The Key Ingredient for Your Quality of Life

You should know this man.  I am certain that he understood you in a more fundamental way than you may realize.  Find out why knowing this will be of immense importance to your future quality of life.

I Better Explain

I met the man in the picture when I was a sophomore in college. 

It was the late 60’s and my parents thought that I was away at College pursuing my opportunity to be a doctor.  In reality, I was in hot pursuit of changing the world.  My energies were involved with activities on behalf of civil rights and ending the war in Viet Nam.  My academic pursuits were less important than those social causes at that time, at least to me.

To meet my liberal arts requirements, I was required to take a course in Psychology, a subject that I believed at the time held little value for me.  In that course, I met Abraham Maslow, the man in the picture.  Well, I didn’t actually meet him, but I was exposed to what he described as our Hierarchy of Needs.  Learning this influenced me as though he was there on campus with me.  It held my attention in spite of my need to get out in the streets to protest.

He convinced me that after I, like you and everyone else, took care of my need to eat, drink, sleep and breathe, the next basic need that we all shared was shelter.  He defined that as equivalent to security.  He went on to explain:

“Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of pre-potency. That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal. Also, no need or drive can be treated as if it were isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other drives.” ― Abraham H. MaslowHierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation

In other words, each level of the pyramid (the Hierarchy) he described depends upon satisfying the lower level for its fulfillment.  If one level is not met or takes all of our capabilities to be met, then the higher, more personally fulfilling, levels will be neglected.  He expressed serious concern for our happiness:

“If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life. You will be evading your own capacities, your own possibilities.” ― Abraham H. MaslowThe Farther Reaches of Human Nature

OK, So What Does This Have to Do With My Quality of Life?

We all must satisfy our need for shelter/security if we hope to achieve our highest potential.  What Maslow called Self Actualization.

If you have read this far you are probably wondering what this has to do with your quality of life.  I regard this question as central to our living a fulfilled life in pursuit of our full potential.

I submit that if our housing needs are absorbing too much of our resources (e.g., time, money, etc.), then our ability to move up the pyramid will be compromised.  That is why obtaining affordable housing is more than an academic pursuit.  Affordable housing establishes the foundation we must have to fulfill our desire for love and belonging.  That sets the foundation for experiencing the self-esteem we all desire.  Having that we are free to fully activate our unique purpose.  I addressed this in some detail in two prior posts, here and here.

We are all forced to compromise on so many things in order to afford the housing that we feel we desire.  That forces us to sacrifice on the things that validate our potential on behalf of supporting our shelter.

No pyramid will survive if it is built on a foundation that is inherently weak.  What do you think?

Key Points:

  • Pursuit of your full potential is one of the most important elements of your attaining the quality of life that you desire
  • Consuming too many of your precious resources to meet your housing needs will weaken your ability to achieve all of your needs.
  • Obtaining the most useful kind of housing that is affordable for you must be deemed essential.

That Egghead is Stuck in His Ivory Tower

That brings me to discuss another person that appeared in my world at the same time.

I assume that you recognize this person, but if you don’t, please say hello to Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.

His appearance on the scene nailed the lid shut on the chest of ambition I was building when Abraham Maslow refined my college-based desire to live my life to my potential.

I am not referring to The Rolling Stone’s alignment with the free love and cheap pot that fueled my 60’s generation, although it didn’t hurt.  I am referring to the importance of the anthem of defiance and anger that was captured in the song that Keith Richards claims came to him in a dream, Gimme Shelter.

You Must Still Be Inhaling That Pot if You Want Me to Buy This

No, I am not smoking pot as I express that, particularly when urging you to pursue your highest quality of life. 

This was the anthem of the time when there was widespread anger and division in society.  When families, such as my own, were divided over social objectives.  When there was open protest and opposition to the person sitting in the White House and 10 Downing Street.  When all of the values that seemed acceptable were actively challenged.  When there was conflict in a distant shore that threatened our existence.  When crime was causing us to feel insecure.

That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?!  I am not talking about today either.

In the climate that disturbed our peace and our potential quality of life, this powerful anthem dominated our focus.  The words stirred us and brought our focus to one ideal – the need for shelter.

In the face of war, strife, angst, fear, and an uncertain future what is being screamed?  Gimme Shelter!!

Clearly Keith Richards was reading about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs before he went to sleep and dreamed about these lyrics.  Not likely!!

Key Points:

  • The desire for the security of shelter is our natural response to the most disturbing and uncertain of circumstances.
  • We should not ignore this basic desire, but we must remain mindful of its larger context.


There is no doubt that the focus and background of Abraham Maslow and Keith Richards could not be more dissimilar.  While one was an academic looking at the human condition through the studied lens of scientific analysis, the other was a musician that was expelled from school to pursue his musical ambitions.

We all share this same basic need to seek reasonable and secure shelter, just as my two college heroes did.  We all have been exposed to many conflicting streams of information about housing that influences our reaction to this fundamental human drive.

The important thing is that we determine to understand what housing is all about and make sound decisions based upon accurate information, rather than some emotional reaction to an urge in the absence of understanding consequences.  If you can do this it is more likely that your ultimate objective of enhancing your quality of life through the full expression of your potential will be attained.

The purpose of The Primer on Housing is to provide you with accurate information that will permit you to do this.  Whether you provide housing to others or, like all of us, seek it for yourself.  I am passionate about sharing truths with you.

What do you think?  Please do not hesitate to share your comments or ask your questions to focus my delivery of information.  

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