Saturday, January 5, 2008

Overturning Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

I have seen a few comments lately that chastise PF bloggers for obsessing about retirement and not living for today. It’s true that sometimes when you have a goal you tend to focus too closely on that goal at the expense of everything else in life. Its important to keep things in perspective and helpful to remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

A strong foundation is needed to reach the higher levels. But that foundation must also be maintained, if it is allowed to erode or break down, everything could topple.
Maslow recognized this inherent human flaw.

According to Maslow from his book entitled "On Dominance, Self-Esteem, and Self-Actualization, by A.H Maslow":

"If they are dominated by a higher need, this higher need will seem to be the most important of all. It then becomes possible, and indeed does actually happen, that they may, for the sake of this higher need, put themselves into the position of being deprived in a more basic need."

He recognized that we often obsess about our goals and leave behind other matters which are vitally important. It’s possible to see this flaw, where we have effectively turned the hierarchy upside down, in many different areas of our lives.

For instance, some of us have become too focused on our careers. We work so much that we don’t have time or energy to create a healthy meal at home. Consequently, we grab something fast and eat junk food. This upsets part of the good foundation that healthy food provides. Others spend so much time surfing/blogging and playing video games that they neglect their families, parenting duties, home maintenance, etc. While others enjoy the moment by making excessive purchases and neglecting to plan and fund their retirements. These actions erode the foundation, impact relationships and jeopardize our futures.

Its great to have goals and the drive to achieve them, but it’s also essential to apply moderation to achieve a happy and fulfilled life.


  1. If your'e going to qute somethign you better reference it!!

  2. Thanks for pointing out the oversight, Anonymous!