“Sailboat Metaphor”

Originally posted in our August 2021 Top of Mind Newsletter.

When thinking about establishing a new paradigm in the classroom, the topic of individual needs invariably comes up. Many of us have heard of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and it has almost shown as a pyramid.

But, the issue is, Maslow never designed this hierarchy as a pyramid. “Maslow emphasized that we are always in a state of becoming and that one’s ‘inner core’ consists merely of ‘potentialities, not final actualizations[.]'” This state of flux, constant growth and regression, is essential to understand. Not only because it shifts our perspective when developing others but also because it reframes how we meet our needs as facilitators.

So, Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., offers us a new way to think of human needs, like a sailboat.

“With holes in your boat, you can’t go anywhere. All of your energy and focus is directed toward increasing the stability of the boat. The human needs that comprise the boat are safety, connection, and self-esteem — security needs that, under good conditions, work together toward greater stability.”

Continue reading his updated metaphor to understand better how humans adapt to their situations. And, learn how changes in their situation affect the needs they are trying to meet.

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