“If ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.”
This revelation given through Joseph Smith in 1832 teaches a concept taught in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in 1954. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs says every human has five basic needs. In order to become fulfilled, or self-actualized, one must first satisfy their baser needs.
Here are the five needs in Maslow’s hierarchy:
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Biological and Physiological needs – these needs include the need to breathe, eat, drink, sleep and have warmth and shelter in order to survive. Without physiological needs met, the other needs cannot be met.
- Safety needs – these needs include the need to feel secure, safe from danger and stable. Laws and limits can help people to fulfill their safety needs.
- Belongingness and Love needs – these needs include the need to feel loved and to establish relationships with others.
- Esteem needs – these needs include needs to feel a sense of self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence and status.
- Self-Actualization needs - these needs include needs to realize one’s potential, fulfill one’s destiny, and to grow continuously.
Though Maslow recognized these five basic needs are interconnected, Maslow hypothesized that in order to achieve self-actualization one must first fulfill their four more basic needs- biological, safety, love and esteem needs.
In essence, Abraham Maslow reiterated what Joseph Smith said 122 years prior- in order to fulfill your higher, more spiritual needs and thus obtain “heavenly things,” you must first have your needs met “in earthly things.”
Near the end of his life, Maslow proposed another level of needs above self-actualization- self-transcendence. Maslow estimated that only about 2% of people ever reach this stage in their life. Those who fulfill self-transcendence needs do so by helping others reach self-actualization.
Here are some behaviors that can help you reach self-actualization and self-transcendence.
How to achieve self-actualization and self-transcendence
- Live like a little child, absorbing the good around you.
- Try new things, take chances.
- Listen to your heart when making decisions.
- Be honest with those around you.
- Be willing to make unpopular, correct decisions.
- Take responsibility and work hard.
- Don’t get defensive.
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
- Abraham Maslow
Personal Notes: To me, self-actualization and self-transcendence are natural fruits of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s plan is known as the plan of salvation, happiness and progression. While one make seek spiritual fulfillment with secular wisdom, the best way to reach spiritual fulfillment is to follow God’s plan- have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end.