Yesterday, I attended a session entitled "Motivate Yourself" at the University of Teesside. The attendance was small (two trainers and two trainees, of whom I was one) which led to rather an embarrassed atmosphere but there were enough interesting ideas discussed in the session to make it time reasonably well spent. There might be a few thoughts in here of interest to some of you, which I'd be happy to pass on, plus my interpretation of how the techniques can be applied to interact with online journalling.
The session was scheduled to last two hours; admission was through prior registration on physical sign-up sheets or by e-mail. Five had previously signed the physical sheet, of whom one attended; my registration by e-mail was also recognised. As it happens, I know one of the other folks who signed up on the sheet and didn't turn up, so I guess this is a precis of what he missed. The session was overseen by the Student Union's Activities and Skills Centre's Training Officer plus one of his associates.
The low attendance put a negative tone on the session; the Training Officer explained that there were normally rather more attendees than appeared today. There were group discussions planned as part of the session; with only two trainers and attendees, the four of us got together for one small relatively-big group discussion. Two trainees is an uncomfortable number; unless you really hit it off with the other trainee, you feel very self-conscious about not wanting to monopolise the benefit that is to be gained from the session. Admittedly the session made me feel extremely self-conscious anyway, which has all the self-doubt brought about by self-awareness without a sense that it's doing you any good at all.
The session began by discussing two theories. The first was Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Using italics to indicate my plagiarism, Human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. I shall attempt to reproduce the version of the pyramid we were given.
. / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / SELF-ACTUALISATION \ / Achieving potential \ HIGHER ORDER / Self-fulfilment \ / - - - - - - - - - - - - - - \ / ESTEEM \ / Acceptance, friendship \ / Self-respect, autonomy \ / - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - \ / SOCIAL NEEDS \ / Acceptance, belongingness \ / Affection, friendship \ = = = =/= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =\= = = = / SECURITY \ / Safety, protection \ LOWER ORDER / - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - \ / PHYSIOLOGICAL \ / Hunger. thirst, shelter, sex etc. \ /_________________________________________________________\
As each of these needs becomes substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. At different times of your life you may be at different stages, and it is possible to move back. If your security is threatened, you forget all about "higher" needs until you are safe again.
Higher order needs are satisfied internally by the person, whereas lower order needs are satisfied predominantly externally, by salaries, conditions etc.
However, within this, there appear to be contradictions. Why are there some people who do not seem to have a strong need for self-actualisation, whilst others seem to have only a minimal requirement for basic needs such as physical requirements, company etc.?
As well as splitting the levels into higher-order and lower-order, some scholars declare the lower four levels to be "deficiency motivators" which all must be present before someone can effectively investigate the "growth motivators" in the top level - and that people will be motivated to resolve their deficiencies before they can grow.
It was also noted that some sources (like this one) add spiritualism at the top of the pyramid, above self-actualisation, as a need which can sometimes be fulfilled independently of the other five; an interesting example which took me by surprise was that in war people were prepared to die for their cause rather than worrying about their security. Not what I would have instantly thought of as spiritualism, which is why it caught my attention. Not that I particularly have a concept of what spiritualism is, but I didn't think that was a part of it.
Incidentally, the rather curiously named Businessballs reflects on Maslow's later work which splits self-actualisation further: level five, cognitive needs such as knowledge and meaning; level six, aesthetic needs - appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.; level seven, self-actualisation needs as discussed; level eight, transcedence needs - helping others to achieve self actualisation. This is interesting because I had heard of the concept of transcedence but wasn't sure what it was.
We were then set the exercise, though not given time to complete it in the session, to work out what we haven't achieved and whether it's the case that we haven't achieved our own lower-order needs to our own satisfaction that might be holding us back from fulfilling higher-order needs. It strikes me that this could be a really interesting, though self-absorbed,
Hunger: I think this is simple as saying "I had a big dinner and a nice supper, there's a good quantity of food downstairs, I know I'm not going to go hungry or thirsty tomorrow and the family financial situation is not calamitous". Satisfactory.
Thirst: today I've drunk orange juice, milk and lemonade, so no problem there. (No, not all in the same glass.) Satisfactory.
Clothing: nice, fresh, clean, warm clothes in good condition. Satisfactory.
Warmth: 22.5°C in this room, with a fan heater at my feet which I can turn on if it drops much further. Satisfactory.
Health: sneezed a couple of times earlier today, but reasonable. I also had a spirited walk home through the cold air which caused me to breathe heavily this evening. My weight's coming down, too - whisper it, but I'm actually below the 195 lbs. I suggest in my userinfo. Satisfactory.
Air: I was on a smelly train earlier today, but the situation is fine at home, jokes about "Middlesbrough smog monsters" aside. Satisfactory.
Sex: although fruufoo's fancy dress party on Saturday was good, it wasn't that good. Nevertheless, over the LiveJournal 18 months, I've been doing better by myself than ever. Satisfactory.
Sleep: not feeling too tired yet, bed is reasonably comfortable, is close at hand and I have no urgent deadlines for an early rise tomorrow. Satisfactory.
Shelter: house is in good condition. There is a very occasional roof leak directly onto my printer, but a once-in-three-years rainstorm is required. Satisfactory.
Getting rid of wastes: toilet is working properly. Satisfactory.
Conclusion: Effective homeostasis.
Safety: I have confidence in the locks in the house doors, in our burglar alarm and confidence walking around town. Nevertheless, I do get teased a lot in the streets (not just a Middlesbrough thing) and am scared of gangs of kids. Acceptable.
Consistency/stability: two parents, though concerns over parental age and health, plus occasional inevitable intra-familial disputes. Acceptable to Satisfactory.
Food supplies: larder and fridge are acceptably stocked. Satisfactory.
Financial situation: my bank balance is in credit and I know where enough money will come from until about February at my habitual frugal level. In the longer term: assets exceed liabilities, but the prospects in the longer term are unsupportable. Unsatisfactory.
Limits: doesn't feel like a problem, so this aspect must be Satisfactory.
Conclusion: Insecure and seeking long-term financial stability should be my highest priority as the biggest item on the lowest-order need.
BELONGINGNESS AND LOVE NEEDS:
Family: love from parents, though not a particularly thorough understanding or the sort of close friendship where we can discuss almost anything. Little connection with other family members. Acceptable, but problematic in the longer term.
Work groups: the rest of the MSO team have demonstrated acceptance, respect and kinship through their actions, ditto the other web site I work on. I have the quality but not the quantity here. Acceptable to Satisfactory.
Religious groups: reasonably happily agnostic, happy to avoid organised religion. Satisfactory.
Clubs: improving. The Middlesbrough Gamers Club is not completely fulfilling. The University of Teesside Fan Society is a good complement to it. I signed up for university trampolining, hopefully without commitment. Acceptable to Satisfactory.
Neighbours and near-neighbours: polite indifference. Unsatisfactory to Acceptable.
Online: LiveJournal community excellent, mailing lists and newsgroups less fulfilling than they were before. Online friendships lack essential physical element. Satisfactory.
Camaraderie: shared experiences with friends by playing common games and watching common media. Weak concerns about both satisfaction derived from quality and quantity. Acceptable to Satisfactory.
Romance: entertaining outbound crushes with nominal romantic potential, lots of perceived inbound friendships with little perceived desire for romance. Acceptable to Satisfactory, but not fulfilling in the longer term at the current level.
Readiness to receive friendship: somewhat intermittent, but usually satisfactory. Is it realistic to need 100% compliance here? Acceptable.
Affection: generously displayed online, intermittently displayed offline. Acceptable to Satisfactory, but not fulfilling in the longer term at the current level.
Belonging: reasonably strong online, questionable offline. Acceptable to Satisfactory, but not fulfilling in the longer term at the current level.
Conclusion: generally Acceptable but evidently patchy.
Self-esteem: fluctuates with deep troughs and high peaks. Unsatisfactory to Acceptable.
Self-respect: fluctuates with deep troughs and moderate peaks. Concerns over hypocrisy. Unsatisfactory.
Acceptance: reasonably strong online, questionable offline. Acceptable to Satisfactory, but not fulfilling in the longer term at the current level.
Friendship: reasonably strong online, weaker than I would like offline. Acceptable to Satisfactory, but not fulfilling in the longer term at the current level.
Autonomy and independence: very variable - deep troughs and high peaks, though angst during even high peaks. Unsatisfactory to Acceptable.
Recognition and approval from others: perceived to be pretty strong in some fields, especially online, though weaknesses very evident. Extremely patchy and the strong fields are not perceived to compensate for the weak ones. Unsatisfactory to Acceptable.
Achievement: patchy - deep troughs and very high peaks. Acceptable to Satisfactory.
Conclusion: some strong areas, but troughs evidently extremely troubling. The fact that all of these are patchy at best makes this overall Unsatisfactory.
Knowledge: lots of knowledge which gives me great pleasure, desire for more. Satisfactory though never bounded.
Understanding: acknowledged to be patchy in major areas (social sciences, social skills) but very strong in others. Acceptable to Satisfactory.
Aesthetic appreciation: patchy, but non-zero and improving. Acceptable.
Self-fulfillment: extremely patchy - I can recognise both very deep troughs and very high peaks. Not really in a position to judge this.
Realising personal potential: again, extremely patchy - I can recognise both very deep troughs and very high peaks. Not really in a position to judge this.
Seeking personal growth: pretty strong on seeking, not huge on achieving it, but perceiving improvemnt. Satisfactory.
Peak experiences: there've been a few, haven't there? Acceptable to Satisfactory though never bounded.
Transcedence: I can think of a small but definitely positive number of ways in which I have achieved this in a small way. Acceptable to Satisfactory though never bounded.
Conclusion: patchy, but lots of positive experiences from which to draw. Lots of room for improvement and expansion, but many satisfying aspects and overall Acceptable to Satisfactory.
There was much more in the session, but I think this is a good point at which to draw this post to a close. Part two soon.