Hierarchy of Needs | Psychology

Maslow’s Basic &
Expanded Hierarchy of Needs

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

How can we apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Expanded Hierarchy of Needs in our personal life? Let’s find out what we can learn.


Once upon a time, there was an American psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow who had this theory “that every person has a strong desire to realize his or her full potential, to reach a level of “self-actualization.”

He also believed that our  psychological health was the foundation on which all other needs were based—culminating in self-actualization.

For a while, his theory fell by the wayside. Other psychologist argued that his theory had some flaws. But as the story goes, years later his theory was expanded and revived.  Even more so, his expanded “Hierarchy of Needs” is one of the most influential ones among today’s popular theories.

The concepts posed by Maslow are the fundamental premises of the Four Pillars of Health. And, just like Maslow, I have often pondered on the question: “Why don’t more people self-actualize if their basic needs are met?”

  • Is it because we live in a time the needs and values posed by Maslow have changed?
  • Is it because we live in a society where many people have giving up on reaching their fullest potential?
  • Is it because we have accepted the fact that just being good enough is the norm?
  • Is it because we have given up on the dreams we once had?
  • Is it something else keeping you from moving forward?

Whatever your answer, there is still time…

Hierarchy of Needs Exercise

Take a look at the original “Hierarchy of Needs” and ask yourself:
“Where am I today?” Are all your physiological needs met? What about your next level needs— safety and security? Do you feel loved by family and friends? As you move up the pyramid, write down your responses.

Next, ask yourself: “What can I improve?” And, “With what do I need help?”

And, remember, it is difficult to reach the next level when needs on the lower level are not satisfied.

Infographic by Margit Willems for FourPillarsofHealth.club