Five Quotes by Abraham Maslow

08 May, 2020
Abraham Maslow is the father of humanism- Read on to discover five of his quotes!
 

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist known as one of the main founders of humanistic psychology. This ideology considers that all human beings are good by nature and that they need an individual life project adapted to their specific needs. Abraham Maslow’s quotes are a faithful reflection of this.

People also know Maslow through his hierarchy of needs. This is a theory that explains what drives human behavior, since, for this author, these actions are the result of the motivation that leads you to get what you need.

His theories didn’t ring a bell at first but, little by little, they began to attract the attention of the psychologists of his era. In fact, the American Humanist Association gave him the Humanist of the Year award in 1967. The people who knew him say that he was a keen observer, as well as a passionate researcher.

Below, we share a selection of some of his best quotes to reflect on.

Five quotes by Abraham Maslow

The importance of being in the present moment

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

This quote by Abraham Maslow is about the relationship between the present moment and mental health, one of the concepts addressed by humanistic psychology.

According to the study “The Concept of Mental Health in Humanistic-Existential Psychology”, mental health is a necessity. Hence, Maslow emphasizes this concept and relates it to the ability to be present. This is because you can only connect to the here and now when you’re free from expectations, worries, and guilt.

 
A woman who's happy to be alive.

Abraham Maslow on flexibility

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything 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 think they must adapt the circumstances to them, which usually leads them to failure.

Some people are more able to solve problems that can lead to suffering, precisely because they’re flexible and know how to adapt to the circumstances. In other words, they’re able to see beyond and look for alternatives. The important thing is that everyone can do it. Your mind is flexible as long as you don’t hold on to certain beliefs or think you own the truth.

Optimism must be authentic

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

Nowadays, books with a positivist approach are very popular, as they constantly invite you to smile and be optimistic. However, most of them lead you to experience a false sense of optimism that, sooner or later, will only give way to despair.

It isn’t always possible to be optimistic and your foundations have to be strong, in case you can cultivate this attitude. There’s no point in reading positive messages if you don’t integrate them, reflect on them, and cultivate the seed of what they transmit inside of you. Because, as this quote by Abraham Maslow says, you must cultivate authentic optimism.

 

Yes, you can build your optimism, but don’t pretend. This is because it’ll only lead to self-deception and will leave you unprotected from reality when you least expect it.

Abraham Maslow believed that fear affects personal development

“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.”

It’s a known fact that fear prevails in this society. The fear of what others will say when you speak in public and the fear of making a fool of yourself, among others. Fears limit and affect your personal development, according to Abraham Maslow.

Thus, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they’re silly. Nobody is an expert on every subject, so don’t let your ego keep you from learning from those who know more than you do. Because curiosity and the ability to ask questions will help you learn and continue to develop.

A man rejecting something.

Always wanting more

“Meeting one need only makes room for another.”

This quote refers to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and to every human being’s process of evolution and development. This is because, once you’ve reached one level, you’ll usually find the means to move on to the next.

 

For this reason, people constantly need new goals to reach. However, others are content once they fulfill a need and don’t look further. They merely settle, which leads them to the kind of stagnation that leads to frustration. Also, to the sort of discomfort that derives in not knowing what to do to resolve it and, thus, maintains them in their comfort zone.

As you can see, Abraham Maslow’s quotes are an invitation to reflect on various aspects related to your needs, your actions, and, ultimately, your self-fulfillment process.

 
  • Maslow, A. (2016). El hombre autorrealizado: hacia una psicología del ser. Editorial Kairós.
  • Maslow, A. H. (1994). La personalidad creadora. Editorial Kairós.
  • Maslow, A. H. (1991). Motivación y personalidad. Ediciones Díaz de Santos.