The Fit Student – Crown of Needs

Do you want to reach your peak? Stand crowned on Maslow’s top rung? Well, heed a rule for champs: the self-actualized help others.

My boyfriend sways people to make healthy choices. If he meets smokers, he suggests the gym. If he chats with troubled teens, he urges school and sports. If he sees a teary-eyed soul, he mentions meditation. His health begets the health of others.

He changed me. He took me from anorexic to athletic. I stopped gym-going due to work demands, but lately, I started strolling. Strolling turned into weightlifting. Weightlifting doubled-up with shadow boxing. Weightlifting and boxing merged with mood-lifting nutrition.

But my folly? Exercise addiction. I fight desires to train like an out-of-shape Olympian. To road race bicycles with ten-pound weights strapped to aching ankles. To Bollywood dance wearing a knee brace. Why? Endorphins and dopamine excite more than Honolulu and graduation combined.

Once, nausea and sleep sickness struck me weekly. Since exercise, symptoms stopped. Now, I have the strength to strive for big goals—to strive for Maslow’s crown.

My hope? To get you fit and buff. Yes, you. To do that, I need people skills—persuasion. Yet, I persuade no-one—not even the family pet. So, I’ll pull out my social skills sacred writ: People Skills (Idiot’s Guide) by Casey Hawley. Casey tells how knowing needs makes you weighty:

• To influence others, you need to tap into their needs. Refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s bottom rung deals with basics such as food; his top rung, self-actualizers such as morals. And his middle rungs climb from safety to love and beyond to esteem.

• Learn “common human motivators that will aid you in touching people’s hearts, convincing them to do the right thing, and getting their help and support” (p. 173).

• To up people skills, do join clubs, churches, and sports teams. Do hang out with family, friends, and colleagues. But choose comforting places and people. Do all this, and you’ll tap into your power to persuade.

• Career coaches help you get good looking and confident. But when you strive to self-improve, you’ll likely get self-conscious. Self-consciousness is a natural state for those who try hard.

• Students get stressed, depressed, and sometimes suicidal. Make realistic goals so you don’t crumble.

• Compliment your friends’ strengths. Notice their skills and good deeds. By doing so, you offer self-esteem.

• Don’t manipulate others’ needs; instead, better yourself as a friend by motivating their best.

• But win-win always works. Think first of other people’s needs to get what you want.

• Offer people information they need. They make the choice, and you can’t change them. But, if you help them up Maslow’s hierarchy, they may just listen.

• To persuade others, first talk about something pleasant not related to your request. Then, bring up off-hand questions related to your goal. Next, mention a motivator dear to the other (like respect or love). After that, describe your issue and ask for what you need. List the benefits of getting the need met for both you and the other. Offer a return favor. Say thanks. Thank again days later.

So, toss those cigarettes for stints in the gym. Scrap that wine for sparkling juice. Pass on drugs for a triathlon win. Yes, the best addiction is to healthy living—self-actualizing along the way.

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