VALS is a market segmentation scheme for businesses to classify U.S. consumers into eight types and target them in their marketing. It is two-dimensional: primary motivation (ideals, achievement, self-expression) versus resources with which to innovate (low to high).
The interesting thing for me is how the different VALS types of consumers seek to increase their social status via status symbols: Experiencers travel to more exotic places; Makers make more things for themselves; Strivers get more elaborate tattoos. People (once they get beyond mere survival) tend to play one status game or another, depending on their means and their values, and businesses try to position themselves to profit from it.
I recently started reading Charlotte Mason's Ourselves, which mentions approbation as a basic and legitimate human need. I have come to believe that humans are hard-wired to self-destruct (in one way or another) without it. But you don't have to buy it; Jesus offers it for free, along with genuine rest from the toil of constantly proving one's worth.