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Achieve your full potential: the “pyramid of needs”

Have you ever wondered what we mean by our front page motto: “Achieve you full potential with Cambridge Tutoring”? This idea of achieving your full potential comes from a psychological idea called “pyramid of needs”. Its inventor, Abraham Maslow, tried to understand where humans get their motivation from. In other words, why do people do the things they do? He explains that people are motivated by five different categories of needs, or desires.




The first category of needs are the physiological needs: we all need food, water, oxygen, a warm room, and sleep to survive. The second are safety needs: we all need to be safe from physical harm (dangerous animals or criminals) and psychological harm (verbal aggression, bullying). We also need the safety provided by good health, and some form of work and money to live a decent life.


Once these basic needs are satisfied, we move up the pyramid to the third needs: love and belonging. All humans, being social animals, crave to belong to various communities. We need to give and receive trust and affection from our family, friends, lovers, and have contact with other social circles (work, hobbies). This also includes practising a religion and belonging to a religious community.


Moving further up to more “difficult” needs, we find the need for esteem. This means being respected and recognised by others, feeling important and strong, and enjoying a good status. This is connected to leadership: being good at what you do and inspiring others to be good too. Unfortunately many companies trick us to believe that these esteem needs can be satisfied simply by buying expensive items: they tell us that we can be respected and have good status if we have an expensive car or gadget, but we know that this is superficial (we are never fully satisfied because we always want “more stuff”).


Finally, at the top of the pyramid is the most difficult need to achieve: “self-actualisation”. Self-actualisation means that to be happiest, people need to realise their full potential, in other words, to be the most of what they can be, and their own, unique way. For example, if you are interested and gifted in music, you want to learn to play your instrument as well as you can, express your creativity as much as you can, and perform at the highest level. At this point, your work, your passion, and your personal development become the same thing, and you are truly happy.


This is what we aim for in our students at Cambridge Tutoring. Do you agree with us that humans have no limits for self-improvement and can achieve "self-actualisation" once they have a growth mindset (see our first post), build self-confidence, and receive tailored tutoring from inspirational mentors?