5 Quotes By Abraham Maslow On Human Needs

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist known as one of the main founders of humanistic psychology. This current considers that all human beings are good by nature and that they need a life plan appropriate to the needs of each one. Abraham Maslow’s phrases are a true reflection of this.

Maslow is also known for the pyramid of needs. It is a theory that explains what drives human behavior, since, for this author, our actions are the result of the motivation that leads us to meet our needs.

At first, his theories were not very popular, but little by little, they came to the attention of the psychologists of his time. In fact, in 1967 the American Humanist Association named him Humanist of the Year. Who knew him affirms that he was a great observer, as well as a passionate researcher.

Below, we have selected some of Abraham Maslow’s best phrases to reflect on and that also invite us to know him in greater depth.

The importance of being in the present moment

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental health.”

This first of Abraham Maslow’s phrases deals with the relationship between the present moment and mental health, one of the concepts that humanistic psychology addressed.

According to the study The Concept of Mental Health in Humanistic-Existential Psychology , mental health is considered a necessity. Hence, Maslow emphasizes this concept and relates it to the ability to be present. Because only when we are connected to the here and now, are we free from expectations, worries and guilt.

Being flexible is important to adapt

“If your only tool is a hammer, you will have to treat each problem as if it were a nail.”

Other needs that Abraham Maslow spoke about are the importance of knowing how to adapt and be flexible. Many people consider that circumstances must be adapted to them, the point is that this usually ends in failure.

The fact that some people are better able to solve problems that can cause suffering, precisely because they know how to adapt to circumstances and be flexible. That is, they are capable of looking beyond and looking for alternatives. The important thing is that we can all do it. Our mind is flexible, unless we hold onto beliefs or think that we are possessors of an absolute truth.

Optimism must be authentic

“False optimism sooner or later means disappointment, hatred and hopelessness.”

For some years now, books with a positivist approach that constantly invite us to smile and be optimistic have begun to take center stage. However, most of them lead us to experience a false optimism that, sooner or later, will collapse on its own and give way to hopelessness. 

It is not always possible to be optimistic and if you can cultivate this attitude, the foundation has to be strong. It is useless to read positive messages if we do not integrate them, reflect and plant the seed of what they transmit within us. Because, as this third of Abraham Maslow’s phrases says, we must cultivate authentic optimism.

Now if we are not optimistic, we can work at it, but never pretend. This will only cause self-deception and when we least expect it, it will leave us unprotected in the face of reality.

Fear affects our personal development

“I have learned that the novice can often see things that the expert cannot. What is necessary is not to be afraid to make mistakes or appear naive.

In our society we can say, without fear of being wrong, that fear predominates. The fear of what they will say, of speaking in public or making a fool of themselves, among others. Fears that limit us and that, as Abraham Maslow says, affect our personal development.

So let us never be afraid to ask questions, even if we think they are absurd. Nor, if we are professors, researchers or specialists in a subject, let our ego prevent us from learning from those who are still on the way. Because the ability to question ourselves and the curiosity to learn more will help us continue to grow.

We always want more

“The satisfaction of one need creates another.”

Without a doubt, this last of Abraham Maslow’s phrases refers to his pyramid of needs and the process of evolution and development of the human being, since once we have reached one level, we usually look for the means to move on to the next.

For this reason, people always need new goals or objectives that allow us to continue to improve ourselves. However, there are people who once have covered a need, do not look further and settle. This leads to stagnation that causes frustration, to the discomfort of not knowing what to do to resolve what is happening, and to being in an unbearable comfort zone.

As we can see, Abraham Maslow’s phrases invite us to reflect on different aspects that have to do with our needs, our actions and, ultimately, with our process of self-realization.