60+ Abraham Maslow Quotes on Psychology, Growth, and Self-Actualization

Abraham Maslow quotes are reflective of the life and legacy of the esteemed psychologist, who is widely known for his groundbreaking research on human motivation and development. Maslow’s theories on personal growth and self-actualization have been influential in the fields of psychology, education, and business.

His words remain as relevant today as ever, inspiring generations of individuals to strive for their highest potential. You can find some of his most famous quotes below.

A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.
In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.
What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.
Education can become a self-fulfilling activity, liberating in and of itself.

40 Abraham Maslow Best Quotes of All Time

Here are some of the best quotes of Abraham Maslow on life, psychology, and the needs of men:

  • A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.
  • A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. 
  • All of life is education and everybody is a teacher and everybody is forever a pupil.
  • Be independent of the good opinion of other people.
  • Being a full human being is difficult, frightening, and problematical.
  • But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.
  • Common sense means living in the world as it is today, but creative people are people who don’t want the world as it is today but want to make another world.
  • Dispassionate objectivity is itself a passion, for the real and for the truth.
  • Expression and communication in the peak – experiences tend often to become poetic, mythical, and rhapsodic as if this were the natural kind of language to express such states of being.
  • False optimism sooner or later means disillusionment, anger and hopelessness.
  • Getting used to our blessings is one of the most important non-evil generators of human evil, tragedy, and suffering.
  • Good psychology should include all the methodological techniques, without having loyalty to one method, one idea, or one person.
  • Human nature is not nearly as bad as it has been thought to be.
  • I have come to think of this humanist trend in psychology as a revolution in the truest, oldest sense of the word; the sense in which Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Freud and Marx made revolutions… new ways of perceiving and thinking, new images of.
  • I was awfully curious to find out why I didn’t go insane.
  • I’m someone who likes plowing new ground, then walking away from it. I get bored easily. For me, the big thrill comes with the discovering.
  • If I were a Negro, I’d be fighting, as Martin Luther King fought, for human recognition and justice. I’d rather go down with my flag flying. If you’re weak or crippled, or you can’t speak out or fight back in some way, then people don’t hesitate to treat you badly.
  • If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told the nearest land was a thousand miles away, I’d still swim. And I’d despise the one who gave up.
  • If swindling pays, then it will not stop. The definition of the good society is one in which virtue pays.
  • If the essential core of the person is denied or suppressed, he gets sick sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes immediately, sometimes later.
  • If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.
  • If you think only of evil, then you become pessimistic and hopeless like Freud. But if you think there is no evil, then you’re just one more deluded Pollyanna.
  • It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.
  • Marriage is a school itself. Also, having children. Becoming a father changed my whole life. It taught me as if by revelation.
  • Rioting is a childish way of trying to be a man, but it takes time to rise out of the hell of hatred and frustration and accept that to be a man you don’t have to riot.
  • Secrecy, censorship, dishonesty, and blocking of communication threaten all the basic needs.
  • Seeing is better than being blind, even when seeing hurts.
  • The best product should be bought, the best man should be rewarded more. Interfering factors which befuddle this triumph of virtue, justice, truth, and efficiency… should be kept to an absolute minimum or should approach zero as a limit.
  • The fact is that people are good, Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behavior.
  • The great lesson is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s backyard.
  • The key question isn’t, what fosters creativity? But it is, why isn’t everyone creative?
  • The most beautiful fate, the most wonderful good fortune that can happen to any human being, is to be paid for doing that which he passionately loves to do.
  • The most stable, and therefore, the most healthy self-esteem is based on deserved respect from others rather than on external fame or celebrity and unwarranted adulation.
  • The only happy people I know are the ones who are working well at something they consider important.
  • The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.
  • We are not in a position in which we have nothing to work with. We already have capacities, talents, direction, missions, callings.
  • We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise.
  • What does ‘happy’ mean? Happiness is not a state like Vermont.
  • With my childhood, it’s a wonder I’m not psychotic. I was the little Jewish boy in the non-Jewish neighborhood. It was a little like being the first Negro enrolled in the all-white school. I grew up in libraries and among books, without friends.
  • Work is that which you dislike doing but perform for the sake of external rewards. At school, this takes the form of grades. In society, it means money, status, privilege.

5 Abraham Maslow Quotes Growth

Growth has been a significant topic in Abraham Maslow’s theories. Here are some popular Abraham Maslow quotes on growth:

  • All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health, an impulse towards growth, or towards the actualization.
  • Growth takes place when the next step forward is subjectively more delightful, more joyous, more intrinsically satisfying than the previous gratification which we have become familiar and even bored.
  • In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.
  • One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.
  • With a tree, all the growth takes place at the growing tips. Humanity is exactly the same. All the growth takes place in the growing tip: among that one percent of the population. It’s made up of pioneers, the beginners. That’s where the action is.

4 Abraham Maslow Quotes on Self Actualization

Self-actualization is another theme Abraham Maslow emphasized in his ideas and theories. Check these memorable Abraham Maslow quotes on self-actualization:

  • Classic economic theory, based as it is on an inadequate theory of human motivation, could be revolutionized by accepting the reality of higher human needs, including the impulse to self actualization and the love for the highest values.
  • Self-actualized people…live more in the real world of nature than in the man-made mass of concepts, abstractions, expectations, beliefs and stereotypes that most people confuse with the world.
  • Self-actualizing people have a deep feeling of identification, sympathy, and affection for human beings in general. They feel kinship and connection as if all people were members of a single-family.
  • What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.

5 Motivation Abraham Maslow Quotes

Abraham Maslow’s quotes on motivation provide insight into his belief that individuals can reach their highest potential through setting and achieving personal goals. Here are a few:

  • Education can become a self-fulfilling activity, liberating in and of itself.
  • I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.
  • It is as necessary for man to live in beauty rather than ugliness as it is necessary for him to have food for an aching belly or rest for a weary body.
  • It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.
  • One’s only rival is one’s own potentialities. One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities. In this sense, every man can be a king, and must therefore be treated like a king.

5 Abraham Maslow Quotes on the Hierarchy Needs

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a renowned theory that states that humans must meet certain needs to achieve fulfillment. Here are some of the best Abraham Maslow quotes on the hierarchy needs:

  • What we need is a system of thought – you might even call it a religion – that can bind humans together. A system that would fit the Republic of Chad as well as the United States: a system that would supply our idealistic young people with something to believe in.
  • When people appear to be something other than good and decent, it is only because they are reacting to stress, pain, or the deprivation of basic human needs such as security, love, and self-esteem.
  • Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of pre-potency. That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal.
  • Thwarting of unimportant desires produces no psychopathological results; thwarting of a basically important need does produce such results.
  • No need or drive can be treated as if it were isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other drives.

8 Psychology Abraham Maslow Quotes

Psychology is forever changed due to Abraham Maslow’s wisdom, which can be seen here in his quotes on the importance of self-development and understanding:

  • What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
  • You can see neurosis from below – as a sickness – as most psychiatrists see it. Or you can understand it as a compassionate man might: respecting the neurosis as a fumbling and inefficient effort toward good ends.
  • We fear to know the fearsome and unsavory aspects of ourselves, but we fear even more to know the godlike in ourselves.
  • We may define therapy as a search for value.
  • To objectify our subjective thought so as to be able to look at it and improve it toward perfection. To seek peak experiences.
  • The science of psychology has been far more successful on the negative than on the positive side… It has revealed to us much about man’s shortcomings, his illnesses, his sins, but little about his potentialities, his virtues, his achievable aspirations, or his psychological health.
  • Love, safety, belongingness, and respect from other people are almost panaceas for the situational disturbances and even for some of the mild character disturbances.
  • It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.

Abraham Maslow Hammer Quote

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail” is a famous quote by Abraham Maslow that speaks to the power of having multiple perspectives.


Who Was Abraham Maslow?

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who is best known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a psychological theory that explains how humans prioritize their needs and motivations. He is also known for his work on humanistic psychology and self-actualization.

Why Is Abraham Maslow Known as the ‘Father of Needs?’

Abraham Maslow is often referred to as the ‘father of needs’ for his pioneering work on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which is one of the most well-known theories in the field of psychology.

When Is Abraham Maslow’s Birthday?

Abraham Maslow’s birthday is on 1st April, 1908.

Was Abraham Maslow Married?

Yes, Abraham Maslow was married to his cousin Bertha Goodman.

Did Abraham Maslow Have Kids?

Yes, Abraham Maslow had two children, Ann Maslow Kaplan and Ellen Maslow.

What Was Abraham Maslow’s Theory?

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who theorized that people have a number of basic needs before they can pursue more social, emotional, or self-actualizing ones.

Why Is Abraham Maslow Important to Psychology?

Maslow is extremely important to psychology as he was the founder of a school of psychology known as humanistic psychology, which focuses on helping people fulfill their full potential. Other psychologists helped develop different elements of this form of psychology, but Maslow is largely considered the father figure behind it all.

When Did Maslow Develop His Theory?

The US psychologist Abraham Maslow described his theory of human motivation in 1943, which describes five sets of needs that come in sequential order. As each level is satisfied, the next desire kicks into action.

What Is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory in psychology that consists of five levels (5 Stages) of basic human needs, which are arranged in a hierarchical order. These five levels are:
Physiological Needs: These are the basic needs that are necessary for survival, such as food, water, shelter, and warmth.
Safety Needs: Once the physiological needs are met, individuals look for safety and security. This includes needs such as protection from harm, economic stability, and stability in the individual’s environment.
Love and Belonging Needs: After safety needs are met, people seek to form relationships and feel a sense of belonging. This includes the need for love, companionship, and acceptance by others.
Esteem Needs: Once individuals feel a sense of belonging, they seek to feel valued and respected. This includes the need for self-esteem, confidence, and respect from others.
Self-Actualization Needs: At the highest level of the hierarchy, people seek to fulfill their potential and achieve their full potential in life. This includes the need for personal growth, self-fulfillment, and the realization of one’s talents and abilities.

It is worth noting that Maslow’s theory has received criticism and is not universally accepted, but it is still a useful way to understand human motivation and development.

Why Was Maslow’s Theory Created?

Maslow’s theory was created to propose that human needs form a hierarchy, with some needs being more important to satisfaction than others.

What Is Maslow’s Most Important Need?

Maslow’s most important need is self-actualization, the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and a concern with personal growth and peak experiences, refers to people fulfilling their potential.

How Is Maslow’s Theory Used Today?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory that enables us as practitioners to think more creatively and strategically about our work. With this model, we can help clients develop career development plans, set practices and goals, understand their experiences – and do all of these things more effectively.

How Old Was Maslow When He Died?

Maslow died at age 62, during a sabbatical from Brandeis.

Asma Ahmed

I identify myself as a quodophile and linguaphile, a lover of quotes and all things language. My eagerness to learn new things has helped me become fluent in several languages and still crave more knowledge. My passion for words, literature, and wisdom is evident in my writing, where I constantly explore the beauty and power of quotes as well as the meaning and context behind them. With India being my home, I am constantly seeking inspiration from its diverse cultures and languages. But my journey goes beyond the borders of the country, in which I explore global cultures and languages to create a connection between the readers and the messages of the quotes I collect. I believe words have the power to change perspectives, evoke emotions, and guide people. In my free time, I can be found scouring books, articles, and social media for new quotes to add to my collection. I am forever on the lookout for new wisdom to share with the world.

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