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blogs.scientificamerican.com

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Abraham Maslow

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

ABRAHAM MASLOW

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Deficiency vs. Growth

Abraham Maslow argued that all needs could be grouped into two main classes: deficiency and growth.

  • Deficiency needs are motivated by a lack of satisfaction, such as the lack of food, safety, affection, belonging, or self-esteem. The higher the need, the more we change reality to satisfy the most deficient needs.
  • Growth needs have a different sort of wisdom. Instead of being driven by fears and anxieties, it is more accepting and loving. It is asking, "What choices will lead me to greater integration and wholeness?" rather than "How can I defend myself?"

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Forming a faulty deficiency mindset

At a young age, when an expression of a need is disregarded as not as important as the needs of the caretaker, a child may get the message that they are not loved while they have this need.

This causes people to behave in a way they think they should feel, not how they really feel. As adults, they are always influenced by others' opinions and driven by their insecurities and fears of facing themselves.

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A fully functioning human

To psychotherapist Carl Rogers, the loneliest state is not the loneliness of social relationships, but a separation from one's own experience. Rogers developed the notion of the "fully functioning person" that is characterized as:

  • Is open to all of the elements of their experience
  • Develops a trust in their own experiences
  • Is accepting of the locus of evaluation that is within themselves
  • Is learning to live their life by participating and discovering new aspects of themselves.

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Security goals and Growth goals

Goals are grouped into two main clusters:

  • Security Goals: Have well-respected opinions, have many fine things, be admired by others, be well-known to many, be financially successful, find a good, high-paying job.
  • Growth Goals: help those who need it, show affection to loved ones, feel much loved by intimates, be accepted for who I am, help improve the world, contribute something lasting.

When people are under conditions of freedom, they tend to move towards growth. The goal isn’t to become completely growth-oriented and despise security, but under freedom, the balance tips towards growth.

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