Life isn’t a race. It’s a marathon. Any goal takes time to achieve. But what happens when your life starts with a bad home environment. No family support (or minimal) or the home life is all about survival. Goals are secondary. Basic needs come first.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Motivation
As we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Motivation (Yes…I went there, but don’t run away yet. I promise this isn’t your Psychology 101 class all over again!), physiological needs must be met first before we work out way up the pyramid. Physiological needs include basic water, food, sleep, breathing, etc. These basic needs are followed by:
- Safety needs
- Love/belonging needs
- Esteem needs
All of our needs must be met before we can reach self-actualization. What is self-actualization? The simple definition is:
Isn’t that what we all want? That’s striving for excellence. It’s what drives us to our greatest potential.
So what if our basic needs are not met? It’s easy to turn to drinking, drugs, gangs, gambling, poor choices, etc. out of frustration or an escape from the reality. On the other hand, if you keep your eyes on excellence- that is the excellence you are capable of or desire- this will help you make decisions to avoid any choices that will sway you from your prize (fulfilling your goals).
Short Example on Striving for Excellence No Matter Where You Start in Life
I have many personal examples that I hope to share a little over time. Here is a post on How I Paid for College and Put $5000 in an Investment Account. I had no help from my family to pay for my bachelor’s degree, and I walked away debt free. My family couldn’t financially help me. I also didn’t have the support, but I did it.
The example I want to use in this post is about a family I see at my eight-year-old son’s soccer games on Wednesday nights.
Some people start in life with much. Maybe this is a “head-start” up Maslow’s pyramid. Others maybe start with very little. This family doesn’t have much, but every single Wednesday, they are at the soccer fields selling snacks, drinks, corn, and tamales. The mother only speaks Spanish. I wish I knew how to speak Spanish (being half Puerto Rican), but I don’t. It’s a goal of mine one day. Back to the story.
There are many things this family could do with their time, but I believe by being on the soccer fields every Wednesday, they are doing what they can to better their lives. I don’t know what the goals or dreams are for this family, but I hope it is for the children to attend college one day or get a scholarship from playing soccer or the parents can open a little food place or truck. No matter what their goals are, I honor them for making the delicious food that I support and buy each week. They work hard. In my eyes, maybe this is striving for excellence considering maybe where they started.
I don’t believe we need to win the Nobel Peace Prize or a Newberry Medal to be excellent. Now, these are definitely excellent contributions and honors, but few receive these. I think we examine our current situation and strive for more. Run (or walk) your marathon. Keep your eyes on your long-term goals and passions. This will help you climb Maslow’s pyramid and get there.
Let me know your thoughts. Do you have any experiences to share? Thanks for reading! ❤️
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