Professor Abraham Maslow noticed that some human needs take precedence over others, but when the more urgent needs are met, a person is motivated by “higher” needs.
Maslow outlined a hierarchy of human needs in the shape of a pyramid. His theory has been widely accepted as a basis for understanding why humans behave the way they do.
According to this theory, an individual seeks to satisfy the more primitive needs first, and only then turns attention to the higher needs.
An article on BusinessBalls.com website states that:
“The Hierarchy of Needs theory remains valid today for understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development. Indeed, Maslow’s ideas surrounding the Hierarchy of Needs concerning the responsibility of employers to provide a workplace environment that encourages and enables employees to fulfill their own unique potential (self-actualization) are today more relevant than ever.”
When we are not starved for food or safety, we tend to seek love and belonging. If we have love and belonging, we seek respect and creativity, etc. Most people in the modern world are motivated by more than hunger or security.
Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple, said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
An article in the PsyBlog outlines “10 Psychological Keys to Job Satisfaction,” with the following conclusion:
When you look at this list of what makes for a satisfying job, you might wonder why everyone can’t have one. With a little thought, most of the predictors of satisfaction can be provided.
The answer is probably quite simple. Organisations pay lip-service to keeping their employees satisfied, but many don’t really believe it makes a difference. What this research shows is that it can make a huge difference.
Leo Babauta suggests, on the ZenHabits.net blog, “If you can’t find your dream job, create your own.” He says:
I was once unemployed, and I know the debilitating depression and the feelings of frustration and helplessness that can come with that. I’ve been stuck in a job I hate, and I felt imprisoned, trapped doing work that bored me while following orders of others and helping them achieve their goals.
Luckily I rose above those traps, but I have to admit it wasn’t easy. The solution has been one of the most liberating, empowering, joyous things in my life.
I wanted to share that little secret with those of you who are having a hard time finding a job, or who feel trapped in a job you hate:
Create your own dream job. Don’t wait for someone to hand it to you. Don’t hope that you’ll win the lottery. Don’t give up and consign yourself to a fate of misery and (worse) dullness.
In the 21st Century it may be easier to find a way to earn a living from home, due to the internet. Personally, I have been self-employed for almost 40 years, and I have to admit that that it has not always been easy. It has involved sacrifices and risks. There have been very hard times. It is not for everyone. But I wouldn’t trade the freedom and creative satisfaction for a job.
The 30 Day Blogging Challenge has reminded me of Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” I have been extremely busy lately, and yet I really want to blog daily. My “To Do List” runneth over, and I am faced with time management choices. Dean Hunt wrote a very helpful blog post called, “How to NEVER get Anything Done.” Dean deserves credit for the following image:
I have about an hour before I have to leave for a meeting. Therefore I am allotting one hour for this blog post — and that is about how long it will take. When the hour is up, I will click “Publish.” I will take a 3-minute shower before leaving. If I had more time, my shower would last longer 😉
Joel Falconer wrote a helpful article on the Lifehack website, in which he said,
Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time available for its completion – means that if you give yourself a week to complete a two hour task, then (psychologically speaking) the task will increase in complexity and become more daunting so as to fill that week. It may not even fill the extra time with more work, but just stress and tension about having to get it done. By assigning the right amount of time to a task, we gain back more time and the task will reduce in complexity to its natural state.
It works because people give tasks longer than they really need, sometimes because they want some ‘leg room’ or buffer, but usually because they have an inflated idea of how long the task takes to complete. People don’t become fully aware of how quickly some tasks can be completed until they test this principle.
Make a list of your tasks, and divide them up by the amount of time it takes to complete them. Then give yourself half that time to complete each task. You have to … treat them like any other deadline.
It is often said that if you want to get something important done, ask a busy person to do it. Busy people get things done. They are busy because they are ambitious. In many cases they have learned how to apply Parkinson’s Law.
Another very valuable concept is “The Pareto Principle,” aka “The 80/20 Rule.” In a previous post, “7 Time Management Tips,” I explained “The realization that 80% of valuable results come from 20% of our activities is really a very exciting concept. It offers the possibility of quadrupling our results by focusing on the vital few rather than the trivial many.
One of the most valuable books I have ever read is Stephen Covey’s First Things First. I try to remember and remind myself frequently of the profound concepts in that book, which is a follow-up to Covey’s famous game changer, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Stephen Covey recommends that we “keep the main thing the main thing.” He explains that “urgent” things constantly distract us from truly important things that do not seem urgent at the time. Because they do not seem to be urgent or necessary at any given moment, we put of many of the most important things while we waste our precious time doing what seems more “urgent.” We are so busy putting out fires that we leave no time for fire prevention.
Covey’s research at the Covey Leadership Center indicates that the main difference between highly effective people and unsuccessful people is that effective people do important things even when they are not urgent. Everybody does important things when they are urgent. We wait to go to the Dentist until our teeth ache. We put off physical exams until we hurt. We can always exercise tomorrow — until it is too late! We can brush our teeth and floss later, or maybe skip it for today.
We can choose to make things happen on purpose, or we can by default let things happen to us. Everyday we have the golden opportunity to take control of our own life.
Ironically, it is natural to procrastinate about important things more so than unimportant things, simply because they are important and therefor scary. We may fear performing inadequately, or to put it more positively, we want to wait until we are prepared to do it very well. This is exactly why I put off writing blog posts! I want my posts to be as valuable as possible.
One of the most memorable things I learned in graduate school was that “Not everything worth doing is worth doing well.” Time and resources are finite (not unlimited), which means that choosing to spend time on one thing keeps us from doing another. See my blog post, “Opportunity Cost.”
Gavin Mountford, among others, has said, “It is more important to get it going than to get it right.” Remember the famous quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too...Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
I am reminded of the mafia rationalization: “It’s not personal; it’s business!”
However, I contend that business has always been personal, and is even more so in the age of consumer control.
According to Wikipedia, “Empathy has many different definitions. These definitions encompass a broad range, from caring for other people and having a desire to help them, to experiencing emotions that match another person’s emotions, to knowing what the other person is thinking or feeling, to blurring the line between self and other.”
The difference between empathy and sympathy is the difference between “I’m sorry” and “I apologize.”
Evidence of the relevance of empathy to business is outlined in the article on the Mind Tools blog called, “What’s Empathy Got to do with It?”
There are numerous studies that link empathy to business results. They include studies that correlate empathy with increased sales, with the performance of the best managers of product development teams and with enhanced performance in an increasingly diverse workforce. A few of these studies can be viewed on the site of The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations.
The fact that empathy is an important component of effective relationships has been proven: In studies by Dr Antonio Damasio (outlined in his book: “Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain.“), medical patients who had damage to part of the brain associated with empathy showed significant deficits in relationship skills, even though their reasoning and learning abilities remained intact.
An article in Psychology Today entitled “Are We Entering the Age of Empathy?” , by Ray B. Williams, quotes research documented in a book, The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons For A Kinder Society, by Dr. Frans de Waal.
The distinguished scientist says it is long overdue that we jettisoned our beliefs about human nature–proposed by economists and politicians–that human society is modeled on the perpetual struggle for survival that exists in nature. De Waal says this is mere projection on our part. Nature is replete with examples of cooperation and empathy.
Unfortunately, philosophy and religion as well as science have long suggested that caring and kindness do not come from our biological nature, but are ways that humans overcome biological instincts. In contrast, aggression, dominance and violence have been attributed to our DNA. According to de Waal, for humans and other advanced animals, sharing, compromise and justice matters. He argues that feeling and acting with empathy for others is as automatic as aggression.
The great Christian theological book, Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis, tells us that:
The Golden Rule of the New Testament (Do as you would be done by) is a summing up of what everyone, at bottom, had always known to be right. Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do that. As Dr. Johnson said, “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”
Seth Godin wrote (in Seth’s Blog):
When we extend our heart, our soul and our feelings to another, when we imagine what it must be like to be them, we expose ourselves to risk. The risk of feeling bruised, or of losing our ability to see the world from just one crisp and certain point of view.
It’s easier to walk on by, to compartmentalize and to isolate ourselves. Easier, but not worth it.
This post is a draft to be continued later. For now I wanted to test the RSS Feed.