The Ultimate Personal Development Plan
Personal development, improving your skills, nurturing your talent, and realizing your true potential. Words that will make almost anyone’s heart beat a little faster.
But there’s something only those who’ve tried personal development will know. It’s that personal development is a very, very hard thing to pursue consistently.
Even the most driven, dedicated, and hard-working individuals will have moments when they don’t feel any motivation for personal development.
So are we regular people doomed to never master our talents then? Not necessarily. In fact, there’s both an explanation and a solution.
But it’s not related to combating procrastination, enforcing self-discipline, or anything like that.
It’s simply an approach to guarantee you’ll get motivation automatically…
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
In 1943 an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow proposed a theory on what motivates people in life.
The simple version is that people will always feel motivated to pursue their needs, starting with the most basic or lowest level needs. Here are the levels of needs and some additional explanations:
Level 1 – Physiological needs
Things like water, food, and sleep. The most basic of our needs that we can’t function without and will always drive us to some extent.
Level 2 – Safety needs
Things like personal security, financial security, health and well-being, both physical and mental, and protection against illnesses and accidents. It simply an internal wish to have stability, consistency, and overall nice feelings in life.
Level 3 – Love and belonging needs
Friends, family, and intimacy. Our social natures come into play only at the third level. We need communication and a sense of belonging. And when we don’t have that, we drown in negative emotions like loneliness, anxiety, and eventually depression.
Level 4 – Esteem needs
Recognition, status, importance, and respect. These are the things that solidify our positions in a group of people or in society as a whole. Whether it’s your merits, achievements, or anything else that makes you stand out.
When our esteem needs aren’t satisfied, that’s when we stop enjoying our current lives, situations, and jobs. And that’s also when we start stagnating. This is the prime reason why people’s careers end abruptly or why they decide to switch to a different path.
Level 5 – Self-actualization needs
The final level where personal development begins and never stops. This includes things like finding a life partner, utilizing your abilities, utilizing your talents, pursuing a goal, and seeking happiness. All of these things will cause us to grow in many ways.
How to get motivated with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
When we fulfill needs at lower levels, we automatically start moving onto higher level needs. Or rather, we’ll be motivated to fulfill them without forcing ourselves.
For example, when we are thirsty we feel motivated to drink. When we are hungry, we feel motivated to eat. And when we are tired we feel motivated to rest or sleep. (It sounds kinda silly that we need motivation for sleep. But what else is sleepiness if not motivation for sleep?)
It’s really hard to pursue anything else if we are hungry, sleepy, or tired. Of course, we can override it with willpower, but that only ever leads to burnout and other problems.
That being said, when the first level needs are cleared, your motivation automatically shifts to the next level. When the second level needs are cleared, your motivation will move onto third level needs. And so on. This is the simplest method to ensuring we always stay motivated in what we do.
The only tricky part is that no one else can tell us what our needs are. Only we know them, so we have to look inward and self-reflect. To that end, here’s a simple set of questions that can guide you on the right path.
What are your needs?
Find somewhere to put your answers down. Like a piece of paper or a new word document. So you can refer to these answers later on.
1. What do you lack the most right now at level 1? (water, food, rest, sleep, etc)
I want to______________________________________________________________.
2. What do you lack the most right now at level 2? (a stable income, health, an insurance policy, etc)
3. What do you lack the most right now at level 3? (someone to talk with, someone to support me, someone I can take care of, someone to love me, etc)
4. What do you lack the most right now at level 4? (respect from my colleagues, a promotion, a raise, feeling valued and appreciated, etc)
5. What do you lack the most right now at level 5? (becoming the best at what I do, finding true happiness in life, finding someone I can share my life with, achieving my lifelong dream of…, etc)
When you’ve found your needs at each level fulfill them one by one, starting from level 1. And if your goal is personal development at level 5, the fastest way there is to clear all the levels below it. So when you finally reach level 5, you’ll feel unlimited motivation towards personal development.
There’s no magic tricks or secret sauce
We can’t force motivation. Because it’s something that should happen naturally. And Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the best personal development plan to make it happen.
The really cool part is that there’s a way to make fulfilling our needs at each level easier. I’m talking about good habits of course!
When we ingrain good habits into our lives, need fulfillment will start happening automatically. Like a proper sleeping schedule at level 1. Or a habit to exercise at level 2 for maintaining health.
There are dozens upon dozens of habits that will almost automate certain aspects of our lives. This way we can stay at level 5 almost indefinitely, allowing us to reach our true potential and become the best versions of ourselves much sooner.
And out of all the habits, there are 21 habits that stand above all the rest. They are easy to acquire and have an amazing impact on your life. And we’ve compiled them into a neat book for anyone to read. So if you want to try them out for yourself, click on the book below!
That being said, that’s all for this blog post, see you next time! Live empowered!
Here’s a more inspirational and emotional take on motivation from the amazing Les Brown: