet our needs.

One example is that when we know about how our particular part of the world works, we can take steps to more adequately ensure our safety. Another example is how when we learn about a specific topic that interests us it can help in our personal growth, which helps to fulfil our self-actualization needs.

The types of information that we seek depend on the need that we want to satisfy. For example,

  • Individuals seeking to satisfy physiological needs require some coping information.
  • People who are looking to meet their safety needs will look for information and methods that help them to avoid harm or danger.
  • Meanwhile, those seeking love and belonging would be looking out for enlightening information often found in self-help books.
  • Those who want to fulfil their esteem needs will require some empowering information in the form of leadership seminars, books, or professional talks.
  • Finally, those who would like to achieve their self-actualization goals would most likely seek edifying information specific to their dreams and aspirations that could help them reach their full potential.

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Our motivation levels are often tied to our ability to meet our needs. When we find ourselves lacking or unable to fulfil what is necessary, it can be challenging for us to do the things that need completing in order to achieve success. Fortunately, there are ways around this situation! By understanding human needs and how they affect our day-to-day lives, we can better meet our needs and motivate ourselves in fulfilling them.

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