The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.
~ Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist, 1908-1970
It is estimated that we are exposed to 5,000 ads a day. Our economy is built on us consuming things, food, clothes, shelter improvements…. Businesses tend to create things that cluster at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. On the lower rungs of the hierarchy are physical and safety needs, which can be met by buying things.
But what I see in my practice is the often-unmet higher needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy. Connection, fulfillment, time with loved ones, autonomy, reaching our fullest potential. And when those needs go unmet there are direct negative health consequences. How can we reach for and demand things that address these higher needs? Once we have our physical and security needs met, our higher-level needs cannot be met by buying stuff.
As we ascend the hierarchy, our need for stuff goes down and need for connection and meaning goes up. The 5,000 ads we are served up a day are often the very things that take time and energy away from what will fulfill our higher-level needs. They are not going to get us where we want to go. Here are some strategies to build wisdom and address your higher needs in life:
• Seek out quiet every day– develop a relationship with it. Ask yourself, ‘what do I need that I can’t buy?’
• Have a personal Tech policy (no tech in bedroom, batching emails, tech sabbath)
• Develop methods to limit exposure to ads/noise (subscribe to ad-free media, see my list of resources for exceptional podcasts).
Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.
~ JK Rowling