Words – 620 reading time – approx 5 minutes

Abraham Maslow created a well-recognised model of human motivation based on a hierarchy of needs. In its most basic form (see below) this model contains our most basic needs of food, water, air, and shelter, our safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, up to self-actualisation – our true potential. Maslow stated that each of these needs must be met before we are motivated to achieve the next tier in the hierarchy.


The rather bold question is, does it need an update that takes into account our modern situation?

For some time I have felt that this model is incomplete and with the obvious and undoubted climate and environmental emergency we face, it is perhaps equally obvious where the disconnect lies.

What if there is a hidden layer beneath our basic physiological needs that we have not been aware of and has been ignored through our ego driven desire to achieve, accumulate and have our wants met?

A layer that our ancestors and many indigenous tribes honoured and respected above any individual motivation – The needs of nature.

What does Maslow’s model look like when we add this fundamental level that all other human motivation rests upon? How different does our thinking and motivation look when we accept and embrace what has been hidden from us?

Take our basic needs. What does our diet look like when we meet the needs of nature first? What different choices might we make? Do we eat less meat and diary considering what we now know about the damage industrial farming does to the environment?

Through the evolution of our modern society, this layer has been hidden from view. Only now are we beginning to understand the consequences of our combined ignorance.

Around the World we are witnessing action to turn the direction of human progress. Whether it be through #innovation and #research or activism with groups like #extinctionrebellion.

It is pretty clear that environmental protection is at the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation. As such we are surely witnessing an evolutionary shift to a new paradigm of motivation based on the needs of nature. This should give us all hope.

Our acceptance of the existence of this fundamental need as well our acceptance of the power we now have to influence the well-being of the planet is the path to true self actualisation and even perhaps self-transcendence.

I believe that just maybe this is not only a path to our individual self-actualisation, but also the path to our transcendence as a species – A transition from destroyer to become the protectors we were always meant to be.

The clock is clearly ticking and for us to find solutions and accept responsibility, it is our thinking that requires that greatest effort but will achieve the greatest change.

It would be great to hear how your thinking life and motivation changes if you accept this evolutionary concept.

If you are interested in taking your individual responsibility further, we’ve created an Eco-system coaching model that will help you reconnect with the environment while developing sustainable thinking. This means developing a way of perceiving and thinking that helps you sustain the life you want while beginning to meet your individual responsibility towards the needs of nature.

There is no rule book – this will be different for everyone so remember to be kind to yourself. I know I’ve done more than my fair share of damage to the planet through my own actions. None of us are perfect. But we are where we are.

I truly believe that you can harness the motivation to meet all your needs and the needs of nature. Balance is the key. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks for reading – Keep it UP!

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