Michael's Blog

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Revisited

Maslows_Hierarchy_of_Human_NeedsA thought occurred to me this past weekend regarding needs and wants.

For those of you familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow suggests that once our basic human needs are fulfilled then we move on to more advanced needs. First, our physiological space must be stable; we trust where we are, and we develop capabilities such as what we can do, what else is possible, and what tools we can learn to use. Then we have a need for safety in our environment as we do what we do and eventually we see the need for Love and Values (our family structure, peers, religion and belief structure). After we fulfill those needs, we need self-esteem; our Identity (who we are, stretching our limits and creating in our own way). Finally we need Self-Actualization or spirituality (this encompasses community-outreach, unity, becoming-one, supporting others). As each level becomes stronger the level above it becomes stronger.

While I’m not here to argue with Maslow, I do have an issue with how we perceive needs verses wants and the effect it could have on our way of life.

According to the following internet article, “When it comes to owning or acquiring certain things, people would often use the terms ‘want’ and ‘need’ interchangeably. In many cases, the manner in which people would use these two terms can lead one to perceive that these two have similar meanings, if not mean absolutely just the same thing. But actually, these two economic terminologies are very different from each other.”   The writer goes on to say: “The grey area between these two, is when the desire to obtain a particular thing is so extremely great, that a person may misinterpret a want, and see it more as a need. In order to know whether what you desire for is a want or a need is to basically ask one fundamental question: “Have you been able to survive without this?” If your answer is ‘yes’, then what you desire for is a want, no matter how much you crave for it right now.”

Read more: Difference Between a Want and a Need

Let’s consider how language affects our lives. The way we use words affects the way we perceive things around us; words carry a meaning depending on their use; in essence, words are equivocal (they can have more than one meaning), not univocal. Here I suggest an alternative way to consider Maslow’s paradigm.

The word “need” as defined by an online dictionary means: “A condition or situation in which something must be supplied in order for a certain condition to be maintained or a desired state to be achieved.”   The implied connotation is that the person with the need has an expectation of being supplied by it, thus the person is moving away from performing the act that would fulfill the desire, hoping instead to have the desire fulfilled by some other means.

The word “want” as defined by the same dictionary means: “To have a strong feeling to have (something); wish (to possess or do something); desire greatly.”   In this case, there is an implication that the person who wants something is moving toward achieving it by some means.

Certainly, if I “need” a vacation, I am basically working day in and day out considering my plight and wondering if there ever will be a day that I can get away.  When I “want” that vacation, I will begin planning, saving for it, setting a date, buying the tickets, and so on.  In essence, I am moving toward the actual trip. If I “need” to get up and exercise, I may sit in my chair and watch “Biggest Loser” while snacking on my favorite desert.  When I “want” to get up and exercise, I will physically arise from my seat and begin the process.  This scenario plays itself out over and over with the difference being use of the word “want” verses the word “need.”

With this in mind, we now look at Maslow’s Hierarchy with a different perspective.  A person who wants to have his/her physiological desires met will move toward that end, then move on to their safety wants, and ultimately to actualization.  What would that do to our way of life?  What differences would we see in our town, in this country, in this world, if we began to work toward what we wanted instead of talking about how to get our needs met?

I propose we teach Maslow’s Hierarchy of Wants.

Our Perspective Defines Our Reality

12290526_sOne of the concepts we learn in psychology is that people are not bothered by things, but by the views they take of them. I once had a manager, when I worked for Anheuser-Busch, whose favorite saying was that perception is reality; I disagreed with him. Perception is not reality, our perception is our reality.

There is a huge difference! Just because I think a thing is true, does not make it so. The main difference is a blind spot that a person has between what is true and what is perceived as true. Have you ever had a belief disproved? I once thought that working for a large corporation was the answer to happiness. I revised my belief, 20-years after making a similar statement to my father, and retired early.

A truth in my life today is that my son, my first-born child, one of two children born to me and my first wife, has a perspective that prevents us from having a loving relationship. When he was five-years-old, his mother and I separated due to circumstances beyond my control. I filed for divorce and requested the custody of both children. Two years later, after a trial where I brought 26 witnesses, I was awarded custody and a divorce. Whereas I thought that would end the battle, in reality, that was only the beginning; by the time my son and daughter were 10 and 8 respectively, they pined for their mother and I allowed them to live with her for a time. My ex did not return them and it was 10 years before my daughter and I got back together; my son’s reaction to his mother caused him to return home earlier, but in the process, she had changed their last names to that of her new husband, and that created a greater battle. My blind spot was that I refused to pay to change his name back, because of my anger and resentment. My belief was this: if he and my daughter hadn’t begged me to live with their mother, she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to change their names, so why should I pay to have them changed back; they should pay for it themselves. WRONG!  That didn’t work!

In harboring that belief, the perspective that my son took is that I do not love him. That thought hadn’t entered my mind…. at all! In fact, I often lose sleep over the inability to connect with my son who is now 42-years old. Today is one of those days; I awoke at 3:00 this morning and decided to incorporate this story in my blog; I would tell him personally if he would speak with me. However, he has communicated to me that he is not interested in having a relationship, and he is an adult who has every right to choose his own path in life. That said, I have promised him that I’d give him space and I will honor that. There is no reason to create drama over something that I might want to do.

What beliefs do you harbor that are creating drama in your life? How is the struggle between intimacy and autonomy creating a whirlpool of emotions for you? Have you been down this road before, and is the pain bad enough to cause you to desire change? How can you better choose to respond to your emotions rather than react to them?

At this update, August 18, 2018, I’m happy to say that my son and I have reconciled and I’ve been assisting him in a project he’s been working toward.  How we see things determines how we react to them.  Whereas I saw my hesitance to change my son’s name as the cause of our division, he had no thoughts of it.  Regardless, my own thoughts on the matter are that a name is only a name.  He is still my son, carries my DNA, and is now once again calling me Dad.

As an emotional wisdom specialist, I can support you in finding the answers to these questions.

Living With Intention

Different perspectivesSome have used the phrase: “what would Jesus do?” when attempting to make a moral decision, and we know the scriptures hold many answers.  But how do we determine which job we should seek, or which house to buy?  How do we determine where to go on vacation, or when to turn and walk away?

Our minds are broken into three specific parts; the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind.  The conscious mind takes in the seven or more senses.  I know, you’re thinking wait a minute, there are only five senses; I was taught that in kindergarten.  I’m suggesting that there are at least seven: Hearing, Sight, Touch, Smell, Taste, as well as a sense of Time and Space.  We know when time passes and we certainly feel an emotion when someone invades our space, even before touching us.  There may be others, but for now, we’ll consider those seven.

The subconscious mind is where our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs reside.  That portion of our mind can keep us out of trouble, it contains our conscience.  Some people have a seared conscious, which allows them to do horrific things without feeling angst, guilt, or shame.  Most of us realize when we say or do something that it is moral, amoral, or immoral.

The unconscious is where everything that we’ve ever learned is stored.  It does most of the work for us, and if you consider that our conscious minds would have to work at lightning speed to accomplish every task, driving a car and chewing gum at the same time would be impossible without our unconscious mind.  Our unconscious mind also allows us to imagine things; to associate into an event that is not currently happening.

So, what if we asked three or more people to tell us what to do in a given situation?  Could we imagine what Walt Disney would say if we were trying to decide how to have fun with our kids for a few hours without having to drive to Disney World?  What would Walt say?  How about asking Henry Ford how to produce a product that we could sell?  Could the Wizard of Oz help us find answers to some serious struggles we have?  Where would Indiana Jones have us to explore?  An emotional wisdom coach can support you with these questions.

What does living with intention mean to you?  What would it be like if you had a vision and mission for your personal life, for your family, for your business?  How would living your life planned out be different than living with what life throws at you?  How would that make you feel?

A Drama Triangle Played Out


To explain the drama triangle, let’s say an event happens; the persecutor causes harm to a victim, who is then rescued by a third party. In this process, there is a cycle that occurs. In the cycle, a rescuer steps in and becomes the persecutor of the original perpetrator, who is now the victim, the original victim now becomes the rescuer, and a spin cycle is created.

This week, the drama triangle has played out for all to see. Ray Rice, a successful football player for the Baltimore Ravens had knocked out his then fiancé, Janay Palmer, while the two of them were arguing on an elevator on February 15th at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. The couple married one month later.

So on February 15th, this drama began. Regardless of which of the two started the cycle, Ray sent Janay to the floor when he struck her and she hit her head on the elevator rail, knocking her out. The NFL and the Ravens football team recently entered the cycle as the rescuer; they suspended Rice for two-games originally, then reportedly, after seeing the video, the Ravens fired Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely, thus becoming the persecutor of Ray Rice in the next cycle. The media, following the story of spousal abuse by Rice, has reported all of this information.

Janay has now become the rescuer of her victim husband by lashing out against the media for reporting the incident and the resulting fallout by saying she feels like she is “mourning the death of my closest friend.”

No doubt, there is pain hidden from public view; something triggered the original altercation. As an Emotional Wisdom Specialist, I admit that we don’t know what we don’t know, and still there is a belief, created from an earlier event, incident, or accident, that dwells deep inside each of us that triggers a reaction that might cause any one of us to lash out against another person. What is that trigger for you?

How have you seen this triangle play out in your life? We have the ability to respond wisely to an emotion rather than react to it. We can choose a response in spite of an emotion. What will you do that will help you respond to your emotions rather than react to them?

Looking For Truth?

I read a quote the other day that is a little off base. The quote read: “If you’re looking for truth, don’t look within yourself; you’re the one who is confused.”

While on the surface, this quote seems to make sense, the fact is, one’s conscience bears witness to God’s law that is written on our hearts at birth (see Romans 2:15). It is not until our conscience is seared or cauterized that we become hardened to the truth.

The cauterized part becomes rigid and hard, and is dead to sensibility. So it is with the conscience of those referred to; it has the same relation to a conscience that is sensitive and quick in its decisions, as a cauterized part of the body has to a thin, delicate, and sensitive skin. Such a conscience exists in a mind that will practice delusion without concern; that will carry on a vast system of fraud without wincing; that will incarcerate, scourge, or burn the innocent without compassion; and that will practice gross enormities, and indulge in sensual gratifications under the mask of godliness.

In other words, the truth is there, the person is just unable to access it due to hardened feelings, thoughts, and beliefs; those things that are stored in our subconscious; where our conscience lies.

Emotional Wisdom training using Core Alignment Coaching techniques can access the truth from a person’s unconscious with permission of the subconscious. The unconscious is our spirit, the all-knowing part of us; everything thing that we have ever experienced carefully stored for access from the beginning of our creation until now. Without using the unconscious mind, we would not be able to live like we do, or do what we do. Our unconscious allows us to accomplish tasks, such as drive a car, without having to tune into every minute detail of the experience. Without the unconscious, our conscious mind would quickly overload and not function as it is meant to.

Want to know the truth? With coaching, you can access your unconscious mind; the truth is stored there.

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

In October of 2008 I had the great fortune of being encouraged to attend a two-weekend experiential seminar that I was less than anxious to participate in. Because I trusted the person who sponsored me into the event, I went along, even though I had attended several seminars in various states prior to this one. I had no idea what to expect, and quickly found myself along for the ride of my life.

I recall several facets of the event that struck me as extraordinary. There were no tables and nothing to write on or with. Those of us in the training were asked to forgo the usual vices normally associated with business meetings, such as smoking and drinking during the event, and cell phones were off limits during the training segments. We had frequent breaks that allowed us outside contact, but leaving the training for any length of time was discouraged. There was a definite structure to this event that was unique, yet it was accepted by all and the weekend began.

The chairs were arranged in a semi-circle with the trainer in the center. At times we would enter the room to find the chairs set up in groups of five, and at other times arranged in a dyad; we worked on ourselves. The room of strangers moved from a number of untrusting souls to a unified group in three days. I recalled my most pleasant memories from childhood through adulthood, listened as those in my group explained their life struggles, and discovered more about myself in three days than I’d learned in the previous 57 years. I uncovered the reasons for my dissatisfaction with my job, and found a new passion to help other people. I wanted more, and I jumped into the process with both feet.

What does it take to move from ordinary to extraordinary? What are you pretending not to know? Each of us is whole, perfect, creative, and resourceful, making the best decisions we can with the information we currently have. So, what is it that you need to get out of the emotional soup that you find yourself in? This event can change your life.


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A life extraordinary. (thelifeoferinomalley.wordpress.com)

Landmark seminar: on being extraordinary (simplycomplicatedkait.wordpress.com)

Stop Being Ordinary Choose to be Extraordinary! (usmanolaoluwa.wordpress.com)


strengerthefearofinsignificance1I recall an event six-years ago this month that has made a profound change in my life and the way I understand the world around me.  A visit to my chiropractor ended with an invitation to a networking event in Kimmswick, MO, which I cheerfully accepted.  I had never attended a networking event and was tentative about the ordeal, but was told that I could share a bit about my business.  I took brochures and business cards, and nervously stepped into the room, taking care to listen more than talk.  I recall the president of the group as he led the meeting, and the vice-president, a large man whose presence caused me to shrink in my seat.  The group accepted me with open arms, yet I was acutely aware of my own nervousness.  I joined the group, hoping the time would soon arrive when I felt more comfortable in the surroundings.  The next week, I invited my life coach to attend the group with me as a guest.

I had just begun my voyage through my first encounter with my coach and as I look back, I see evidence of the feelings of insignificance that haunted me.  Me; Insignificant?  Yes, it is a wonder that I managed to land a job with the largest beer manufacturer in the world and hold onto it for 28-years.  Yet, I was considered a successful person, having a resume that anyone would love to hold.  I had acquired a BSBA at UMSL, had participated in workgroups around the U.S., spoken in front of the vice-president of the company in board meetings, written countless standard operating procedures for the facility where I worked, and even helped create a 107-minute training video in which I was the primary trainer; but, I’d not been in business on my own.  This was entirely different; I had no clue where my life would go.  I felt like I was floating, having turned away the past and looking for a new future.

In the years since, I’ve discovered many things.  I finished my Master’s after starting my own coaching business, and I’m finding my way among the sea of people otherwise known as entrepreneurs.   I feel great!  Life has a way of changing us; if we’re not changing, we are going backward, we are not standing still.  Disagree?  Do you still have a rotary dial phone?

How do you deal with your emotions?  How does finding yourself in a new paradigm affect your nerves?  Do you feel comfortable in your own skin?  Can you look in the mirror and study the face of the one looking back at you without breaking eye contact?

Life Coaching can help you break through barriers that are caused by blind spots in your life.  We don’t know what we don’t know and we don’t know that we don’t know.  We don’t see life as it is, we see life as we are.  Consider the options…  Cover your feelings of insignificance with the purchase of a new toy, a trip to Maui, a few buffets with trips to the casino, or maybe alcohol or drugs are your soup du jour.  I’m offering an option that will give you tools that can be utilized for the rest of your life to gain the happiness you’ve long sought, tools guaranteed to create magnetism between you and those in your circle of influence.  Let me know when you’re ready.  I’m anxious to help you get started on a new path.


Different perspectivesI recall my first job other than working with my father.  I was a service station attendant at Len’s Mobil in Festus at the age of 16.  Prior to that, I had learned to work on cars by helping my dad in his business, but Len taught me some valuable lessons that have remained with me for 46-years.

As I prepared to drain the oil on a customer’s car, I grabbed a crescent wrench to remove the drain plug from the oil pan.  Len noticed my choice of tools and promptly chastised me for using an adjustable wrench.  “Always use the proper tool for the job” he said, and handed me a ¾” box wrench to remove the plug.

In today’s hustle bustle world, where everyone is scrambling to get through the day, I’m wondering… How are your relationships going? 

What tools are you using to communicate with those in your circle of influence?

I recently read a book entitled “Emotional Contagion” by Elaine Hatfield, John T. Cacioppo, and Richard L. Rapson in which the authors discussed ways emotion affects our communication.  The problem I see is that text messages, tweets, and emails convey little if any emotion.  We use the same tool that was created for information to bridge the communication gaps in our society and wonder why we’re having problems with our relationships.

Michael Maher, in his book “The Seven Levels of Communication,” describes texts, tweets, and emails as electronic communication and places them in the informational zone.  To achieve effective influential communication, Michael suggests phone calls, events, and one-on-one face-to-face communication.

So again I ask, what tools are you using, and how are they working for you?

If your relationships are in need of an adjustment, perhaps your method of communication is in need of adjustment.  Finding the proper tool begins with acknowledging that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.  An age-old quote says it well: “You cannot change or heal what you don’t acknowledge.”  Contact Focal Quest Psychology Based Mentoring and Life Coaching for more information.