The Upward Spiral

Written on May 24, 2008. Written by .

Hong Kong - IFC 2 (Photo courtesy of Stuck in Customs)

International Finance Center
Balancing goals is a recipe for success.
Photo courtesy of Stuck in Customs

Psychologist Abraham Maslow created a famous “Heirarchy of Needs”. He claimed that the lower needs in the heirarchy would have to be satisfied before the higher needs could be achieved. From bottom to top, Maslow’s heirarchy is: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. To look at this from a more practical viewpoint, these needs can be translated into the goals that help to satisfy them. The first two needs correspond to the goal of Health, which we take to include safety. The higher needs correspond to the goals of Financial, Social, and Intellectual success.

The goal of Health is more fundamental than the others, but it is also more easily achieved for most people. Achieving the goal of Health does not require perfect health and a perfect diet; it could just mean that you are well fed and breathing, though hopefully your standards are higher than that. So while Health is a more important goal, it may not require as much attention as the higher goals.

Once the goal of health is reasonably achieved, it is possible to work on achieving the higher goals of Financial, Social, and Intellectual success. The correlation with Maslow’s heirarchy breaks down here; there are no prerequisites between these three goals, they can all be tackled simultaneously. In fact, these goals must be tackled simultaneously because a deficiency in one area will stunt your growth in the other two areas. An synergistic interdepency exists between these three aspects of life. The synergy is most effective with a properly balanced distribution of effort. When all three are balanced, success in each area will create positive feedback in the other areas, creating an upward spiral of success.

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