Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Can you skip layers in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

Monday evening, I had a conversation about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. She asked me if you can skip a step in that pyramid. For once, I was silent following the implications of her question. Based on her personal story, this question may need a ‘yes’. Actually, I had always assumed that Maslow’s hierarchy is sequential, even despite my own personal story since 2013.

Before my 2013 burn-out, my life had indeed followed the sequence of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

The severity of my 2013 burn-out came as a surprise. It took me a while to understand what had happened.

Essentially, nearly all layers of my hierarchy of needs had become porous over the years. Hence, my ‘pyramid’ was able to collapse in one single moment. (source of picture)

Subsequently, I faced a choice: either repair my ‘pyramid’ or build a new one. Repairing the old one would have caused some hard questions, like How? It took me a while to establish the most important step in my new pyramid: the foundation. Then I skipped several – if not most – layers and went straight to the top. Hence, my personal story also suggests a ‘yes’. 

Her story also involves two pyramids. However, she skipped a layer in her first ‘pyramid’. The other layers were more important to her. Now, her second ‘pyramid’ aims to include that missing layer from her first one. Her story includes another similarity: it took her a while to establish the foundation of her second pyramid.

We do have a choice in establishing our priorities (my blogs). Nevertheless, our default priorities are reflected in the hierarchy of needs, a 1943 concept by Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). To skip a (default) layer, may well imply a future need for revisiting that skipped layer.

“The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” A quote from The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield (b. 1943), an American author.

Can’t Hide Love (1976) by Earth Wind & Fire

(composed by Skip Scarborough in 1973)

artists, artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

Note: all markings (bolditalic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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