Do you want to know more about the Maslow pyramid and how it can help you get better and better?

The Maslow pyramid it is a very interesting concept that explains human needs.

If you are involved in the world of psychology or administration, you have certainly heard of Maslow's pyramid. The pyramid is also frequently applied in marketing. It is a scheme that puts human needs in a hierarchy . This tool is often used to help understand individuals' motivations and desires.

Whatever the area of study, when we talk about the needs and motivations of the human being, the Maslow pyramid is always mentioned. If you want to understand more about this concept and how it can be applied, you are in the right place.

Below you will find everything you need to know about Maslow's pyramid, its creator and its practical applications. Continue reading and check it out:

What is the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs or Maslow's Pyramid?

The Maslow Pyramid , also called Maslow's hierarchy of needs, is a concept created in the 1950s by the American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow . Its objective is to determine the set of conditions necessary for an individual to achieve satisfaction, be it personal or professional.

According to the theory, human beings live in search of meeting certain needs . For the psychologist, the prospect of meeting these needs is what generates the motivating force in individuals.

Maslow's pyramid is then used to demonstrate the hierarchy of these needs. That is, it describes which are the most basic (bottom of the pyramid) and the most elaborate (top). The basic needs are those considered necessary for survival , while the most complex are necessary to achieve personal and professional satisfaction.

See the illustrated pyramid below:

Maslow's pyramid

As you can see, the pyramid has five levels: physiology security love and relationships esteem and personal fulfillment . In the course of the text, we will explain each one better.

Who was Abraham Maslow?

Abraham Harold Maslow (1908 - 1970) was a North American psychologist and researcher. His most widespread work was, without a doubt, the hierarchy of needs.

The psychologist worked for MIT, having founded the research center National Laboratories for Group Dynamics .

In addition to the pyramid of needs, Maslow also worked with research aimed at dynamics and interactions between groups, in addition to conflict resolution techniques.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

For Maslow, the needs of the human being need to be met in a hierarchical manner . That is, before starting to think about their security needs, an individual must necessarily count on meeting all the needs in the previous section.

Let's talk a little more about each of the hierarchies in the pyramid:

Physiological Needs

These are the most basic needs, which need to be satisfied to keep the body healthy and ensure survival . They are, for example:

  • Homeostasis processes (feeling of body temperature, hormonal functioning, among others)
  • Processes of respiration sleep and digestion
  • Quenching hunger and thirst
  • Shelter availability

Maslow believed that, without these satiated needs, the individual cannot even worry about the next levels of the pyramid.

Security Needs

The need for security encompasses more than the presence of a shelter. Check out some examples:

  • Employment stability : guaranteed income
  • Body safety : safe shelter, protection from threats
  • Health security : health plans, absence of disease
  • Family safety : life insurance
  • Property security : own house, guarantee of protection of your property

In other words, this level of the pyramid deals with feelings of protection and guarantees of solutions in the face of situations that are beyond the control of the individual.

Love Needs and Relationships

These needs are related to the sense of belonging and intimacy , two essential factors for human happiness . After all, we evolved in a social way. The good relationship with the group and with peers is important for motivation schemes. Here are some examples:

  • Friendships
  • Family
  • Loving relationships
  • Sexual intimacy
  • Platonic intimacy
  • Belonging to groups or societies (church, school, activity groups, common interest groups)
  • Identification and acceptance with peers

Estimated Needs

In addition to ensuring relationships, the human being also needs to feel esteemed in them. That is, you need to develop the ability to recognize your potential. It also needs its peers to recognize and identify its value in the group. Here are some examples:

  • Self esteem
  • Confidence
  • Achievements and achievements
  • Peer recognition
  • Respect of others
  • Respect for others

Personal Achievement Needs

These are the most complex needs of the human being. However, they are essential for the individual to achieve true personal and professional fulfillment. Check out:

  • Morality : defining and following your own moral system
  • Values : know and stick to your core values
  • Independence : self-sufficiency and freedom
  • Creativity : routine that allows the individual to exercise his innovative abilities
  • Spontaneity : ability to act in an authentic and congruent way with your thoughts
  • Control : having control of your emotions and actions
  • Self-knowledge : understanding your goals, strengths and weaknesses

It takes a lot of work, reflection and self-knowledge to satisfy these needs. However, this is a very worthwhile journey.

Did you know that coaching can help you with this? Find out more about our courses right now and start this change!

Other facts about the Maslow pyramid

It is also interesting to consider that Maslow identifies three other needs after the creation of his pyramid. Are they:

  • Learning need : the individual is eager to learn, know and understand the world around him.
  • Need for aesthetic satisfaction : the search for perfection, symmetry, beauty and art.
  • Need for transcendence : faith, spirituality, connection with nature, acceptance of mortality.

The hierarchical organization, therefore, is as follows:

    1. Physiological Needs
    2. Security Needs
    3. Relationship Needs
    4. Estimated Needs
    5. Needs cognitive or learning
    6. Aesthetic Needs
    7. Self Realization Needs
    8. Transcendence Needs

In addition, it is important to highlight some characteristics of the Maslow pyramid:

  1. One step must be quenched, at least partially , for the individual to move to the next level of the hierarchy.
  2. The needs for self-realization are never completely satisfied , since new goals always arise .
  3. Physiological needs are born with human beings, that is, they are common to everyone in the species . They are also the easiest to satisfy.
  4. By conquering elements of a group, the individual will be motivated to pursue those at the next level in the hierarchy.
  5. Frustrations , fears, anxieties and insecurity can be interpreted as consequences of failure to meet certain needs.

Maslow's Theory for Motivation

The hierarchy of needs is often used both to explain and to incite motivation in individuals. In many theoretical views, motivation is defined as the joining of the will with actions or behaviors , in order to satisfy a need. With this definition, it is simple to understand where Maslow's pyramid fits into this equation.

Despite the rule that one level must have been met before the individual advances to the next, the pyramid is now seen as a much more flexible structure . It is possible that certain factors at one level are not so relevant to motivation, for example. In the meantime, it is likely that someone is actively seeking to fulfill their needs at different levels.

For example, a person motivated to move up the career ladder may be extracting motivation from all of these factors:

  • Financial stability (level 2)
  • Belonging to a group (level 3)
  • Peer recognition (level 4)
  • Respect for others (level 4)
  • Achievements and achievements (level 4)
  • Creativity (level 5)
  • Independence (level 5)

To maintain motivation, it is important to understand what we are looking for and what our goals are. Maslow's pyramid can help map these goals and better understand what needs we are trying to meet with them.

Maslow's pyramid applied to the profession

Maslow's pyramid has been adapted to the professional environment in order to better exemplify how human needs can be understood within a corporate environment.

Meeting these needs means employees who are more motivated and happier with their jobs . Paying attention to details like these can help a company reduce costs, streamline processes and decrease employee turnover.

Check below the adaptation of the Maslow pyramid for the professional environment to better understand the needs of employees in a job:

  • Base : physical and mental rest, sufficient salary, availability of meal times and breaks during working hours.
  • 2nd level: guarantee of stability, good salary, safe and accident-free work environment.
  • 3rd level: good relations with leaders and peers, build friendships in the work environment, feel welcomed by the people of the company
  • 4th level: be recognized for your results, win increases or prizes, have your opinion as a respected professional
  • Top : to have autonomy in their decisions, to participate in important decisions for the company, to exercise a function that they like and for which they are qualified, to use their creative and problem-solving skills on a daily basis.

What is the real importance of the Maslow Pyramid?

Maslow's pyramid is a tool with incredible potential. It can help you in your self-knowledge process , especially in understanding the factors that trigger motivation in you.

To stay motivated and achieve your goals, you will need to go beyond knowing your goals: you need to understand what drives you towards them .

Maslow's pyramid is perfect to assist in this exercise. You can, for example, identify what level your goals are at, better understanding what you are looking for and finding more ways to achieve your goals .

In addition, applied to the corporate environment, the Maslow pyramid can help companies ensure that their teams are always motivated. People who have their basic needs met create a healthier, more creative and productive environment. Maintaining motivation is capable of reducing costs, enhancing results, reducing turnover and improving the optimization of processes.

Maslow's Pyramid applied to Coaching

For Maslow, happiness is directly linked to meeting the needs illustrated in the pyramid hierarchy. In other words, it is necessary for the individual to satisfy the highest levels of the pyramid to achieve feelings of triumph and accomplishment.

Self-actualization is even defined by the author as the impulse to raise one's potential to the maximum, seeking a genuine expression of its essence.

The self-realized person always seeks to act by promoting the well-being and development of the people around him. If you follow our blog, you may have already identified how Maslow's pyramid can be applied to coaching.

Coaching uses concepts from positive psychology and several other knowledge schools, seeking to promote self-knowledge and self-improvement. Understanding your motivations and needs is part of this process, enabling a broader understanding of your goals.

Exercise: identifying your motivations

We would like to propose an exercise in self-reflection. You can use the traditional pyramid, the expanded pyramid or even the one applied to the professional environment for this.

The important thing is that you think about what the most important needs are for you . It is also interesting that you reflect on how they interact with your long-term goals.

Understanding why you want what you want can help you find more ways to get there. In addition, you can find a lot of motivation when you better understand your desires.

Follow the steps below for this reflection:

  1. Draw or write the levels of needs of the pyramid.
  2. Above the pyramid, write one of your biggest goals or dreams .
  3. Identify in the pyramid, starting from the first level, all the needs that would be met when reaching these objectives.
  4. Which of these needs are most important to you ? It's because?

Most frequent criticisms of the Maslow's Pyramid

Maslow's pyramid theory was undoubtedly revolutionary when compared to previous attempts to describe motivating factors associated with the personality of individuals. It is, until today, widely used and applied in different types of situations.

However, there are still criticisms of the schematisations of needs , especially regarding hierarchy. For this reason, the pyramid is now seen as a much more flexible structure than described by Maslow.

Some theorists even claim that there is no evidence of a hierarchical system for our needs. Thus, it is believed that all of them are equally important for personal satisfaction. In addition, it is theorized that they can be achieved in any order.

However, the needs described by Maslow are widely recognized as motivating and important factors for personal and professional fulfillment. The vast majority of criticisms of the theory are centered on the issue of hierarchy and ordering of priorities in these needs. We also find criticisms from the misinterpretation of the term "need", which is often confused with "desire".

In general, no theory related to the motivation after the creation of the Maslow pyramid contradicts or invalidates the concept. The pyramid, even today, is extremely relevant to the various areas of study where it is applied.


Maslow's pyramid can be a powerful ally in your journey to self-knowledge and motivation . A better understanding of your needs and how they interact with your goals and objectives is essential to staying motivated.

In addition, this knowledge can help you find paths that lead to your goals, or even adjust your goals according to the most important needs for you.

Despite being created in the 1950s, the Maslow pyramid is still one of the most relevant and applied concepts in the area of human needs and motivations. From later criticisms, today the structure is seen in a more flexible way, but still maintains its theoretical and practical value.

Did you already know Maslow's pyramid? What do you think about this concept? Share your opinion with us in the comments and don't forget to leave your question if you have any questions!


MA student of the TransAtlantic Masters program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Political Science with a focus on European Studies. Expressed ideas are open to revision. He not only covers Technical articles but also has skills in the fields of SEO, graphics, web development and coding. .

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