137+ Best Abraham Maslow Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, his self-actualization theory of psychology, which argued that the primary goal of psychotherapy should be the integration of the self. Inspirational Abraham Maslow quotes will challenge the way you think, and make your life worth living.

Famous Abraham Maslow Quotes

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. – Abraham Maslow

Dispassionate objectivity is itself a passion, for the real and for the truth. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life. – Abraham Maslow

People are not evil; they are schlemiels. – Abraham Maslow

The spiritual life is part of the human essence. It is a defining characteristic of human nature, without which human nature is not fully human. – Abraham Maslow

Human nature is not nearly as bad as it has been thought to be. – Abraham Maslow

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… We must find out what psychology might be if it could free itself from the stultifying effects of limited, pessimistic and stingy preoccupations with human nature. – Abraham Maslow

The key question isn’t, ‘What fosters creativity?’ But it is, ‘Why isn’t everyone creative?’ – Abraham Maslow

The good or healthy society would then be defined as one that permitted people’s highest purposes to emerge by satisfying all their basic needs. – Abraham Maslow

Laugh at what you hold sacred, and still hold it sacred. – Abraham Maslow

The sacred is in the ordinary it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own backyard travel may be a flight from confronting the scared–this lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous. – Abraham Maslow

We fear our highest possibility. We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments. – Abraham Maslow

We must remember that knowledge of one’s own deep nature is also simultaneously knowledge of human nature in general. – Abraham Maslow

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

We must understand love; we must be able to teach it, to create it, to predict it, or else the world is lost to hostility and to suspicion. – Abraham Maslow

The chicken came first – God would look silly sitting on an egg. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

What is the good life? What is the good man? The good woman? What is the good society and what is my relation to it? What are my obligations to society? What is best for my children? What is justice? Truth? Virtue? What is my relation to nature, to death, to aging, to pain, to illness? How can I live a zestful, enjoyable, meaningful life? What is my responsibility to my brothers? Who are my brothers? What shall I be loyal to? What must I be ready to die for? – Abraham Maslow

The best way to view a present problem is to give it all you’ve got, to study it and its nature, to perceive within it the intrinsic interrelationships, to discover the answer to the problem within the problem itself. – Abraham Maslow

One can go back toward safety or forward toward growth. – Abraham Maslow

Innocence can be redefined and called stupidity. Honesty can be called gullibility. Candor becomes lack of common sense. Interest in your work can be called cowardice. Generosity can be called soft-headedness, and observe the former is disturbing – Abraham Maslow

What one can be, one must be! – Abraham Maslow

The human being needs a framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion-surrogate to live by and understand by, in about the same sense that he needs sunlight, calcium or love. – Abraham Maslow

People with intelligence must use their intelligence, people with eyes must use their eyes, people with the capacity to love have the impulse to love and the need to love in order to feel healthy. Capacities clamor to be used, and cease their clamor only when they are used sufficiently. That is to say, capacities are needs, and therefore are intrinsic values as well. – Abraham Maslow

Well why not a technology of joy, of happiness? – Abraham Maslow

The study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy – Abraham Maslow

Life could be vastly improved if we could count our blessings as self-actualizing people can and do, and if we could retain their constant sense of good fortune and gratitude for it. – Abraham Maslow

The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short. – Abraham Maslow

Man has his future within him, dynamically alive at this present moment. – Abraham Maslow

If both the physiological and the safety needs are fairly well gratified, then there will emerge love and affection and belongingness needs, and the whole cycle already described will repeat itself with this new centre. Now the person will feel keenl – Abraham Maslow

Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

One of the goals of education should be to teach that life is precious. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

You must want to be first-class meaning the best, the very best you are capable of becoming. If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life. You will be evading your own capacities, your own possibilities. – Abraham Maslow

A stupid man behaves stupidly, not because he wants to, or tries to, or is motivated to, but simply because he is what he is. – Abraham Maslow

I think of the self-actualizing man not as an ordinary man with something added, but rather as the ordinary man with nothing taken away. The average man is a full human being with dampened and inhibited powers and capabilities. – Abraham Maslow

One cannot choose wisely for a life unless he dares to listen to himself, his own self, at each moment of his life. – Abraham Maslow

It looks as if there were a single ultimate goal for mankind, a far goal toward which all persons strive. This is called variously by different authors self-actualization, self-realization, integration, psychological health, individuation, autonomy, creativity, productivity, but they all agree that this amounts to realizing the potentialities of the person, that is to say, becoming fully human, everything that person can be. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. – Abraham Maslow

We can consider the process of healthy growth to be a never ending series of free choice situations, confronting each individual at every point throughout his life, in which he must choose between the delights of safety and growth, dependence and independence, regression and progression, immaturity and maturity. – Abraham Maslow

Only the flexibly creative person can really manage the future, Only the one who can face novelty with confidence and without fear. – Abraham Maslow

Human nature has been sold short…[humans have] a higher nature which includes the need for meaningful work, for responsibility, for creativeness, for being fair and just, for doing what is worthwhile and for preferring to do it well. – Abraham Maslow

When we free ourselves from the constraints of ordinary goals and uninformed scoffers we will find ourselves roaring off the face of the earth. – Abraham Maslow

What kind of guilt comes from being true to yourself but not to others?. As we have seen, being true to yourself may at times intrinsically and necessarily be in conflict with being true to others. – Abraham Maslow

What does ‘happy’ mean? Happiness is not a state like Vermont. – Abraham Maslow

You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

All of life is education and everybody is a teacher and everybody is forever a pupil. – Abraham Maslow

A person who makes full use of and exploits his talents, potentialities, and capacities. Such a person seems to be fulfilling himself and doing the best he is capable of doing. The self-actualized person must find in his life those qualities that make his living rich and rewarding. He must find meaningfulness, self-sufficiency, effortlessness, playfulness, richness, simplicity, completion, necessity, perfection, individuality, beauty, and truth. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. – Abraham Maslow

A positive self image and healthy self esteem is based on approval, acceptance and recognition from others; but also upon actual accomplishments, achievements and success upon the realistic self confidence which ensues. – Abraham Maslow

Education is learning to grow, learning what to grow toward, learning what is good and bad, learning what is desirable and undesirable, learning what to choose and what not to choose. – Abraham Maslow

What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. – Abraham Maslow

Let people realize clearly that every time they threaten someone or humiliate or unnecessarily hurt or dominate or reject another human being, they become forces for the creation of psychopathology, even if these be small forces. Let them recognize that every person who is kind, helpful, decent, psychologically democratic, affectionate, and warm, is a psychotheraputic force, even though a small one. – Abraham Maslow

Self-actualizing people are those who have come to a high level of maturation, health and self-fulfillment… the values that self-actualizers appreciate include truth, creativity, beauty, goodness, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, justice, simplicity, and self-sufficiency. – Abraham Maslow

We crave and fear becoming truly ourselves – Abraham Maslow

The only happy people I know are the ones who are working well at something they consider important. – Abraham Maslow

What is life for? Life is for you. – Abraham Maslow

Every person is, in part, ‘his own project’ and makes himself. – Abraham Maslow

We do what we are and we are what we do. – Abraham Maslow

One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities. – Abraham Maslow

Language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication. – Abraham Maslow

There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen. And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

I was awfully curious to find out why I didn’t go insane. – Abraham Maslow

We fear to know the fearsome and unsavory aspects of ourselves, but we fear even more to know the godlike in ourselves. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

We may define therapy as a search for value. – Abraham Maslow

A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting. – Abraham Maslow

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. – Abraham Maslow

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, i.e. new ways of perceiving and thinking, new images of – Abraham Maslow

I have learned the novice can often see things that the expert overlooks. All that is necessary is not to be afraid of making mistakes, or of appearing naive. – Abraham Maslow

Religion becomes. a state of mind achievable in almost any activity of life, if this activity is raised to a suitable level of perfection. – Abraham Maslow

Man is ultimately not molded or shaped into humanness. The environment does not give him potentialities and capacities; he has them in inchoate or embryonic form, just exactly as he has embryonic arms and legs. And creativeness, spontaneity, selfhood – Abraham Maslow

White-Headed Chief was wealthy, even though he owned nothing. In what way did virtue pay? The men who were formally generous in this way were the most admired, most respected, and the most loved men in the tribe. These were the men who benefited the – Abraham Maslow

We are not in a position in which we have nothing to work with. We already have capacities, talents, direction, missions, callings. – Abraham Maslow

The peaker learns surely and certainly that life can be worthwhile, that it can be beautiful and valuable. There are ends in life, experiences which are so precious in themselves as to prove that not everything is a means to some end other than itself. – Abraham Maslow

The job is, if we are willing to take it seriously, to help ourselves to be more perfectly what we are, to be more full, more actualizing, more realizing in fact, what we are in potentiality. – Abraham Maslow

Since my mother is the type that’s called schizophrenogenic in the literature-she’s the one who makes crazy people, crazy children-I was awfully curious to find out why I didn’t go insane. – Abraham Maslow

In order for us to become truly happy, that which we can become, we must become. – Abraham Maslow

I may say that (Being) love, in a profound but testable sense, creates the partner. it gives him a self-image, it gives him self-acceptance, a feeling of love-worthiness, all of which permit him to grow. It is a real question whether the full development of the human being is possible without it. – Abraham Maslow

Plateau experiencing can be achieved, learned, earned by long hard work. A transient glimpse is certainly possible in the peak experiences which may, after all, come sometimes to anyone. But, so to speak, to take up residence on the high plateau that is another matter altogether. That tends to be a lifelong effort. – Abraham Maslow

What shall we think of a well-adjusted slave? – Abraham Maslow

In a word, to perceive an object abstractly means not to perceive some aspects of it. It clearly implies selection of some attributes, rejection of other attributes, creation or distortion of still others. We make of it what we wish. We create it. – Abraham Maslow

We are dealing with a fundamental characteristic, inherent in human nature, a potentiality given to all or most human beings at birth, which most often is lost or buried or inhibited as the person gets enculturated. – Abraham Maslow

We have got to abandon the sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything. – Abraham Maslow

Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? A good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? – Abraham Maslow

The fact that people who create are good workers tends to be lost. – Abraham Maslow

Self-actualizing people must be what they can be. – Abraham Maslow

I have discovered the missing link between the anthropoid apes and civilized men. It’s us! – Abraham Maslow

As one studies these preconditions, one becomes saddened by the ease with which human potentiality can be destroyed or repressed, so that a fully-human person can seem like a miracle, so improbable a happening as to be awe-inspiring. And simultaneously one is heartened by the fact that self-actualizing persons do in fact exist, that they are therefore possible, that the gauntlet of dangers can be run, that the finish line can be crossed. – Abraham Maslow

Apparently one impression we are making is that creativeness consists of lightning striking you on the head in one great glorious moment. – Abraham Maslow

There is, first, the desire for strength, for achievement, for adequacy, for confidence in the face of the world, and for independence and freedom. Secondly, we have what we may call the desire for reputation or prestige – Abraham Maslow

My feeling is that the concept of creativeness and the concept of the healthy, self actualizing, fully human person seem to be coming closer and closer together, and may perhaps turn out to be the same thing – Abraham Maslow

Creative people are all there, totally immersed, fascinated and absorbed in the present, in the current situation, in the here-now, with the matter-in-hand. – Abraham Maslow

Love, safety, belongingness and respect from other people are almost panaceas for the situational disturbances and even for some of the mild character disturbances. – Abraham Maslow

The test of a man is: does he bear apples? Does he bear fruit? – Abraham Maslow

He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail. – Abraham Maslow

The human being is so constructed that he pressed toward fuller and fuller being. – Abraham Maslow

False optimism sooner or later means disillusionment, anger and hopelessness. – Abraham Maslow

Fear of knowing is very deeply a fear of doing. – Abraham Maslow

When all you own is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail. – Abraham Maslow

To make the growth choice instead of the fear choice a dozen times a day is to move a dozen times a day towards self-actualisation. – Abraham Maslow

It is unfortunate to consider all lawyers as natural Satanists many are just dumb. – Abraham Maslow

Secrecy, censorship, dishonesty, and blocking of communication threaten all the basic needs. – Abraham Maslow

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, etc., should be kept to an absolute minimum or should approach zero as a limit. – Abraham Maslow

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. – Abraham Maslow

Quitting smoking can be a very good test of ones character. Pass the test and you will have accomplished so much more than just get rid of one bad habit – Abraham Maslow

To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail. – Abraham Maslow

Become aware of internal, subjective, sub-verbal experiences, so that these experiences can be brought into the world of abstraction. – Abraham Maslow

A child wants some kind of undisrupted routine or rhythm. He seems to want a predictable, orderly world. – Abraham Maslow

The search for safety takes its clearest form… in the compulsive-obsessive neurosis… to frantically order and stabilize the world so that no unmanageable, unexpected or unfamiliar dangers will ever appear. – Abraham Maslow

To the extent that language forces experiences into categories it is a screen between reality and the human being. In a word, we pay for its benefits… Therefore, while using language, as we must of necessity, we should be aware of its shortcomings. – Abraham Maslow

Man is a perpetually wanting animal. – Abraham Maslow

Even when adults do feel their safety to be threatened, we may not be able to see this on the surface. Infants will react in a fashion as if they were endangered, if they are disturbed or dropped suddenly, startled by loud noises, flashing light – Abraham Maslow

If you love the truth, you’ll trust it – that is, you will expect it to be good, beautiful, perfect, orderly, etc. in the long run, not necessarily in the short run. – Abraham Maslow

The emotional reaction in the peak experience has a special flavor of wonder, of awe, of reverence, of humility and surrender before the experience as before something great. – Abraham Maslow

An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle and vanished. – Abraham Maslow

Getting used to our blessings is one of the most important non-evil generators of human evil, tragedy and suffering. – Abraham Maslow

The major motivation theories by which most men live can lead them only to depression and cynicism. – Abraham Maslow

There seems no intrinsic reason why everyone shouldn’t be (self-actualizing). Apparently, every baby has possibilities for self-actualization, but most get it knocked out of them. I think of the self-actualizing man not as an ordinary man with something added, but rather as the ordinary man with nothing taken away. – Abraham Maslow

A van backed through my windscreen into my wife’s face. – Abraham Maslow

Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization. – Abraham Maslow

No psychological health is possible unless this essential care of the person is fundamentally accepted, loved and respected by others and by himself. – Abraham Maslow

The loss of illusions and the discovery of identity, though painful at first, can be ultimately exhilarating and strengthening. – Abraham Maslow

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