Life could be so easy. Doing the right stuff and avoiding the wrong stuff. But while i am writing this, i am eating cookies. Loads of cookies with a cup of coffee. Of course i am weighing to much and i want to loose weight. I am weighing around 110 KG and to be honest this is a lie, i am weighing 116 KG while being 180 cm large. So i am over weighed. For quite a couple of years now. I know what to do. Eat less, make regular exercises. But i am lazy and hungry. This has to stop. Today? Maybe tomorrow. You had this kind of tomorrows too? I did.

So you see i am totally the right guy to write some text about motivation. I don´t know how long it will take me. Or how long the text will be in the end. On the way you and i will learn something about motivation. Let me just fetch some cookies and a fresh coffee. What made me do that? Lets find out.


So what triggers behavior, especially human behavior. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a good start into the topic.


Image MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds

Maslow identified 5 basic groups of needs and thought of a hierarchy. But the depiction as a pyramid was probably done by Werner Correll. The most important need is for food and water. When the basic needs are fulfilled, then the human longs for safety. The next interest is for social interaction, like love, communication and general belonging. The fourth level represents self importance and acknowledgement through others. The fifth and final step is the need for self-actualization. I felt the need for creating my own pyramid. 

 maslow pyramid

Maslow provided the following reference to his text: "So far, our theoretical discussion may have given the impression that these five sets of needs are somehow in a step-wise, all-or-none relationship to each other. We have spoken in such terms as the following: ‚If one need is satisfied, then another emerges.‘ This statement might give the false impression that a need must be satisfied 100 per cent before the next need emerges." 

The first four needs are according to Maslow so called deficit needs. If they are not fulfilled with a certain level of satisfaction, then the individual will not strive for the growing need (fifth step), the self-actualization (meta motivation). The hierarchy and especially the depiction as a pyramid is a very static interpretation of the theory. 


Dynamic hierarchy of needs of Abraham Maslow referring to Krech, D./Crutchfield, R. S./Ballachey, E. L. (1962)
By Philipp Guttmann. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

 Some textbooks use a more dynamic graphic. This graphic depiction clearly shows the overlapping of needs.


cloud maslow

By Martin Bechberger. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

I created a different approach. The needs could be depicted as clouds. I am a fan of alliterations. So i will call them ..... cravingsclouds. White clouds show that the individual has a positive emotion while trying to satisfy the need and a more darker, stormy cloud when there is a negative feeling associated with the fulfilling of these needs. Smaller and larger clouds could symbolize the felt intensity of the cravings.

 cloud maslow modified

This is my actual cloud chart. I am hungry (cookies didn´t last long) , living safely but had an argument with my wife. Step 4 and 5 at a regular cravings level with a positive feeling about them. How would your cravingclouds actually look like? 

Maslows hierarchy was mainly used in economics to get a basic understanding of human behavior in terms of satisfaction of needs. When a national economy aligns its production factors to the needs of its residents  everyone should benefit from it. Unfortunately there a countless examples of misalignment.

In his later years Maslow expanded the concept with 3 more steps. Aesthetic needs, cognitive needs and the need for transcendence. As usual in science and life he and his concept were criticized for different reasons. His general approach to humanity was judged as to be too positive. Humans not only strive for positive values and needs but also for dominance, power and aggression.







Lügen und Betrügen


fight or flight


the SIMS


Defizibedürfnisse, müssen immer wieder gestillt werden





Maslow's hierarchy of needs




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