Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of self-actualization.
He was the author of EUPSYCHIAN MANAGEMENT – considered to be a seminal work on human behavior in the workplace and MOTIVATION AND PERSONALITY – exploring the complex world of what motivates people and how their personalities interact with these motivations.
Maslow was a psychology professor at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms.”
According to Maslow, self-actualising people share the following qualities:
- Truth: honest, reality, beauty, pure, clean and unadulterated completeness
- Goodness: rightness, desirability, uprightness, benevolence, honesty
- Beauty: rightness, form, aliveness, simplicity, richness, wholeness, perfection, completion,
- Wholeness: unity, integration, tendency to oneness, interconnectedness, simplicity, organization, structure, order, not dissociated, synergy
- Dichotomy-transcendence: acceptance, resolution, integration, polarities, opposites, contradictions
- Aliveness: process, not-deadness, spontaneity, self-regulation, full-functioning
- Unique: idiosyncrasy, individuality, non comparability, novelty
- Perfection: nothing superfluous, nothing lacking, everything in its right place, just-rightness, suitability, justice
- Necessity: inevitability: it must be just that way, not changed in any slightest way
- Completion: ending, justice, fulfillment
- Justice: fairness, suitability, disinterestedness, non partiality,
- Order: lawfulness, rightness, perfectly arranged
- Simplicity: nakedness, abstract, essential skeletal, bluntness
- Richness: differentiation, complexity, intricacy, totality
- Effortlessness: ease; lack of strain, striving, or difficulty
- Playfulness: fun, joy, amusement
- Self-sufficiency: autonomy, independence, self-determining.
Hierarchy of Needs
An interpretation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom.
A visual aid was created to explain his theory, which was called the Hierarchy of Needs, is a pyramid depicting the levels of human needs, psychological and physical. When a human being ascends the steps of the pyramid he reaches self-actualization.
At the bottom of the pyramid are the “Basic needs or Physiological needs” of a human being: food, water, sleep and sex.
The next level is “Safety Needs: Security, Order, and Stability.” These two steps are important to the physical survival of the person. Once individuals have basic nutrition, shelter and safety, they attempt to accomplish more.
The third level of need is “Love and Belonging,” which are psychological needs; when individuals have taken care of themselves physically, they are ready to share themselves with others, such as with family and friends.
The fourth level is achieved when individuals feel comfortable with what they have accomplished. This is the “Esteem” level, the need to be competent and recognized, such as through status and level of success.
Then there is the “Cognitive” level, where individuals intellectually stimulate themselves and explore.
After that is the “Aesthetic” level, which is the need for harmony, order and beauty.
At the top of the pyramid, “Need for Self-actualization,” occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they have achieved their full potential.
Once a person has reached the self-actualization state they focus on themselves and try to build their own image. They may look at this in terms of feelings such as self-confidence or by accomplishing a set goal.
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