17 June 2015

Our Needs

One day we were all chatting in the main hall. One of my 10 year old niece was studying for her school homework.

My brother casually asked her, "Why are you studying so hard?"
She replied, "So I can get good marks"
He playfully continued, "Why do you need good marks?"
"So I can get to a good college"
"Why do you need to go to college?"
"To get a job"
"Why do you need a job?"
"To earn money"
"Why do you need money?"
"I'll buy lot of jewelries"
"Why do you need jewelries?"
"I'll wear and show them off to my friends and all"

Though we all laughed by her answer, later I thought about how much we live for the opinions of others and how much we care about our reputation. Apart from our basic needs (food, water, shelter, etc.), how much we struggle for our status, fame and power.

Maslow's 'Our hierarchy of Needs' describes humans needs and how it evolves hierarchically. There is also a simpler commonsense model with three elements: Health, Wealth and Love. I designed the following diagram using this simple model for my nieces to give them some idea about 'Our Needs' and the purpose of studying.

(Click the image to see it in a bigger view)

I described it to my nieces in the following order:
  • Three basic needs of our life: Health, Wealth, and Love [shown in the middle row]. And each one has two sides to it: External and Internal [shown in one row above is External and below is Internal]
    1. Health => External -> Physical Health. Internal -> Mental health.
    2. Wealth => External -> Hard and Soft wealth. Internal -> Skills, expertise, mental capabilities.
    3. Love => External -> Family, friends and relationships. Internal -> Self compassion and spirituality.
  • How each elements and sides are connected together and depended on each other...
  • How we are often focused on the External sides, forgetting the importance of the Internal sides (as the External sides are easily visible)...
  • How we face many challenges to meet our needs ["Our Challenges" section]... How our challenges can be our powerful inspiration and motivation...
  • How we have our own individual biases and preferences ["Our Biases" section]... 
To me, this is about planting seeds in their young minds and it doesn't matter how much they can understand it now. This is nothing to do with how much we have or we have achieved or we will achieve. This is simply about having some awareness so we set our priorities mindfully.

Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. -- Dalai Lama

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