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Human nature is rather diverse, although there are some common traits that explain people's deeds and actions. Everything that people do has a certain kind of motivation and is provoked by underlying emotions even in the situations when a person herself does not clearly know what they are. Motivations, otherwise called human needs, shape a certain kind of behavior in people. Thus, the aim of this paper is to study people's motivations by analyzing real life situations and to explore the main ideas of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Motivations to Human Behavior in Real Life Situations

Understanding how people think and what exactly stimulates them to perform certain actions is quite a challenging process. However, knowing the hierarchy of human needs and motivations developed by respectable scientists such as Maslow helps people get the insight of motivation (McLeod, 2007). Quite often certain deeds cannot be explained with only one motivation because they can be approached from different points of view. Thus, it is important to estimate the situation from every approach in order to find out what has motivated an individual.

Motivation and human needs can be studied on the example of real life situations. First situation that will be researched is the case of a crying baby. The main motivation that a baby has when starts to cry is connected to the most basic level of needs physiological needs. A baby might want some food, sleep, warmth, etc. However, other levels of needs such as security and social needs can also explain the baby,s behavior. Hence, a baby might be scared of something and would be seeking for security and love by attracting attention of its family.

The case of a famous actress adopting a child has a couple of underlying motivations the most obvious of which is connected to the esteem needs. The actress would expect the publicity to appraise her adopting a child as a high accomplishment and a good deed. Hence, her motivation is to increase her reputation and probably self-esteem through being recognized and approved by the society. Additionally, the actress might be adopting a child in order to create a family to satisfy her social needs. Moreover, her decision might be influences by a need in self-actualizing. She can see an act of adopting a child as the way to personal growth and development by taking some responsibilities she would not normally have.

Motivations that influence a student to study hard for her exam are based mainly on self-actualizing and cognitive needs stimulating her to develop her intellectual abilities, personality, and enabling her personal growth. Moreover, it can be connected to esteem needs since she would want to be recognized by her family and friends. Additionally, by studying hard the student might be trying to make her family accept and love her more by demonstrating her diligence and worth. In this case, she would be motivated by social needs.

A congressman who runs a campaign for election is motivated by esteem and self-actualizing needs by making people accept and recognize him, and ensuring personal growth. He is also motivated by the most basic needs, because having a status of a congressman will enable him to satisfy his and his family's physiological and security needs providing them with food, a safe house, and a safe country that is a purpose of his work as a congressman.

In the situation of drivers who have created a very slow traffic on one side of a highway to see the accident on the other side, they are motivated by safety needs because they would be thinking about their own safety when looking at the accident. Moreover, they are stimulated by cognitive needs since the main factor is their curiosity and a wish to get some information about the accident. Receiving information leads to the increase of their knowledge.

A person climbing Mount Everest would be motivated with self-actualization, aesthetic and esteem needs. Reaching the top of the mountain is considered as a personal achievement and growth that the person is after. Moreover, the person might want to become famous or recognized by people from his surrounding by doing so. Additionally, some people decide to climb a mountain in search for balance and to admire the beauty.

Application of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

People often argue whether Maslow's approach includes the full range of motivations and needs different people have in various circumstances. I think that Maslow's theory is quite reasonable and can be applied in various situations, although there are some points that can be argued. For instance, I believe that the hierarchical order in which Maslow placed the levels of needs might be not always correct. For example, his theory does not explain why a poor artist who does not have enough food to eat and a nice house to live in would strive for beauty (aesthetic needs), self-development, and esteem needs. According to Maslow, these needs are supposed to arise only after basic physiological and security needs are satisfied.

Another quite common example when Maslow's theory fails is connected to famous and successful people. Quite often they do not have perfect understanding from their families or do not have families at all. Nevertheless, they gasp for being popular, having influence and power, and being able to develop their personalities. These are the needs of a higher rank comparatively to social needs which include having a family and loved ones (Ward, Lasen, 2009).


Thus, the motivation theory suggested by Maslow can be applied in the majority of cases, although sometimes it fails. Every action can be explained with different motivations and needs that quite commonly are combined in order to explain a person's behavior from different points of view. However, motivations do not necessarily have the order or hierarchy suggested by Maslow.

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