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What has Maslow’s hierarchy of needs got to do with COVID-19?

Hey folks, Dr Ro here. 

First of all sorry if I’ve been off the grid for a few days. As you know I generally do one or two live videos a day.

However, I have been somewhat preoccupied for the last few days and I’ve been wanting to share this with you because it became very self-evident to me that my personal circumstances were very much reflective of what Maslow talked about with his five hierarchy of needs that he created.

The model is called the hierarchy of needs and there are these five needs within the hierarchy.

I hope you’re all well, keeping safe, keeping distance and looking after your health and if you’ve had a chance to watch some of the previous lives and hopefully the Seekardo interview we did about a week ago, which has had a lot of great feedback.

So thank you for those of you that took the time to watch that.

I’ve got a triangle here which I’m about to explain in just a moment, which is essentially a simplified version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I just wanted to share with you the current situation I’m in.

We literally came to the end of a short-term tenancy about three days ago and our house has been under renovation for about eight and half to nine months.

There’s been a whole set of circumstances in my world that has turned it upside down, spun it around, thrown it upside down again.

On top of that covid-19 comes along as well and it’s made it a very, very challenging period. Whatever happened though I had to make sure that we as a family, I’ve got a five-year-old and an 11-year-old and my other half, the four of us got back into our home.

Which is basically still a building site due to the circumstances with coronavirus between ourselves and the builders we made a decision that it was really best thing to do for them not come to site.

We’ve only had a few people just working on the external part of the house and it happens to be a few family members that live together and they do external works and that’s it.

And one person’s coming in and he has been doing some tiling inside the house whilst we’ve not been there, so everything shut down, but what it meant was the house was not finished and not habitable. 

I want to share with you this, so Maslow came up with this theory which has really become and if you go and you live on a day-to-day basis and you understand what this is you will see how we as human beings flow in and out of the hierarchy of needs.

I want to share with you how the coronavirus situation has thrown us into very specific elements of this.

It shows you when human beings are under pressure, when human beings are exposed to something that puts a lot of pressure on them we will naturally revert to this.

If you’ve never studied this before let me explain what Maslow shared with us, he said P,S,L,B,E and S, A. I’ll explain what they stand for.

P stands for physical needs, what Maslow said every single human being no matter how wealthy you are, how poor you are financially, no matter what your circumstances, we all have a basic set of physical needs.

We need to feed ourselves; we need to clothe ourselves, we need to stay alive, we need to breathe, we need to drink water. We have certain things we have to do, we have to keep a roof over our heads.

Those are our physical needs, that’s really about us being able to survive.

That’s the basic human need that all of us have if you found yourself in a situation like some people have found in the last two, three, four weeks, where we’ve got people on the street here.

Other people have been left homeless, there’s a massive need to help so many people out and that’s at the top of the pyramid. Every single human being yourself included watching this will have your physical needs and that means you’ve got to eat.

You’ve got to protect your family. That means you’ve got to make sure there’s enough food and everything. 

So when we had the announcement that coronavirus was starting to spread as quickly as it was and everyone started to panic, what did they do? If you remember there was a rush from the supermarkets so people went down and got toilet roll, a basic human need.

Obviously for the average person it was like the obvious thing to do, go get toilet roll, get food. The shelves were just cleared and people said oh my gosh what if we get locked down?

What if we need to live in our house for the next two to three weeks, we’ve got no frigging food whatsoever. 

This is where Maslow’s hierarchy of needs come straight in. This is where the majority of the population have been living in this first week or so, literally, how do I survive?

How do I make sure my family is safe and I survive? That’s the physical needs that he talked about.

The next one is safety or security that means that you’ve got your physical needs met and now this is really about you having financial security, having a job or career. Security in the sense of making sure that you can afford to keep paying your house, so you’re looking after your mortgage payments. You feel safe in terms of you don’t want to have your family threatened. 

Having fed yourself and got your basic needs met, the next thing is okay what do we need now? Have to keep the roof over our head, get to keep the money coming in, make sure that I’m feeling safe. human needs.

So our basic human needs get met by the physical but then the safety as well, so this is number two. 

If you look at what’s been happening and interesting to see how many of you relate to this. One and two is where I think most people have been living.

For example as soon as the government made their announcements there was an initial shot and people started to go, I need to get food. Then it was like, what about my job? How am I going to get paid? 

The tradesmen working in our house look at the profession I’m in and we go speaking. I go out and get paid for speaking yes, I’ve got properties they bring an income in but that’s also been affected as well. 

What I’m trying to say is, make no mistake, every single one of us, all of us, myself included, all of us right now because of the shock that’s happened this is our first natural place that we go to.

This is what Maslow talked about every single human being has physical needs and the need for security, and at the moment over the next few months what the government are doing for example, is they’re trying to take measures to help keep people in their jobs, supporting their finances, making some grants for companies, helping out with mortgages. All of that sits here. 

What Maslow taught us was that on a day-to-day basis we have to meet these. Now we get hit by something that is global and is affecting every element of our life, our health potentially at risk right through to financials. So anybody that has property or anyone that has a business, of course these will still be affected. That’s why the whole nation is coming together at the moment. It’s fascinating to watch when you look at the human psychology behind it.

Element B is what he referred to as everyone needs to be loved or sense of belonging. We are all doing that naturally as a course of us basically, in our families, so most people are pulling together.

But frankly, if you can’t feed yourself and you don’t feel secure that puts a lot of stress on this side. In a lot of families there are disputes going on, people falling out, other people are getting closer. You will not get to a strong sense of bonding with other people if you’re still drowning, which is why so many people are going through some really big frigging emotional shifts at the moment.

Until this gets stabilised and I was speaking to someone today and he is not sure he is going to have an income in about three weeks’ time. He said what do I do?

I’ve fallen through the cracks and the government business model they’re talking about possibly self-employed getting £5000, £2,500 whatever the figure is in maybe May or June. But we don’t know yet. Again lots of challenges here. 

Maslow said we need to have a sense of our ego being fulfilled; we need to feel like we’re recognised by other people. Significance is another word for that however you want to put it.

We want to feel a sense of importance. But if you notice, most people’s sense of importance right now is slid right back down to here. 

This is where anger comes in. What someone will do is they’ll get angry with the government for not reacting, angry with the company for not paying us or whatever, so they tend to get their sense of importance or sense of significance in here and that whole side of our ego tends to spring off here.

But quite frankly, for most people if you look at the way the world is reacting at the moment we are down here.

Then we get to S, A and it does not stand for South Africa. It stands for self-actualised and that means giving on beyond yourself. That means the ability to give, to grow, to give to charity.

The theory was and it stands in most circumstances, as Maslow described it, is if you’ve got your physical needs met the security and the safety net, your finances are in a good place, good connection with family around you. You have a sense of importance, you feel like your ego’s been met, etcetera significance.

Then  typically what happens is people tend to want to give beyond themselves. Now that’s charity but what we’re seeing is and I find it amazing, I would say that is where a lot is happening at the moment.

If I look at covid-19 at the moment we’re seeing one and two playing out massively. I went down to the supermarket today and there were massive queues there, still people are nervous about this, but we are also getting a large percentage of people now wanting to go and help the elderly because of the risk of life.

Their life is being threatened, which means the elderly’s life is being threatened down here by other people even though we might be struggling or trying to find our own footing, we’re doing something to help other people. 

It’s fascinating to see the top and the bottom of the pyramid actually being really played out in this situation with coronavirus. On a personal level I want to share with you, I literally had to go off grid.

I had people calling me to do with my business and just a whole load of stuff going on. I’ve just got back to people and said I’m sorry just leave me alone for two, three days as I’m down here. 

We were basically homeless from the 31st of this month. We had nowhere to live, so I had to take all my possessions back to a half-finished house. No finished bathroom, the heating was on thankfully in part of the house.

We just got a tiny little area set up with the sink in the kitchen and a washing machine, no surfaces. The kitchen is not made up apart from a few units, so we literally had to drag the kids back into some concrete floor here. Dust is frigging everywhere and we’ve polyethene stuff off, tried to use vapour barriers on the ceilings because we’ve got insulation going on.

All I could do for the last three days was that, just focus on our physical needs, looking after my family and making sure they’re okay. I thought to myself I reverted right back to that core need that every single human being has. You have to put something in place to protect your family and that’s what I was doing for the last couple of days.

As much as I wanted to send a message out to everybody and say hi and keep this stuff happening, I couldn’t do it because that meant that I had to break that pattern probably go here below and yes, I can go help and maybe serve a message, I had to stay focused. 

Thankfully the kids are in, the roof is over our head and we had our first meal last night and they bedded down. They slept okay. There is still stuff going on, of course, and we had someone in tiling today to finish off an area so we can get a toilet fitted properly, etcetera but we’re okay. 

It all plays out, this whole human psychology if you really study it, watch yourself, watch your own reaction to what’s going on in the world outside.

You will be behaving somewhere in this hierarchy of needs and I think it’s a chance to emotionally develop, a chance to grow through it and hopefully you might even take some of this insight to share with other people.

Because sometimes when people are drowning you just give them a slightly different perspective on things they can learn from it.

It’s Saturday so you’re either going to be curled up with your loved ones watching tv tonight, reading a book or doing something. So I wish you luck with that. 

I am going to finish off bringing some stuff back from the office here, cupboards and things like that. We are going to be taking that back to the house. Enjoy the rest of the weekend everybody.

I’ll send some more messages out next week and it’s nice to see a few of you watching, big love to all of you watching tonight, take care.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, covid-19, direct connection.

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