Blogs by Coach Dr. Paras


The Modern Theory of Hierarchy of Needs by Dr. Paras

Your needs Define the Way you Live

We think we live life on our terms. If you dig deeper, we live life on beliefs and needs. We form these beliefs and base our values on them. Often, we let our survival needs dictate our lives without having an inkling about the direction we are headed to.

Interestingly, we rarely think about our potential and the larger picture because of certain fears and the unmet needs we have within. Coach Dr. Paras introduces an interesting theory that will help you understand the way humans survive and exist depending upon their needs. He shares his views while comparing it with the basics of Abraham Maslow’s theory of needs while documenting a holistic view on this subject.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow had outlined a theory in 1943. He displayed his theory through a pyramid design (above) that listed a human’s needs displayed in 5 tiers. The most basic need according to Maslow’s needs is Physiological needs. His theory mentions we are wired to fulfill the needs of food, clothing, shelter, water, sleep, sexual intercourse, and good health on priority.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs then describes Safety as the next important need. When the needs for safety are met, there is a feeling of security (personal life, emotions, finance, and health.)

The need for love and belonging is next in the pyramid. This is connected to our interaction with others. Humans are social beings and the need to develop family ties, friendship, and intimate relations are important for every human.

Maslow followed this with Self-esteem. This is a need to develop one’s self-esteem by achieving fame, and respect from people. There is a need to be accepted which adds value to a person’s life.

Maslow outlines the top of the pyramid as the Self-Actualization need with survival being the basic need for a human. He defines a person who achieves all of these is one who has mastered his other needs. People who desire and meet this need are highly successful and confident about their abilities.

Maslow’s theory initially stated the fulfillment of the lower needs to reach the self-actualization stage. Dr. Paras, however, interestingly projects his Modern Theory that begins with the Existential need and the importance of self-esteem.

Why Dr. Paras outlines Existential Needs as the Core to Everything

Dr. Paras outlines the importance of pushing beyond the need to survive. It’s about looking at the bigger picture. He firmly feels the need for self-esteem (shown as 4th in Maslow’s theory) begins from the day you are born. A human needs to exist and be seen. The need to be liked by all begins at an early age. A human feels safe when he feels “I exist” (be acknowledged) so “You exist” (your presence is acknowledged) and thus “We exist”. Every human being needs it. He outlines the following in his Modern Theory of Needs (above).

Dr. Paras defines the basic need as the Existential need

  • This need is visceral and often goes unnoticed. These are buried within layers of other needs. It's the core and the bottom-most tier in this reverse pyramid and every human being primarily survives or disengages psychologically when this need is not met.
  • He defines the next as external Survival needs. It encompasses the basics such as food, clothing, and shelter. Dr. Paras mentions survival and safety needs are synonymous with each other and go hand-in-hand (contrary to Maslow’s theory which mentions both needs at a separate level). The prime reason both have equal weightage in this theory is because maintaining one’s safety is equivalent to one’s survival needs. The culture around us is ever changing and protection, i.e. safety, is definitely of paramount importance for survival.
  • Dr. Paras further moves on to describe the next need as Psychological and Emotional needs. Here, a human feels the need to give and receive love. He needs to understand and be understood. Emotional needs include the feeling of an emotional connection, a sense of status, achievements, security and more. To feel emotional fulfillment, we need to experience relationships, friendships, the feeling of love and intimacy. This needs to begin first with self and then with others for harmony in relationships.
  • Social needs form the next important need. Here, a human feels the need to connect with people and be a part of a community. Social needs include feelings of acceptance and belonging while forging relationships with people. It’s about defining one’s space in the social structure and getting recognition from others.

With spiritual needs, a person moves from a state of mindfulness to a state of mindlessness.

The need at the top of the pyramid is the spiritual need. Spiritual needs go beyond the existing needs with a focus on the larger picture. For example, a human may want to work towards the betterment of society while finding peace. Dr. Paras further emphasizes the awareness of the spiritual need may arise only when the psychological and social needs are met (in some cases). A person thus moves from a state of mindfulness to a state of mindlessness. He wants to build something for the community while working towards improving the lives of others.

However, Dr. Paras cautions that humans take a leap towards spiritual needs as escapism when their other needs are unmet. This means, their spiritual needs are not awakened but are only a means to distract themselves from the real picture. This is not what the spiritual need is about.

In his Modern Theory of Needs, Coach Dr. Paras outlines how humans form their lives based on their needs without being aware of what goes beneath the surface. While all needs can coexist at the same time without one taking precedence over the other, the spiritual need is reached upon the fulfillment of the basic needs. A deeper understanding of this modern theory will give you the vision to build your life when you begin to view your thoughts, decisions, and actions from a different perspective.

Have questions about the modern theory of needs? Write to [email protected]. We’d love to hear your views.