Maslow’s Hierarchy, (or Pyramid), of Needs is one of the central ideas in modern economics and sociology. The work of a once little-known American psychologist, it has grown into an indispensable guide to understanding the modern world. This film explains who Maslow was, what his pyramid is, and why it matters so much.
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“One of the most legendary ideas in the history of psychology is located in an unassuming triangle divided into five sections referred to universally simply as ‘Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs’.

This profoundly influential pyramid first saw the world in an academic journal in the United States in 1943, where it was crudely drawn in black and white and surrounded by dense and jargon-rich text. It has since become a mainstay of psychological analyses, business presentations and online lectures – and grown ever more colourful and emphatic in the process…”


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Produced in collaboration with:

Mike Booth

Title animation produced in collaboration with

Vale Productions


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46 thoughts on “Why Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs Matters”

  1. How does your life measure up on Maslow's Hierarchy? Let us know in the comments below and to join your fellow School of Life audience members, be sure to download our new free app:

  2. I'm thinking about if Maslow was alive now and saw things like The school of Life or Mindvalley or TED talks… he would be really happy and felt like capitalism was working towards being truly enlightened!

  3. That hierarchy is incorrect. According to the opulent psychologist of all time, the Priest of God Jesus Christ. The Maslow's lists is wrong based on His ideas for life. The right propriety of life He enlisted as follow: "But first seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness and everything else will be added". That's God correcting us. So who is right here?

  4. It occurs to me that the need for "self-actualization" has arisen out of all the meaningless work in modern industrial and post-industrial societies.

    I find growing fresh vegetables to be one of the most satisfying things I've done in life; unfortunately I have long lived in an apartment with no patio or even window to grow anything in.

    Seems to me that farming, raising and hunting animals for protein, chopping wood, carrying water, maintaining homes, tools, and clothing, and assisting the community in larger building projects would be a naturally fulfilling life for a human. Whereas, crunching numbers, writing programs, flipping burgers, working on assembly lines, managing people, etc., can appear meaningful intellectually, but actually do little to fulfill our natural instinctive needs.

    We've sold ourselves into slavery with our stories about how wonderful and advanced our technological civilization is. Now we imagine we have all our material needs met and yet feel a gnawing underlying dissatisfaction that won't go away, and we imagine the solution is to seek meaning in "self-actualization."

    When most of us think about what "self-actualization" is, do we think it means: do something that society (over)values and win attention and acclaim for it? Do we mean: "be amazing" in the way we imagine others think is amazing, great, successful, etc.?

  5. never let your upper pyramid be dominated by politics.

    if you do, you`ll become, with absolute certainty, either a maniac or someone who claims they`re not a maniac all of their life.

  6. Okay so. At 5:25 I disagree with how Maslow’s theory is depicted. It shows widened self actualization with smaller physiological needs. You cannot have Self actualization or evening safety needs without the foundation of your Physiological needs being fulfilled…? No? I don’t think this is explained well. Please correct me if you disagree …..@theschooloflife

  7. Imagine if we could apply this to humanity at large. Cure Hunger. Provide shelter. Provide security and certainty of resources. Grow connected safe and supportive communities focused upon education that provides a framework for personal development and skills training in early life. Then sit back and watch people self actualize.

  8. In this day and age in 2020, we need two more that should be on top of the pyramid! We have 7 chakras in our body and we have 7 colors of the rainbow, that is our true nature and balance on this Earth plain.

  9. like you said you eat for free, so you've got the first part of the pyramid nailed. A lot of what we are discussing seems to fall in the upper tip of the pyramid as you are in the process of self actualization. Give it some time.

  10. Remake this video while removing the ambiguous words spiritual and soul and you’ll have a better grasp of the pyramid.

  11. The Maslow paradigm does not seem to have much of a place for love, family, or community. Self-actualization is a limited idea since it is inconceivable without any of them. Consider these essay topics: "Charity is the highest aspiration." "There is no self without others." Pick one and discuss.

  12. I've only got the bottom 2, and part of the third one down. I don't worry too much, about the top 2. I don't see them as that important.

  13. From my point of view, Maslow‘s hierarchy, misses important part, Loving and be loved. It should be added to each layer of the module. Without this, there will be no big difference between Primates (even primates show loving and be loved to each other) and human being especially when whole family members are suffering from
    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. Thank you for sharing.

  14. I always thought of the chart as a road rather than a triangle. When basic survival is right in front of you, self actualization always seems far away. Also if you are distracted into looking down at the ground in front of you, you are no longer looking down the road to where you should be headed

  15. Maslow repudiated the hierarchy of needs in his book Motivation and Personality (1987, 3rd Edition). His beliefs lined up more closely with those of Dr. William Glasser. Maslow's pyramid has continued appeal because it aligns with the societal perception that only the best achieve the heights of the pyramid's peak.

  16. We have polled out many people out of poverty. The media however has a huge responsibility if they dont focus a bit more on succes than we will never see this. But wat Maslow says is right. But there is also something elles. Why we dont teach this in school. From kindergarten to Elementary and byond.

  17. 1-What is safety?
    2-Given many sacrifice their life for their family, is that not misplaced? Would family not be better placed at the very bottom?

  18. I first learned about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs when I went to grad school to study business and finance. It changed my life because it changed the way I SAW my life. My parents are survivors. They felt as long as I had the basics (food, clothing, shelter, health insurance) everything is fine. When it was time for me to go out into the "real world" they said, find a job that provides a retirement plan, health insurance and enough money to buy a house and a car. I wanted to be a filmmaker. Nope – they said filmmaking is for rich, white men – not for a poor, black woman.

    I asked, once you have the basics covered, what is the point? What is the reason to keep living, using up the Earth's natural resources (like water), and not committing suicide? Seriously. There is a difference between surviving and living a fulfilling life. Before grad school, I knew I wanted to live, not just survive. I was once angry with my parents, but I forgave them because I realized only a self-actualized person can raise and support a self-actualized child. That's why it took me until my late 20s going to grad school to learn about this pyramid. Money makes the world go around so you need it to cover the basics (rent, food, etc). I always understood that. But everyone's ultimate goal should be financial freedom and self-actualization – no matter how long it takes to get there.

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