givers and takers
~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD ~
I am not going to say, “There are two kinds of people …” and then set up a polarization. But I will re-iterate a basic principle in Self-Actualization Psychology and say this, “There are two levels of experience regarding human needs. There is the dimension of the lower or deficiency needs and there is the dimension of the higher or abundance needs.” Those who live their lives predominantly at the D-needs feel deficient of the key requirements or ingredients and so strive to get what they need whether it is food, water, shelter, money, sex, safety, stability, control, love, affection, connection, bonding, recognition, dignity, etc. They feel needy, they are needy, and so they reach out to fulfill their needs.


Those who have learned how to generally and basically gratify their D-needs by learning how to cope with them, or better yet, to master those life-requirements (“needs”) will tend to live their lives at the higher dimension of needs. They will live seeking the uniquely human needs which Maslow called the B-needs (B for being). These are the needs for knowledge, meaning, justice, equality, beauty, music, order, contribution, wisdom, humor, making a difference, excellence, etc. these are the “needs” that when you gratify them, they do not go away but on the contrary, grow and expand.

B-Needs Start

Unlike the D-needs, which when you gratify them go away, the higher abundance and self-actualization needs keep expanding. I commonly say that they reflect “the more—the more” pattern in contrast to “the more—the less” pattern of the lower needs. In these needs, a person experiences more and more and more—hence, abundance. Having so much more knowledge, meaning, beauty, music, love, order, humor, etc., these people have so much more to give. That makes them givers. By contrast, the D-people are takers. They need, they lack, they feel deficient, so they take, they get.

Here then is a way to think about the dimension of experience in which you live.

As long as you do not have accurate mental maps for understanding the human condition of the requirements (needs) for living and thriving and having the developed skills for coping with those requirements, you live in the deficiency dimension. As long as these lower needs do not go away, you need. So you passively wait for others to give to you.
When you figure out how to basically gratify those needs, your ability to cope effectively with them means that you are now “getting by” and when that happens, then something else wonderful happens. New needs emerge. The next level of needs emerge in your awareness and so you move up the hierarchical nature of the human needs. This continues until you move through the survival, safety, social, and self needs—the “animal” needs because even the higher intelligent social animals needs these things.

Becoming A Giver

Now you are able to begin to live in the dimension of abundance, of being, of non-instrumental living. Because this is the arena of self-actualization, it is here that you begin actualizing your highest values, meanings, beliefs and make them real in terms of best performances. Now you are on the human becoming adventure. Now you are beginning to live in the B-dimension where you have Being-cognition, Being-values, Being-relationships, etc. Now you become a giver.
Living in the self-actualizing dimension and as a giver—you will find a new urge within, a new restlessness—now you need to give, to contribute. This step in development will also change you, it will change you from a taker to a giver. Now you will be thinking about others, about making a difference, about contributing. Now this will become a pleasure and delight. Other changes will be occurring as well. As you are transcending your “animal” self and your “animal” needs more and more, you will be living at this higher level of motivation. That is, your motivation will not be coming and going, on and off, as it was when you lived exclusively or mainly at the lower levels. Now your motivation as your inspiration for living will be constant and constantly increasing. Now you have a renewing spring of inspiration every day.

Out OF The Jungle

Moving up from “the jungle” of the lower-needs, as Maslow came to call that level, you also become much more human. That means you move from the competitiveness of the lower-needs to the collaboration of the higher needs. This is another change that begins to take place, you increasingly become a person who values connecting and collaborating out of the vision of what you can do together.


What does all of this have to do with the The Coaching Centre Leadership Diploma? I bet you can guess what it has to do with our Leadership Diploma. It has everything to do with them. After all, it takes self-actualizing people to envision them, to plan for them, and to actualize them. Those who think mostly or only about themselves, what they want, what they will get from it, etc. will not be the people who can make them happen. It will be the people who are moving increasingly into the B-dimension who will care about the community, about giving back, and about leaving a legacy.
Does that mean we don’t want D-people to come to the Leadership Diploma? Of course not. We need them there. But they will not be the key people who will be influencing and leading the field of Leadership. They will not—not until they move to the B-dimension and begin to live more of a self-actualizing life. It is and always will be the people who are givers, who live predominately at the being-level who will be the ones providing the leadership and the vision that makes the Leadership Diploma possible and who will be the ones actually doing the execution of them.


In view of that, I hope that you will become one of those living in “the more, the more” pattern of abundance, collaboration, and giving back to the community. That’s true leadership.

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