Have you ever wondered why someone felt so distant or seemed so different than anyone else in a crowd? Have you ever wondered why you always seemed to struggle with some mundane task in your life while others seem to soar? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you need to sit back and evaluate your current situation and determine the best way to begin moving up through the various levels of life. Life is a series of levels, or steps, that lead to many different paths. Each step allows us the security and knowledge necessary to take on the next big step to bring us fulfillment on our path toward our vision.

--- The difference that makes the difference. ---

So many people are seen as weird or odd. Some people are seen as intimidating or gentle. Others are seen simply for their appearance, race, creed, or gender. However, many people present themselves for what they are not. Have you truly ever thought about why? Why do these people seem this way? It's not the color of our skin or our creed that differentiate us. It is what we've experienced in our life that brings out the difference in each other. Life exists in levels of knowledge and experience.

Life's levels vary from person to person. In many cases, people have experienced much in their short lives and have either succumbed to the pain or learned from the experience. Many have worked their way up through the levels to achieve satisfaction and the ability to pursue their desires and "do their own thing." It is the learning that takes us beyond what we are today into what we could be tomorrow. It is within our abilities to acquire genuine power as we grow, or present the pretense of power because we are not satisfied and cannot get to where we want to go.

--- What are these levels? ---

According to Abraham Maslow, our basic levels of life are defined by a "Hierarchy of Needs." He noted that there are a series of basic needs that all humans must satisfy. Once these basic needs are satisfied, additional needs can, and will, emerge. However, you cannot pursue these additional needs until the basic needs are met.

It is when one or more of these basic needs becomes disrupted or unsatisifed that you begin to feel stressed, unfulfilled, and unable to pursue your desires. It is when each of these basic needs is fulfilled that you can begin to pursue your life's vision. As listed, in order below, these needs include physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. Once these basic needs are met, only then can you continue down whichever the path of fulfillment you chose.

1. Physiological Needs: These are the most basic needs that we all require to exist, including: air, water, food, sleep, and sex. When these needs are not satisfied we may feel sickness, irritation, pain, or some type of discomfort.

2. Safety Needs: Safety needs focus on stability and consistency for ourselves in the outside world. We all require the security of a home and family. For example, safety needs sometimes motivate people to become religious because of the promise of a safe place after death.

3. Love Needs: Humans have a desire to belong to groups such as clubs, work groups, religious groups, families, or gangs. We need to feel non-sexual love by others and to be accepted by others---we need to be needed.

4. Esteem Needs: There is the self-esteem that results from competence or mastery of a task and the self-esteem from the attention and recognition that comes from others. This is similar to the belongingness level; however, the desire for admiration has to do with the need for power.

5. Self-Actualization: Self-actualization is the desire to ultimately become everything that you are capable of becoming. When you reach this point, you literally have everything. Once everything is secure and satisfying, you can then begin to seek knowledge, peace, aesthetic experiences, and self-fulfillment. This is the point at which you can achieve your personal goals and go after your vision.

--- Satisfying your needs. ---

Before you can chase your desires, achieving self-actualization, you must first satisfy the basic needs. But, to satisfy your basic needs, you must evaluate your position in the list of basic needs and determine how to satisfy them. Satisfying your needs can be anything from physical relocation to finding a new job or changing mates.

Satisfying your needs can occur in many different ways. Sometimes you're forced into it and, other times, you simply resolve them under your own control. It takes some evaluation of your current situation to accept and realize how to resolve these basic needs to move up in your levels of life. In my experiences, all of my basic needs were constantly shaken. Between the death of my parents to the destruction of my home by fire, I continued to find ways to resolve the problems that plagued my security and safety. Once I was able to become strong enough to overcome and achieve, only then was I able to feel the satisfaction that my basic needs were met.

--- What's next? ---

The reason so many people are stuck in one place in their life has to do with the fact that they have not satisfied the basic requirements of the hierarchy of needs. People who are in bad jobs, making barely enough money to make ends meet, are unable to move into the next level of love or self-esteem. They are stuck because they have not made it to a level that they can pursue their own desires.

Call it "rights of passage" or simply "getting out of the muck." Whatever you call it, you must be able to determine how to satisfy your most basic needs before you can ever reach a level to pursue your own, personal desires. Once you have satisfied the basic levels of existence and risen to the top of the ladder, you are able to move out into other areas of life that are important to you.

It is important to be able to satisfy your "needs" before you can acquire your "wants." Don't give up as there is a way to dig out and get to the top. You just have to evaluate your situation, make a plan, and determine how to make it happen for yourself.

Author's Bio: 

Edward B. Toupin is a writer and inspirational coach living in the Entertainment Capital of the World. He works with individuals to help them realize their potential and establish the directions that will bring them the most fulfillment. His upcoming e-book, "Align Your Life," provides insight into various aspects of life with some solutions to consider to help you move forward. Contact Edward at etoupin@toupin.com for more information.