Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs is widely used in marketing to encourage consumers to buy products and services that satisfy their consumer desires. It is also used in corporate management, motivating employees for professional growth, achievement of results and the desire to be in-demand specialists.

Human needs are described and systematized by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow as a theory of motivation in the 1954 book Motivation and Personality. Maslow distributed human needs as they grow, arguing that a person may not need higher needs until he satisfies lower ones.

Physiology and safety is the most important thing for which the average person spends the most time and effort. Maslow claimed that only 2% of people achieve spiritual goals.

Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of 5 or 7 levels:

Maslow's pyramid of human needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs in the form of a pyramid
  1. Physiology: food, water, sleep, sex;
  2. Safety: security, confidence, stability, comfort;
  3. Sociality: communication, attention, love, care, support;
  4. Recognition: demandness, respectness, significance;
  5. Creativity: cognition, discovery, creation;
  6. Aesthetics: order, beauty, harmony;
  7. Spirituality: self-knowledge, self-actualization.

If a person makes ends meet in his lifetime, he will strive to satisfy only the first 2 human needs, the rest will be discarded. It is difficult to aesthetic and spiritual, being hungry, cold, without shelter and comfort.

When food, stability and comfort are abundant, then there is a craving for higher human needs. Therefore, a man gradually comes to the highest of them – the spiritual, where he develops and realizes himself.

The works of Abraham Maslow and even common sense itself show that previous needs do not have to be 100% closed to aspire to the following needs. Partial satisfaction is enough. Statistically, for most people, this hierarchy is correct. There are small exceptions, for example, when recognition is more important than love.

Inverted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Let’s invert the hierarchy and see what happens. Now the hierarchy is based on spiritual needs, and on top – physiological. Looks absurd? On the contrary, realistic and vital:

Inverted Maslow's pyramid of human needs
Inverted Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs in the form of a pyramid

Imagine a person who is self-improving, acquiring new knowledge and growing professionally. To have a high social status, earn big money, have spacious housing, live with a beautiful woman, etc. This person aspires to the lowest needs (physiology, safety, recognition) through the highest (spirituality).

Of course, this person will satisfy the physiology: eat something, somehow sleep and sleep somewhere. The essence of quality and abundance. It’s one thing to live in a rented room, and another is in your own large and comfortable pool house.

Does this mean that the hierarchy does not work? Maslow admitted that every person, depending on his age, social and cultural characteristics, economic and political factors, would have his own hierarchy.

For example, if there is a war, then the people at the forefront is the desire to survive at any cost. There can be no talk of love, respect, creativity and recognition. If a person lived his entire adult life in poverty, then he would rather be able to achieve material benefits. Conversely, a person born in a rich family will most likely be directed towards other desires, because the physiology and safety are satisfied.

Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs works in the reverse order with conscious and strong-willed people who know what they want in life. Will and awareness allow you to first develop, acquire the necessary knowledge, etc. Further, along with self-development, purposefully achieve stability, comfort, wealth, recognition, etc.

The relationship of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with finance

High-level and low-level Maslow’s human needs require funding. Finance is a tool to meet the needs, changing lives for the better.

To be well-fed and healthy, you need to buy healthy food and have access to quality medicine. To be safe, you need to buy an apartment, have a source of income and have a free stock of money. To win recognition and respect, finance is also needed. Who will respect the beggar loser who is not able to feed himself? Practically all known and recognized are wealthy people.

Most people live by the standard Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Trying to satisfy basic needs, they are forced to work in unloved work, endure hateful bosses, communicate with unpleasant people, etc. It turns out a vicious circle that does not allow self-actualization, because there is no time and energy left for it.

As a result, misfortune, dissatisfaction with life, complaints about the injustice of the world, etc. It is through personal growth and self-realization that big money is really earned. Most people do not have enough willpower to start from the top of the Maslow’s hierarchy – self-development and self-actualization.


What you want from life is up to you. I recommend to think carefully about this and make a decision. If you want to live in your pleasure rich and luxurious life, then you have every right to live this way. If you want to follow the path of self-development and luxury does not interest you, then live it. Each person has his own life path, which is to choose consciously, regardless of the opinions of others.

Everyone is free to build his own Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs and follow it. If you do not build the hierarchy yourself, then it will be built up under the influence of instincts, life circumstances, opinions of others, etc. As a result, life is spent on needs that are of low importance or not needed at all. You also have to meet the needs of others, if you do not satisfy personal ones, chosen consciously.

Whatever the primary needs, they need funding. Therefore, you should deal with financial education and take care of sources of income, which will be the foundation for achieving any of your goals.

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