What is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? A Complex System Explained Simply

What is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? A Complex System Explained Simply


A Quick Intro To The System

Abraham Maslow’s system of needs is one that can be a little complex, I will include a series of diagrams to make it simple.

His system, known as the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” is a 5 tiered pyramid. It starts with a solid foundation of essentials and builds up to a peak where Self Actualization, and your “Superhero” resides.

Lets Levelup!…


Abraham Maslow’s Initial Views

Initially, Maslow’s system consisted of 5 tiers…

What is Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? A Complex System Explained Simply


1. Biological & Physiological Needs- Food, Air, Water, Sleep, Shelter, Warmth, Sex.
Biological= of or relating to biology or to life and living processes.
Physiological= characteristic of or appropriate to an organism’s healthy or normal functioning.

* Our foundation, a solid one is crucial to any type of building or structure. whether it be of the architectural type like a pyramid, or of the mental type associated with Leveling Up! LOL

2. Safety Needs- protection from the weather, order, stability, security, law, free of danger.

3. Belonging & Love Needs- friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love. Relating, being part of a collective or group. For example; family, friends, or coworkers.

4. Esteem or Self Confidence Needs- Maslow divided this into two parts:

(A) Esteem for your self, your dignity, achievements, your independence, and mastery of some skill or talent.
(B) The desire for reputation or respect from others, status, prestige. Maslow states the need for respect or reputation paramount for children and teens.


5. Self-actualization needs- realizing personal potential,

self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences. A desire “to become everything one is capable of becoming”->Maslow, A. H. Motivation and personality (3rd ed.). Delhi, India: Pearson Education.




The Five-Tiered Model Is Separated into Two Parts; Deficiency & Growth Needs


*The bottom half is called deficiency needs (D-needs), and the top half of the pyramid is called growth/being needs or (B-needs).

Deficiency needs are to be taken care of as soon as possible, for mental and physical health reasons. The longer an individual is deprived of a deficiency need, the stronger their desire to fulfill it becomes.

For example when you are thirsty and need water, the longer you go without it the more thirsty you become.

Growth needs can be satisfied more efficiently when deficiency needs have been satisfied.



Growth needs are a result of a desire to Levelup and grow, they don’t come from a lack of something. After you have satisfied the growth needs and spent enough time learning about yourself and becoming confident in yourself and your abilities.

The door to the last level Self Actualization will slowly start to open up, and you will see yourself become your best self, a little at a time…you would have entered the phone both as your normal self, and become your “best self”, your “super you”!! Your own kind of Superhero!



Most everyone has the need/drive to reach the top of the pyramid to Self Actualization, the only problem is most of us who have tried over and over again to reach the top, have been focusing on the big prize too much without first satisfying the lower level needs like safety or belonging and love needs.

It’s like attempting to climb up a latter with the first two or three steps missing, pretty hard to do. So even though they are lower level needs they are paramount to the Self Development Process.

If you are worried about where your next meal will come from, you don’t have the energy to waste on exploring your talents and Leveling up.

If you don’t eat, or drink, or have a

place to stay who cares about hobbies and talents!? Right?



Hierarchy of Needs Summarized


(A) Human Beings are Motivated by a hierarchy of needs

(B) Needs are organized in a hierarchy of prepotency in which more basic needs must more or less (rather than all or none) prior to higher needs.

(C) The order of needs is not rigid but instead may be flexible based on external circumstances or individual differences.

(D) Most behavior is multi-motivated, that is simultaneously determined by more than on basic need.




Maslow’s Revised Hierarchy Of Needs

Maslow later revised his system to 8-tiers…

What is Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? A Complex System Explained Simply



The Three Levels Added to The Pyramid in White, represent Maslow’s Revised Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid


* Cognitive Needs – knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability.

* Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

* Transcendence needs – A person is motivated by values which transcend beyond the personal self (For example mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science, religious faith, etc.).


After more research, he decided to revise The Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid making it less rigid. The revisions seem to account or personality traits and outside factors. I understand it as a list of things to do in order to better align myself with up-ward movement to the top!


(A) Foster a thirst for knowledge and understanding. 

(B) Don’t forget what being a kid feels like. And experience new things.

(C) Look for hobbies or talents for work/life balance. 


If we look at it that way, these are the keys to moving faster through the Heirarchy of Needs progressions,

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid can help us to at least keep our minds on an upward path. Allowing us to maintain focus while driving on the road to Self Actualization and our best self.



Thanks for reading…

Please leave any comments below.





8 thoughts on “What is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? A Complex System Explained Simply

  1. Abram Mikhailov

    very good information. i want to reach self actualization but like you diagram say. i still need esteem. i will follow this website to improve myself.

  2. Danny

    I’m glad to help Abram, Self Actualization is what we all hope to achieve and something we must all work for on a regular basis, to make it possible. Please keep reading, I hope you find the rest of the site useful.



  3. Eli

    Thank you for this article on Maslow’s hierarchy of need.
    It is something I have been aware of for a long time and therefore I find your article summarizes it quite well. However, from the point of it being a fact of life to being able to use this knowledge there’s a gap that must be filled with self development and personal development which in themselves form the hierarchy of spirituality.
    the fact of the 5 being added to 8 make this current and valuable. Mostly people however are controlled by wants which are disconnected from needs and that’s where the problem is. Many examples, just one where food is concerned do we eat what we want or what we need and are the two far apart?

    1. Danny

      Awesome Eli,
      Great point you make, I think the majority of people are eating what they want much more than what they need. I also believe the gap between the two are really far apart. From my perspective they are worlds away, as most of what we think is good from commercials and misleading food labels is just that misleading. I will be writing an group of posts on Nutrition in the near future as I feel your physical and mental health are integral parts of being a better you and leveling up. I hope to hear more from you Eli on these posts and any others you find interesting.


  4. I´m happy to see this again – I wasnt aware that he´d revised the triangle. I encountered Maslov´s triangle years ago and it´s stayed in my mind ever since.

    My concept of the 5 level triangle was that each level has levels within them.When we satisfy the basics, we can improve them. So, at the entrance levels we may have bread and water available… and a bamboo hut… and as we start moving on… and levelling up… we can continually iprove that status of the lower level… start eaching fish, fruit etc…

    The problem as I´ve aways seen it… is that a lot of the materialistically inclined maintain their focus on these lower levels with excess ´needs focus´ related to eg materialism and ego… and seek the caviar and mansion while not endeavouring to consider the healthier development of the upper levels…

    Thanks for the reminder post 😉

    1. Danny

      Thank you for your comment…I am happy to have reintroduces Maslov to you, and it seems that you have a good grasp of philosophy by your mention of the “Id, Ego, and Superego” as Freud calls them. What do you think? do you think that people who struggle with excess lower level gratification are Id-centric or Superego-centric?

      Thank you Leonie, I hope to chat more with you here at levelup!

  5. Stanley Winn

    very informative. thanks danny!

    1. Danny

      And thank you Stanley for your encouragment

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