Monett Matters: Hierarchy of Needs

Each of us makes our way through this life by learning from our experiences and by guidance provided to us by people who inspire us. Reflecting back to my college days, more than 30 years ago, I can say that something I learned in a basic psychology class has become my most treasured guiding philosophy.

Who do you know that absolutely glows with joy, kindness, inspiration and success? Where have you been that you feel this walking down the streets? There is a tangible sense of these people and places, something that sticks with you. These are people who draw you in magnetically. These are places where you return to visit, time and time again, to find that feeling.

  1. H. Maslow theorized that human motivation is determined by their place in a “hierarchy of needs”. He explained that we develop and grow based on our needs being satisfied before we are able to experience true satisfaction. He expressed this as a five stage model based on needs. I’ll be quoting from an article I found at, because even though Maslow published this work in 1954, it seems as relevant today as ever.

As I approach my work with the City of Monett, and community development as a whole, I see a parallel between personal needs and community needs. Tell me what you think. Can you see a direct representation of these stages in your life and in your community?

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Step 1: Physiological needs: biological requirements for human survival, e.g., air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, intimacy, and sleep.

Step 2: Safety needs: people want to experience order, predictability, and control in their lives.

Step 3: Love and belonging: belongingness refers to a human emotional need for interpersonal relationships, affiliating, connectedness, and being part of a group.

Step 4: Esteem: include self-worth, accomplishment, and respect.

Step 5: Self-actualization: refer to the realization of a person’s potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth, and peak experiences.

A community is a network of people who represent every stage of this growth model. If we have these things available in our community, people feel good, they enjoy their experiences, and they help others. Conversely, if these things are not well represented, we can feel that something is missing, even if we can’t quite put our finger on it.

Look around you. Where do you see our community in this hierarchy of needs? To understand your community is to be aware of its strengths and weaknesses. And yes, to look for opportunities and threats. We need to hear that directly from you.

Recently, I wrote about our quality of life audit (survey), and I am asking you to take the time to complete all five pieces of this puzzle. Please take the time to help Monett become all it can be, so your life will be better by being here with us.