Understanding a need is a bit complex. There are primary basic survival needs like eating as well as secondary evolved needs like traveling to work. We all need to eat, therefore we are willing to pay to buy food. If food is scares we would be willing to pay a lot for it. Traveling to work becomes important as work determines our ability to buy food. Currently traveling is dependent on oil. And as oil is becoming scares we are paying more and more for it. It is a basic supply and demand formula.
The modern society we created complicates things a bit. We have taken primary survival needs and evolved them into thousands of sub needs. The need for protein has turned into a need for beef or chicken, legumes or tofu. The need for protection against the elements has turned into the need for Adidas or Nike, Levy or Pierre Cardin.The list can go on and on.
What we tend to forget is that some survival skills determine how we interpret the importance of a need. For example, the survival skill to belong to a group determines our need to belong. This need to belong determines our interpretation of what is important to be accepted into the group we associate with. This interpretation directs what we see as valuable. And if something is valuable to us, we are willing to pay for it.
One of our survival skills is our ability to determine status. Status is about relative importance, ‘pecking order’ and seniority. Humans hold a representation of status in relation to others when in conversations, and this affects mental processes in many ways.
One’s sense of status goes up when one feels ‘better than’ another person. Winning a swimming race, a card game or an argument probably feels good because of the perception of increased status and the resulting reward circuitry being activated. The perception of a potential or real reduction in status can generate a strong threat response. A reduction in status resulting from being left out of an activity lights up the same regions of the brain as physical pain.
I think status also closely links with the perception of our own value. How we value ourselves determines how important we think we are. In the interaction between people we subconsciously evaluate our own importance compered to the other person’s importance. This is a natural process, yet it does not need to be automatic.
We are valuable. The fact that you are born proves this. Nature would have prevented the birth if you had nothing to offer. When we acknowledge our own value and also the value we add to others lives, we are in the position to consciously influence the determination of status.
This departure point brings meaning and joy to our interactions.
Yesterday I decided that for one day I am just going to add value to everybody I interact with. What a great day. And at the end of that day, I received a value add that I did not expect. Someone offered me a service that I was looking for but not expecting and I got more value that I though I needed.
So in the end, it is not about the money, but about the value added.