You’ve seen venn diagrams where several circles intersect, and that point of intersection yields a whole greater than its parts?
Imagine the circles in the venn diagram are labeled LIVE, LOVE, LEARN, LEGACY.
Where they intersect is where Maslow’s expansion of his famous Needs Hierarchy exists. Where they intersect sits something that includes and surpasses the original four. This place of intersection has the intriguing name, "the universal set."
Maslow’s original hierarchy is a pyramid.
- At the base are Physiological needs: Food, Clothing, Shelter.
- One level up is the need for Safety.
- Moving up, we find the need for Love and Belonging.
- Esteem-feeling valued for your talents and contributions - is next.
- At the original peak of the needs pyramid is Self-Actualization.
Maslow’s premise is that once one level is achieved, we are liberated to attain the next one up. So, once our bellies are full (1), we can entertain the thought of getting out of the alley(2). And once we have safe shelter, we graduate to the need to hang out with some people who “get” us (3 & 4). The apex used to be that once we feel valued, we are free to expand and express our own personal genius -- start that band, write that book, invent, initiate, inspire (5).
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that towards the end of his life, Maslow amended his Needs Hierarchy to include what he called a new “peak experience”. Now, Self-Actualization is not the crowning achievement of a lifetime, but rather SELF-TRANSCENDENCE.
Self-transcendence means getting beyond self -- living for a purpose higher than the self.
The author wrote about BIG PICTURE AWARENESS of our goals, challenging us to become transition agents- rather than transmission figures. I take this to mean that when setting our goals, the focus is not just on transmitting lots of information (ie. feature dumping or giving unsolicited advice), but on helping someone else transition from wherever they are to somewhere better. In short, before giving someone directions, listen for where they want to go.
I also jotted down this admonition: “Deal with roles and relationships in transformational, rather than transactional ways.”
An example: We can treat a waitress as her function -- as a robotic presence that performs a task in return for a tip -- OR we can express interest, show gratitude and add some joy to her day. Just to be clear, I’m not advocating showing interest instead of tipping! I’m talking about going beyond transaction -- I give to get, and progressing to transformation -- I give to potentially boost someone else up the Needs Hierarchy.
Another example: We can encourage someone to chase their dreams, or we can weigh in with how we might be inconvenienced by their choices. We’ve all met people whose primary concern is whether they’re being compensated in some way for what they are bringing to the relationship. Not that we should allow ourselves to be taken advantage of in relationships, but love and encouragement don’t function well as bargaining chips.
I see here that on page 130 of the “mystery book,” the author assures us that “We do make a difference one way or the other. We are responsible for the impact of our lives.”
I am responsible for the impact of my life. We all are. To make a difference on the plus side of the leger, we travel beyond mere transaction -- beyond the cocoon of self-gratification. We soar without counting the cost or presenting a bill, and in soaring, dry the wings of those around us so they can fly too.