Many of you will have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The one where first comes food, water and shelter.  Then safety follows – that sense of home, and as you can see in this image, we then need love and belonging, esteem, and the icing on the cake is to aim for self-actualisation.

Maslow’s pyramid dates from 1943. Now, more than 70 years later, may I propose a new way of considering his valuable work?

The thing is, if you are reading this, you probably have the basics sorted. We have food all around us – gosh. New cafés open monthly, each with more milk options than our ancestors could ever have imagined.

We rent or own and possibly aspire to something larger or more glamorous, but either way, we’ve generally got the shelter bit covered.  We have the love of friends and family and my fervent wish for you is that you are well on the path to acknowledging your wonderful unique set of skills and gifts you bring to the world.

As I was saying in class the other day, once you are past 40 you don’t get to blame your parents for anything anymore (congrats to that wonderful woman in class who corrected me and put her own age of parental non-blame at 18!) – it’s time to shed any last bits of that poor inner child who ‘didn’t get enough’, and dissolve away any victim mode.

It’s time to step up. It’s time to, as my sister calls out to her university age son when he’s out for the night, ‘make good choices’ and it’s time to take responsibility for your life as it is! 

So, while we can tweak our homes and our coffee choices to make some life improvements, maybe it’s time to step up and work on the self actualisation tip of the pyramid.  Maybe it’s time to turn it upside down.

If, like me you have the other stuff covered, let’s make it a priority to work from the top, down and spend a little more time and energy on living to our highest potential. There is really nothing to lose!

Here are 6 ideas where to start:

  1. Your local library or bookshop. Choose inspirational reading and listening. I quit those news apps, tv and radio news a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. If it’s something important you will hear about it.

    I count uplifting fiction in this category by the way because we stay alive for poetry, beauty, romance, joy and vibrancy. On that note, my friends tease me when I gravitate to tragic stories and holocaust movies, but I stand resolute in this – sadness is life affirming too.