AdVice Articles by Sam Harmon
The following article was published in Media Inc. Magazine
Four Fuels For The Soul
Nearly every professional and personal challenge can be clarified and ultimately solved by fulfilling only four basic needs. How cool is that? Challenges such as marketing directions, creative roadblocks, consumer stagnancy, communication breakdowns, business conflicts and even relationship issues are spawned from four basic needs. So without much deserved fanfare, here they are:
STIMULUS • VALIDATION • FAIRNESS • SECURITY
Yep, just plug in one or a combination of these four basic needs to any challenge and presto – you’ll be heading down the right path to Solutionopolis. Let’s take an extremely simplified look at each of the needs:
The fireworks in the brain. Without it, we gradually lose interest, get lethargic, become restless, and will eventually seek stimulus elsewhere. Stimulus grabs attention away from the norm. Stimulus reinvigorates consumer interest. Stimulus cures relationship boredom. Stimulus keeps staffs, clients, vendors and lovers interested and invested. Stimulus is: action, carnality, originality, transition, arousal, passion, reaction, impulse, spontaneity…
The fuel for the soul. Without it, self-worth is drained from our tanks, resulting in an unproductive state and/or a new search for acceptance. From courtship manipulation to gang initiations, the passion for belonging and acceptance has caused many a radical transition in behavior. We are reluctant to admit we need validation, but are amazingly and instantaneously changed when we get it. Make someone feel significant and make an ally. Discredit someone and make an enemy. Validation is: respect, honor, attention, appeal, kindness, politeness, love, intimacy, approval, credibility, acceptance, attraction, affection, spirituality, appreciation…
The level ground that keeps us stable and balanced. Without it, we feel used and will build resentments and seek equality. This little rascal is the root to an uncanny amount of conflicts. Every “well, you did that” and “you’re being hypocritical” response is fairness on the rebound. All too often, the primary challenge is not resolved and the hole is dug deeper because fairness has a sharp shovel. Fairness is: value, response, return, equality, peace, objectivity, reward…
The shield that protects us. Without it, we become vulnerable and defensive. Unlike stimulus, security is not something we really want to invest in, but feel an obligation to have. Security is: safety, protection, home, investments, stability, trust, companionship, future, employment, mortality, health, guarantees…
Although this breakdown of our basic needs is nothing new, we often forget or ignore their power. Yet, the exercise of slowing down, identifying the correct need and building an effective solution is full of time-saving rewards. I encourage you to keep these four basic needs in mind when searching for professional and personal solutions.
Another aspect of being aware of these 4 fuels is to consider when they are being used to manipulate you, too. Simply put, these are super-powers that can land in the wrong hands as easily as they can be used for the better. Keep in mind that these fuels are used aggressively in advertising, politics, religion, cults, etc… to entice and motivate people.
Personally, I’m fascinated with what motivates us to do the things we do and buy the things we buy. Please contact me with insights, enlightenment, input and/or questions on this invaluable topic.