Continuing with our series of needs and wants we move to the next level, which is social needs. Most of us are social beings, thus requiring some amount of interaction with others. The possibilities for fulfilling these needs are almost limitless. From the dinner table at home to international travel, only imagination and financial resources impose limiting boundaries. Some join country clubs, others volunteer their time and support to non-profit organizations; some do all this and more.
Some examples of social needs include love, belonging, acceptance and finding happiness. Having one’s social needs met also helps to avoid such issues as loneliness, melancholy, depression and anxiety.
Maslow states that in striving to become a self-actualized person, being helpful to others for the greater good will contribute to an overall feeling of intrinsic happiness.
Vignette: Happiness Found
Ron B., 53 years old, with no warning, was escorted from his desk to the parking lot. En route, the investment counselor was told that he was out of a job. Ron had many years of success in his field and his net worth was $1.7 million; he earned very high commissions. However, over time, impossible sales goals were set by his manager, which eventually led to his dismissal. Ron had a solid employment history as a seasoned financial professional and for years volunteered for community development programs. He made generous donations to multiple charities. And now, Ron was unemployed and distraught.
Ron is prayerful, and through self-reflection, felt that unemployment was just a temporary set-back. After consideration of his value system, he recognized that he would really like to work for an organization that helps people in need. A major part of his social interests is his desire to be socially responsible. To fulfill his self-determined need to be socially responsible he volunteered countless hours over several years working for institutions such as the United Way. He had effectively raised funds for non-profits and worked on community development issues. He was a good team player and enjoyed planning and organizing. All things considered, he decided that he would like to manage a not-for-profit organization. He pursued his interest and was hired by an organization within his community that could benefit from his expertise and network connections.
The pay is less, but the work has much more appeal and much less stress. Ron is a satisfied millionaire.
Remember, social needs and wants apply to almost every phase of life. Marketers are readily available to offer solutions for every interest. Social choices may include anything from athletic activities, to book clubs, to political action committee membership, to buying green products, to fashionable clothing, to electric cars, to elite club memberships, the list is endless. It is up to the consumer to decide on the most appropriate differentiation between need and want.
Part 4 in this series will address fulfilling our Esteem Needs.
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