Learnings from NPR Feature on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

[This post was originally published on my self-hosted blog on August 8, 2016 at 12:02 am. Migrated to Medium on Jan 6, 2020.]

[Migrated from a personal Evernote entry from 8/7/2016.]

I just listened to an hour-long NPR podcast on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510298/ted-radio-hour). I spontaneously started listening to it on a subway ride back home, as I was kind of getting sick of listening to the same saved songs on my phone over and over again.

I eventually got really into the podcast and what they were talking about, so decided to take a walk around the Union Square area while listening. I ended up circling the square twice and walking up to the Flatiron district before finally coming back to the apartment on 10th. The whole experience took 1 hour, and tbh it was a really refreshing/pleasant experience. I got to block everything out and appreciate the environment more (took a bunch of pictures of beautiful buildings and the skyline). I decided to do this exercise much more often from now on, and bake it into my lifestyle as a routine (listening to a full podcast while taking a long walk in the city).

Anyways, the podcast introduced some really interesting concepts that I haven’t been exposed to before. The talk centered around Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and went through each layer of the pyramid one by one with concrete examples and an appropriate TED talk excerpt. I want to soak up the things I heard from this podcast and actually apply it to my life, so here’s an attempt to summarize everything into bite-sized pieces that I can look back to regularly and brainwash myself with:

  • Sleep is incredibly important yet hugely undermined in society
  • ^ It’s literally 38% of our lives, we should pay more attention to it
  • ^ A crucial part of sleep is restoration and memory allocation (connecting new nodes/info it’s gathered that day with already existing nodes)
  • ^ The ability to learn gets severely impaired with lack of sleep
  • ^ When mice are sleep deprived, most die from sickness rather than exhaustion
  • ^ Actionable: Perfect my sleeping environment — as dark as possible, cool temperature, consistent sleep schedule
  • Confidence / self-esteem is major key
  • ^ There is no limit to which your confidence/belief will technically take you
  • ^ Example: blind lady who didn’t know she was blind until 17, rode an elephant for 600 miles across India (lol wut)
  • Humans naturally belong in groups of 30–50. They go crazy when isolated.
  • ^ Experiment from the Iraq war followed a platoon during combat and showed that the “brotherhood” bond they shared between each other was unlike anything in civilian society.
  • ^^ Brotherhood love = placing the safety of your group above your own safety.
  • ^^ Fraternity brothers are actually operating under same philosophy (pledge = combat)
  • ^ When war veterans are asked (even those who are extremely traumatized by it), a lot of them say they miss “everything” about combat
  • Self-actualization / “Flow” (“Peak experience”, as Maslow calls it) = source of true happiness
  • ^ Once an individual reaches complete mastery of something (i.e. an instrument, art practice, exercise — typically after 10,000 hours), they experience utter/sheer/maximum joy while they are performing said activity.
  • ^^ They briefly enter a “state of trance”
  • ^^ Pretty evident when seeing passionate musicians perform (i.e. Acid Rain at Stanford)
  • ^^ Studies have shown this across artists, musicians, business executives, assembly line workers, herders

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