Most of us are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
- The base is physiological – breathing, food, water, sex, sleep….
- The next level is safety and security – of employment, of health, of family…
Implicit in this model is that each level BUILDS ON the other, it is not REPLACED BY the other. This “building on” is often lost in discussions on maturity – of anything. An assumption of superiority appears. “I am more evolved / mature / better than you because I am at this ‘higher’ level.”
We need these foundations and the development at earlier levels.
When you have a cold, how sharp is your thinking?
Today’s culture destabilizes our foundations by threatening our baseline physical needs.
- It’s easier and less expensive to obtain processed food instead of real fruits, vegetables, and meats.
- Our technologies and our jobs are making us more sedentary than ever.
- Our economies and businesses treat people as “resources” to be used and optimized.
- The celebration of busy-ness and the need for many of us to use stimulants just to keep up with our workload, has resulted in a society of cranky, sleep-deprived people.
With all of the talk of digital transformation, agility, complexity and everything else in our race to get to “higher levels,” it seems to me that we are deeply neglecting the basics.
- Are you eating real foods or grabbing sodas and snacks from the vending machine?
- How often are you getting away from the chair and computer?
- How secure do you feel in your job? Are you doing things you love to do?
- If you took away the coffee/cola/other stimulants/numbing agents – could you keep up?
- How are you sleeping these days? When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep without help?
We’re going to struggle with this brave new world if we don’t have our foundations in order.