What Everybody Wants

Emily K. Martin

I attend a writer’s club at the local library, and I remembered a question posited by our (now deceased and dearly missed) leader, Raymond Maguire. He once asked, “Do people want to be exceptional or acceptable?” This question led to a variety of answers and small discussion, but not an all-out debate. I remember Raymond had concluded, based on his 80+ years of life experience, that it was to be exceptional—that seeking to be exceptional was an underlying desire of humans, which explained much of human behavior and emotions.

This notion of what humans want (to be known for) came up several times throughout this week, so I decided to see what psychologists have to say about this. I found an interesting (lengthy) article in Psychology Today that explored a variety of theories throughout the ages (think Freud, Erikson, Maslow, etc), but this article boiled everything down, as the title…

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