Warning about the dangers of tobacco use, she begins her segment by reading a letter from an American who recently quit smoking, but drifts way off topic with one grumble following another, after describing some of the challenges of quitting.
It’s Always Something
Psychologist Abraham Maslow could have inspired the skit with his widely-accepted theory of human behavior that explains the pursuit of happiness as a hierarchy of needs, nicknamed the “Grumble Theory.”
You can think of the Grumble Theory in the shape of a pyramid, with the base representing our most urgent survival needs. The pyramid’s tip represents peak experiences through our most selfish needs.
Humans rarely if ever achieve a state of motivational quiescence; in virtually every waking moment, humans are host to one motive or another, even though some motives might be so faint as to be scarcely noticed. Moreover, as soon as one motive is satisfied, another immediately “pops up to take its place,” as though it had been lurking behind the scenes all the while, just waiting for its opportunity to take center stage. When this next motive is satisfied, yet another moves in to replace it; and so on.
The Grumble Theory means that we can improve self-control with our unalienable right, or responsibility, to pursue happiness with a simple question:
What do I feel a need for right now?
Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality (New York: Harper, 1954).