A couple of days ago, Chasing The Points wrote about an experience of his, and included a reference to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Abraham Maslow, in his 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, proposed a 5 “level” hierarchy of needs for human beings. These ranged from physiological—basic breathing,food, water, sleep—to self actualization—morality, creativity, spontaneity.
So why does this matter for Manufactured Spend, Travel Hacking and Travel in general? Chasing the Points makes the proposes that if you’re doing MS or Travel Hacking, that you must be in the top 3 levels of the pyramid. I would submit that you need to be in the top 2 levels of the pyramid.
Why do I not include “Love/Belonging?” Because, it’s not applicable to MS. If you look at the larger perspective of travel, it *might* be relevant because MS and travel hacking could lead to travel home to see family, or elsewhere to see friends; we’ll leave the mile high club out of this.
But really when you break it down, those of us that are in the various “methods” and “tools” of manufactured spend, and travel hacking, are in them to travel (because if we weren’t, we’d just play the stock market or something).
So how can we equate Esteem to travel the tools we employ? For starters, Airline and Hotel status: for some, it is a huge self-esteem boost. Just think of yourself walking past all of those gate lice when they call Executive Platinums, or 1K status guests, of course the latter kind’ve lose that as they slink back to economy with the rest of the masses. More about esteem, let’s pull the thread of respect for others: When you get the opportunity to travel, whether it’s across the country or halfway across the world, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture. You gain respect for that new culture, and you grow because of it.
Morality: By your very experiences, you learn to see more than a single side of an argument or a situation. Pick for example, the Military; in the US we have fairly porous borders, but for a country like South Korea, the Demilitarized zone is one of the most fortified in the world. Japan’s constitution for example, forbids an offensive military, rather keeping to country to a standing “Self Defense Force.” Finally, in some Muslim countries, you may be awoken by morning prayer.
Creativity: When you MS, you are forced to be creative. The game is ever changing. When you try to book award travel, you must be creative; you must know what airlines fly what routes, and expertly help airline customer service representatives (CSR)’s identify specific flights, to stitch together that itinerary you want.
Spontaneity: Having miles and points allows us to call up an airline, award space available, and fly anywhere in the world (if your miles account is large enough). Having the flexibility to go where you want, is absolutely huge, and a level of freedom that, I’m not sure many get to experience.
Problem Solving: In MS, how many times do you have to enlist the Scientific Theory to figure out whether you need to hit the yellow button, or the red button, or to ask the cashier to input a different code? Or perhaps, the US Air CSR doesn’t, won’t book a particular flight because they think it leaves before your flight from Asia gets in; part of it is problem solving, part of it is social-engineering (which I’m not sure was acknowledged fully during Maslow’s time).
Lack of Prejudice and Acceptance of Facts: Travel allows such amazing opportunities, that you do reach, at times, a lack of prejudice, you accept that the countries in the Middle East treat women differently; you accept that Indians treat Cows differently, you accept these things, because they are part of their culture. They may or may not be right in your view, but at least make the attempt not to be prejudice in a foreign land.
Shifting back and forth
It’s important to note that one does not reach Self Actualization and stay there indefinitely; they may fall back to Esteem; they may fall even further back. Rather these are levels that represent where an individual may be in their level of needs at a particular time.
I will note, that this post ended up significantly different from when I started it, I was initially focused on using this as a discussion of those workaholics that we all know and love, and how disappearing for a week’s vacation to recharge the batteries, will not cause the world to end. But when I looked into it deeper, my thinking moved in a significantly different direction, as you see.
What do you think?