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Sense and non-sense of the pyramid of Maslow

Abraham Maslow has never drawn a pyramid that is what other people made of it later. The pyramid suggests a priority in the human needs. It seems that urgency is mixed up with importance. Of course, "breathing" is more urgent than "security of resources" or "achievement" but all are equally important. More recent studies learned that "higher" needs of the pyramid can occupy the mind fully even when "lower" needs are not fulfilled. Psychiatrist Victor Frankl discovered, when he was prisoner in concentration camps during world-war II, that "a contribution yet to make" was one of the most important reasons for survival. It is commonly agreed that the items in the Maslow model are of relevance for human existence but the sequence the pyramid indicates is very doubtful.

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Be selfish and good to anybody else

Just like in an airplane, you have to help yourself first before you can help other people. In daily life it is not different. You can only be of use to others, or to your company, when you are in good shape. In other words, when you took care for yourself first, physically as well as mentally. Physical self-care is quite obvious but for mental self-care it is usually more difficult. It is not in our nature to disappoint people, therefore saying “no” when somebody needs help is not easy. Nonetheless, when you are not capable to help another you have to think about yourself first. Simply for the sake of survival. If you ignoring yourself, you will ultimately need help from others. This is okay for a while but ultimately fulfillment comes from serving other people, not the other way around. If you want to learn more about personal leadership join the ESD 2019 workshops

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Never give up! Really?

If you work towards a goal you will face adversity. For many people this will be so demotivating that they will stop and, of course, will never reach their goal. The saying "never give up" is there to keep you going even when things are not running smoothly. But is it really smart to keep going? Beating a dead horse doesn't make much sense. Is it then better to stop? The main question is: how do you know when to stop or to persist? The answer is simple but not easy. Continue as long as you believe in it. When there is still a small voice inside that makes you believe you can do it, continue. You might change your practices but don't lose focus on the main goal. Whenever you lost all your hopes, quit. Because then your enthusiasm is gone and you are doomed to lose. When this happens it is time to take a step back, rethink your purpose in live and set new goals that make you tick and go for it. Join the ESD 2019 workshops if want to learn about live purpose goal setting.

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Is there a limit to well-being?

Referring to the second last quote. In contrast to welfare, it seems that there is a limit to well-being. Research shows that well-being even decreased the last 10 years. Why? Most likely because of the value-principle. We will appreciate something if there was related adversity. Similar as for a voltage, there is a only a ‘plus’ if there is also a ‘minus’. Otherwise ‘plus’ loses its meaning. Naturally, we are trying to avoid misfortune. Ironically, we need it to reach fulfillment. For example, by protecting our children for misfortune we actually take away the opportunity for fulfillment. That brings us effectively down. We can achieve greater and greater results, that we call welfare, but the associated mental pressure and risks also increase, limiting our well-being. This knowledge might shift your paradigm towards truly, not faked, happy people. What difficulties did they went through? If you want to further elaborate, join the ESD 2019 workshops starting soon.

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What we want badly, we believe easily

What we want desperately occupies our mind fully. It is like milk in a cup of coffee. The milk distributes uniformly through the entire cup. Even so, what is on our mind keeps us busy in every thought. First of all, this makes it difficult to concentrate on something else. You might have found yourself in such situation at work. Secondly, all we see and hear that matches with our thoughts is something we easily believe. We are susceptible for inputs that support our thoughts. This is exactly why spam pays-off for the spammers. Assume you send a million emails, a small percentage of the recipients will have their minds on that subject and might believe in what you offer, even if it is false information. Commercials work likewise. It is our challenge to see things in perspective which is especially tough in such moments. Want to know more? Join the ESD 2019 workshops starting soon.

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Welfare versus Well-being

Through the ages, our welfare increased significantly, but are we also happier? People still suffer from stress. Stephen Covey learned us that a person is four dimensional; body, mind, heart and spirit, He calls that the whole person paradigm. To date, we have access to so many material stuff, that is important but it concerns only one dimension. The spirit means that we want to contribute. Therefore, creating a better welfare can be more exciting than having it. Furthermore, the eagerness to discover new things is one of our natural drives, this is the dimension of the mind. Since we are emotional beings we need to interact with others. We want to let our heart speak. This explain why personalization is such a hot topic for personal devices and websites. If you want to learn more about who we are and how to work towards goals, register now for the ESD 2019 workshops starting in a few weeks.

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Your attitude affects quality of life and work

When we are not in control it means that things can happen which are not in line with our choices. This will create frustration and often leads to a feeling of being powerless. There are situations that you have to accept this because it is nearly impossible to fighting against something far beyond your reach, such as bureaucracy of huge organizations. In small companies similar behavior can also be observed. Employees have to follow strict rules and are not empowered to take decisions, not even within their own responsibilities. People become passive and the joy in work decreases. Being in control does not mean absolute freedom. Goals and guidance are required to make meaningful contributions. Freedom of choice within someone's expertise results in fulfillment and happiness.

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We are happy to the extent we are in control

When we are not in control it means that things can happen which are not in line with our choices. This will create frustration and often leads to a feeling of being powerless. There are situations that you have to accept this because it is nearly impossible to fighting against something far beyond your reach, such as bureaucracy of huge organizations. In small companies similar behavior can also be observed. Employees have to follow strict rules and are not empowered to take decisions, not even within their own responsibilities. People become passive and the joy in work decreases. Being in control does not mean absolute freedom. Goals and guidance are required to make meaningful contributions. Freedom of choice within someone's expertise results in fulfillment and happiness.

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You need to see problems before you can solve it

So often I hear from the people around me that the organization they are working in is not running smoothly. People don't have the freedom to take initiatives, opportunities are missed and business is not like it could be. Why is it that these issues are not solved? In almost all cases, leaders don't see the problems or don't understand the root cause. They are not able to apply the necessary changes. Sometimes there might be an awareness of a problem but simultaneously anxiety about the consequences of change. Then it appears that the leaders are not willing to change. Significant improvement can be made when there is an inspiring goal, communication to help each other "see" and the freedom to act within responsibilities. This separates the great from the good companies.

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The ends pre-exist in the means

By the way a project is executed and the means that are available, one can predict more or less what the outcome will be. It is interesting to see the culture difference between the USA and Europe. In the USA a start-up gets often millions of investment money and the results is that successful ones grow big and fast. In Europe it is more difficult to get a large amount of investor capital and as a result, the growth goes much slower. The same principle applies to your own activities. If you want to achieve great results you need to have access to the proper means. This is not only money but also clear goals, knowledge, skills, motivated team, work procedures and modern technology. How well you are set up determines to a large extent the ends that can be reached.

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