Hierarchy of Needs

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"I thought. I shouldn't have..."

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and looking at pictures posted by friends. Happy photographs of couples driving down to view sunsets, posing in front of lovely beaches, new homes that they had bought, fancy cars - You get the picture.

As I looked at these, I had a strange thought. A philosophical thought. A thought that I should not have had, now that I look back.

Most of us are working in some company - an MNC, a start-up or something that we are running ourselves. We work with the intent of earning money. We earn money so that we are able to lead a good life. But how do we define a good life? A life where we live in a comfortable house with amenities like a TV, refrigerator, air conditioning, washing machine and other gadgets like a home theatre system, computers, tablets among others. A good life also means that we own a car, travel to various places, eat out...

But we aspire for more. With a double income, we can earn more money. Many people move to another country where the earnings are in dollars. The quality of life, they feel, is much better in these countries. But it is not just that - Their savings in dollars translate to substantial savings in rupees. But what will they do with these savings? Purchase a bigger house, a better car or visit more places?

While these are certainly achievable, they don't seem like challenges after some time. Is this material gain our final goal?

Image result for maslow's hierarchy of needsThe question is - Then what? What are we working towards? I am aware of Maslow's hierarchy of needs - and for most of us reading this post, basic needs like physiological and safety are taken care of, and so are belongingness and esteem...

What remains is Self Actualisation - And it is not well defined. Should our goal be to earn so much money that it enables us to get everything up to Esteem needs out of the way so that we can focus on Self Actualisation? To pursue things that I like because I like them and not worry about things like the need for money to hold me back?

And how do we define that point? Is this the definition of early retirement? Should I sit and calculate my expenses for the next 40 years, and see how much I need to earn and create suitable investment vehicles to facilitate this? And then pursue 'Self Actualisation'?

And what does my 'Self Actualisation' entail? I guess that it will be different for different people... For some, it may be to see new places. For some, it may be to explore new ideas. For some, it may be philanthropy...

Perhaps I need to sit down and write things down. Or perhaps I am overthinking all this. Should we simply live our lives and go where it takes us? Or should we ponder about the purpose of life. I wonder how people perform these calculations :)


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