Two days ago I gave a workshop for the first time, which was about ‘Pure happiness’, inspired by my blog ‘7 steps to pure happiness’. It was an exceptionally beautiful experience. Not just for me fortunately, judging from all the positive reactions I received afterwards.
Two days before that I was drinking cappuccino in a coffee shop. At the reading table I started reading my book “For positivity” by Mark Verhees. After a while, a grumpy old man who was sitting at the table asked me what I was reading. When I told him I seemed to have triggered an avalanche of negativity. “People who write such books are profiteers. They’re egoistic and just want to get rich as fast as possible.” I told him I knew the author personally and that what he said was absolutely not the case.
“Listen,” he continued, “you should read Maslov. At least that’s useful.” Curiously I asked him why he found it so useful. He seemed surprised by my question and didn’t answer me right away. I asked him about Maslov’s pyramid, of which I saw a variant on Facebook recently. And yes, that was what I should be reading out, he said. Meanwhile I had finished my cappuccino and went home. There I continued reading my book, and to my surprise found that the new chapter started with Maslov’s pyramid!
‘Having’ instead of ‘being’
With his pyramid, Maslov wanted to demonstrate there is a fixed order in fulfilling your needs. Before you can reach self-actualization, you must first take care of food and drink (physiological needs), a place to live and a job (social security), friendship and love (social belonging), and appreciation and self-respect (esteem level). The emphasis in this theory is on the lower levels of the pyramid. The top is reserved for those who have fulfilled all other requirements. In our society, we too are focused on the lower levels by looking for momentary gratification and possession, instead of “being”.
Key to pure luck
I believe that the focus should be on the top of the pyramid: self-actualization. There lies the key to pure happiness. Then, in reverse, you will be fine on the other levels. Because when you know your passion and strengths and live by them, you will get respect and self esteem. Then valuable relationships with others will form. Then, you can earn money for a place to live and your basic needs, because others will like and help you. In addition, you can decrease the size of the lower levels, because you don’t need wealth to feel happy. Of course, this principle is not applicable in extreme situations where you have nothing to eat or have lost your house.
An accidental encounter in the coffee shop led me to this insight, which I used as a nice addition to my workshop ‘Pure happiness’.