Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is flawed || XLRI (2021)

August 14, 2022 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q): I try to experiment with and apply the philosophies I have heard of in class to real life situations. So, during one of our classes, I came across a philosophy called ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’.

In that hierarchy, self-actualization was placed at the top of the pyramid. And I think that for many of the individuals, including myself, our long-term goal is either instinct-based or security-based. If you ask me, I will say that I want to become a CEO of a company, which is a security-based or an esteem-based need. But the self-actualization need won’t be a long-term goal for many.

Do you think that having a long-term goal of attaining self-actualization, which in turn is spiritual, is important? Do you think that creating awareness about self-actualization in an individual from an early age is important?

Acharya Prashant (AP): See, the way Maslow constructed his pyramid is good, nicely indicative, but not very exact. Self-actualization is not something that stands distinct from all your other needs. The way that pyramid stands is, you say, “Once all my lower needs are satisfied, only then I


Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More