The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs

We took a Psychology 101 class together in 2007 at Wofford College. During our most recent attic purge, we stumbled across some of our old college binders. One of the ideas we studied was Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, outlined in his influential 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation.

In college, our physical, security, and social needs were met, but we were in a transitional stage of life; a bridge between childhood and adulthood. Over the past decade, we have drifted up and down Maslow’s pyramid, moving as high as the fourth level and falling back down to the first. The life we chose as entrepreneurs offers rewards from hard work, but does not come without its fair share of ebs and flows in and out of security.

The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs

College or university is a time to process complex thoughts and spend time exploring the top levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy to better understand which direction to take in life. We have learned paths change, needs change, but consistency of purpose remains. The minimalist lifestyle is alluring, but through experience, we realized a modern minimalist lifestyle is more realistic in day to day life. As we continue our life journey, it is helpful to have a road map to follow. This is the first brick on the path we are paving and we are happy to share it with you.

TMM Heirarchy of Needs

Be Healthy

The first level in The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs is to Be Healthy. Maslow recognized the need for air, water, food, rest, health. Through a disciplined pursuit of less, the Modern Minimalist values the quality of physiological elements:

  • Pure, clean, chemical-free air
  • Clean water
  • Organic and preservative-free food
  • Quality, adequate rest
  • Physical, mental, emotional, financial, social, spiritual health

Make a Home

The second level in The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs is to Make a Home. In the original Hierarchy of Needs, this is called security and recognizes the need for safety, shelter, and stability. We believe an intentional home (not just a house) provides the security we need. The challenge is to, as the old adage goes, make a house a home.

Love Your Tribe

The third level in The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs is to Love Your Tribe. Maslow identified the social need to be loved, find belonging and inclusion. Speaking of social, we’ve seen “Find your tribe. Love them hard.” plastered all over social media, and for good reason. It resonates with people. We all want to belong, so keeping consistent with our social media theme, “Stay close to people who feel like sunshine.”


The fourth level in The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs is to Celebrate. Admit it, in the last 80 years, “ego” has developed a primarily negative meaning. This does not mean the need for self-esteem, power, recognition, and prestige does not exist. It absolutely does, but if we examine ego in a positive light, we realize at the most basic level, people want to be celebrated. So, celebrate.

Pave a Path

The fifth level in The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs is to Pave a Path. In his original paper, Abraham Maslow outlined Self-Actualization as the superior need to be fulfilled in human life. He taught one must achieve each of the four levels below before experiencing a need for development and creativity. We translate this into paving a path. Create something you wish existed. This can be achieved outside of work, which arguably provides the means to fulfill the first and second levels in the pyramid, or through your primary career contributions if you have found a job that truly provides a vessel to live out your passions.

Leave Your Mark

The sixth level in The Modern Minimalist Hierarchy of Needs is to Leave Your Mark. In the years that followed Maslow’s original work, he added an apex to his pyramid. Self-transcendence, or a sense of meaning, became the pinnacle. We are all on a journey to become the best version of ourselves, contribute at the maximum level to society, and find meaning in life. True happiness is a byproduct of a meaningful life. Find meaning in your life and share with others by leaving your mark.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

For those of you who might need a refresher on Mr. Maslow and his original pyramid:

Maslow's Hierarcy of Needs
Source: Psychology Today


Elizabeth + Jason

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s