Why do we do what we do?

What Should We Do?

Why do we do what we do?

To satisfy our needs and wants


Have you ever wondered why do we do what we do? Perhaps not. I think many of us do not even think about it. Some of you may say does it matter as I am still going to do what I want to do. I believe if we are conscious of the reasons why we make the decisions we make, we may do things differently and we may understand and appreciate why others behave the way they do. At the end of day, we live our lives to satisfy our needs and wants.

The Maslow hierarchy of needs has categorized the human needs into five areas, physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Maslow put these needs in a hierarchy in that once humans satisfy the lower need, they move to the next level and so on and so on.

Physiological needs

The physiological needs are considered the most important needs. These involve the need for air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, and reproduction. These are basic human needs. Some of us cannot progress unless these needs are met. Therefore, we work so we can have money to pay for food, shelter and clothing. If you encounter someone who asks you for food, help them. Some people are so desperate they will do anything to meet these needs. We must have adequate sleep, water and food so that we can function, survive and focus properly. 

Safety needs

The safety needs cover the need for personal security, employment, resources, health, and property. People want to feel safe, so they live in a certain area, they hired a security company, they build walls, and they have cameras. People purchase insurance to cover their health, life and homes in the event something happens, they are covered. Of course, some people do not see the need, they rather save and take the risks.

Love and belonging needs

Love and belonging needs involve friendship, intimacy, family and sense of connection. We were not created to be by ourselves. When God created Adam, he saw the need for companion, friendship and family and so God created Eve. Furthermore, God wants us to love one another. Many people feel unloved and as a result, they join different groups. Why do you think some people join gangs? They have a sense of love and belonging. Some people are very lonely, and they make the decision to get in a relationship. Some people also feel loved and want to spend the rest of their lives with their partner and so they get married and start a family.

Esteem needs

The esteem needs involve respect, self-esteem, status, recognition, strength, freedom. I can resonate with this need and as result I suffered from inferiority complex for many years. Thankfully my esteem needs are met, and I am full of confidence.

Some people behave the way they behave because they either feel good or don’t feel good. Some people are looking for attention and they will do what it takes to get it. Some people also just want respect and to be recognize for what they have done.

Self-actualization needs

Self-actualization needs involve the desire to become the most one can be. I believe everyone should aim to become the best they can. This is why some people see the need to go to college so they can get the knowledge they need. Of course, some people don’t see the need and don’t go. The important thing is that you are trying your best to be the best. Some people want the best for their children, so they enroll them in the best schools.


Personally, I don’t think you have to satisfy one level of Maslow hierarchy of needs to proceed to the next level. However, Maslow hierarchy of needs is a significant step in explaining why we do we what we do. Interesting though, is that some people do what they do based on what was passed from generation to generation.

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