More than surviving

Lockdown may not be too much fun, here in Oman, or anywhere else in the world, but we are doing much more than simply ‘surviving,’ aren’t we?

An American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, in 1943 presented a paper entitled “A Theory of Human Motivation,” which has been at the root of all educational, management, sociological and psychological thinking ever since, as he provides a ‘road map’ of human behavioral needs. Much of what Maslow identified in his five-stage model, will be apparent to us as we navigate our way through the isolation requirements of COVID-19.

His model is usually presented in the form of a pyramid of five levels, the first of which is that of the most fundamental needs like food and water, health, shelter, clothing and sleep. All of us will have these needs met, or we will not survive.

The second level is identified as safety and security, which reaches from physical to emotional security, and as far as financial security, and of course, while our basic health needs are met at the initial stage, currently we are all at risk from a pandemic, so we do not have health security. This would normally be met in the form of health insurance policies; however, COVID-19 makes us feel insecure.

The third level is that of being loved and having a sense of belonging. Most of us are fortunate to have at least part of our family in lockdown, or isolation with us, and there is no doubt that those who are separated from their loved ones will notice the difference.

Then we come to the socially interactive level, where we need the respect and recognition of others whether it be a simple hello, or the acknowledgement of an adoring world after an Olympic victory, we all need different levels of recognition of our value, and that is why we interact with others. We are not being completely egotistical, but we all need to feel, on some level, accepted and respected.

Maslow’s final level is labelled ‘self-actualization,’ meaning that once all the earlier needs are met, you will be able to realise your potential, or as Maslow put it in 1954, “What a man can be, he must be.” My purpose today? To help you to recognize that despite some elements of Maslow’s amazing hierarchy not being fully met, we are still fortunate to live here, and have few excuses, during these testing times.