Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washngton

Five Fields of Striving for Significance

Developed by Henry T. Stein, Ph.D.
Based on the Original Concepts of Anthony Bruck

  • One of the central ideas in Adlerian Psychology is the individual's striving from a feeling of inferiority toward a feeling of significance.
  • The feeling of inferiority can be used as a stimulus for striving or as a felt blockade and an excuse for not striving.
  • An individual who feels blocked from achievement in one field may cross over to another field and compensate or over-compensate for his feeling of inferiority.
Physical Organ Deficiencies, Physical Handicaps, Deformity, Ugliness, Weakness, Abnormal Height or Weight, Sickness, Severe Hunger or Thirst, Sexual Frustration Strength, Beauty, Athletic Ability, Good Health, Sensory Pleasure, Sexual Gratification, Physical Closeness
Intellectual Ignorance, Illiteracy, Feeling Stupid, Lack of Skill, Difficulty in Learning, Boredom Knowledge, Understanding, Skill, Artistic Ability, Academic Success, Enjoyment of Music, Art, Drama, and Literature
Psychological Negative Character Traits (Real or Imagined), Feeling or Acting Crazy, Disliked or Hated, Ashamed of Oneself, Feeling Bad or Guilty Positive Character traits, Proud of Oneself, Liked by Others, Admired by Others, Loved by Someone, Self-Actualizing
Social Being Alone, Isolated, Being Excluded, Not Invited, Abandoned, Socially Awkward Contact With Others, Membership in Organizations, Identifying With Group, Socially Adept, Social Acceptance & Approval
Economic Poverty, Financial Distress, Underpaid for Work, Loss of Job, Not Keeping Up With Norm, Losing Money Good Income, Paid Well for Work, Financial Security, Wealth, Getting a Raise in Salary, Winning the Lottery

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