50 Best Abraham Maslow Quotes from American Psychologist

Abraham Maslow, born April 1, 1908, was an influential American psychologist renowned for developing the humanistic approach to psychology and his hierarchy of needs theory.

A child of Russian immigrants Maslow was raised in Brooklyn, New York and his pursuit of academic excellence led him to get admission in the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned his PhD in psychology.

Source: Biography.com

His work emphasized personal growth, self-actualization and the integration of the self. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory suggests that individuals have a series of fundamental needs that must be satisfied before reaching a state of self-actualization.

Related: Steven Pinker Quotes from Canadian-American Cognitive Psychologist and Carol Dweck Quotes on Mindset, Psychology and Success

Throughout his career, he held professorships at Brooklyn College and Brandeis University, developing a significant relationship with Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer.

Despite his death from a heart attack in 1970 at the age of 62, Maslow’s contributions continue to leave a significant imprint on humanistic psychology and motivation theory.

Here are some of the great quotes from Abraham Maslow for you.

Best Abraham Maslow Quotes

“Be independent of the good opinion of other people.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“Every person is, in part, ‘his own project’ and makes himself.” ~ (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).

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“All of life is education and everybody is a teacher and everybody is forever a pupil.” ~ (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).

“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“One of the goals of education should be to teach that life is precious.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).


“What one can be, one must be!” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were 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-actualization.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“The only happy people I know are the ones who are working well at something they consider important.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

Top Abraham Maslow Quotes

“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).


“One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities.” ~ (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).

“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).

“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).

Famous Abraham Maslow Quotes

“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).

“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).

“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).

“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).

“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).

“Quitting smoking can be a very good test of one’s character. Pass the test and you will have accomplished so much more than just get rid of one bad habit.” ~ (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).

“Creativity is a characteristic given to all human beings at birth.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“A child wants some kind of undisrupted routine or rhythm. He seems to want a predictable, orderly world.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“Man is a perpetually wanting animal.” ~ (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).

“What is life for? Life is for you.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“Dispassionate objectivity is itself a passion, for the real and for the truth.” ~ (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).

“We fear our highest possibility. We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“False optimism sooner or later means disillusionment, anger and hopelessness.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).


“We crave and fear becoming truly ourselves.” ~ (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).

Inspiring Abraham Maslow Quotes

“It is vital that people “count their blessings:” to appreciate what they possess without having to undergo its actual loss.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“People are not evil; they are schlemiels.” ~ (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).

“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).

“Self-actualizing people must be what they can be.” ~ (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).

“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).

“Secrecy, censorship, dishonesty, and blocking of communication threaten all the basic needs.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

“The major motivation theories by which most men live can lead them only to depression and cynicism.” ~ (Abraham Maslow).

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar