Podcast 018 – “Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization & What It Means For Us” with Marilyn McGraw

The term self-actualization was first made famous by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1950’s and is the ultimate goal of his hierarchy of needs (see below).  The theory, which describes a process by which an individual can reach his or her own full personal potential, plays a fundamental role in current education, health, and social justice practices.

Our podcast guest today shares insight into how we as followers of Christ can analyze and understand a secular theory like this one. What does it mean for a Christian to self-actualize?  How, if at all, can we glean truth from research and concepts that aren’t rooted in scripture? What role does the gospel play in Maslow’s theory of self-actualization, and what might this mean for the church?

Join us as we uncover the theory and seek to better understand self-actualization from a Christian perspective.


Image by: https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html


Digging Deeper:

Consider reading through these scriptures in light of Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. How do they contend with or complement the theory? What do they imply about our aspirations and gifts? How and for whom should the goal of self-actualization be?

  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”   
  • John 18:36 – “My Kingdom is not of this world.” 
  • Philippians 3:12 – “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6 –  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
  • Matthew 10:29 – “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will lose it.”
  • John 13:34-35 – “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


About Our Guest: Dr. MarilynMcGraw is the Founder/CEO of Excellence At Work where her role focuses on individual and corporate coaching, speaking engagements, training, meeting facilitation, and retreats. Dr. Marilyn has developed a “just do it” style that motivates and encourages clients to achieve higher levels of personal and professional effectiveness. She is the author of Running Away for Three Weeks, an inspirational autobiography designed to prepare readers for maximum effectiveness in the workplace; creator of Discovering Your Workplace Gifts, an assessment to help individuals identify the gifts they were motivated to discover; and author of Six Steps to Excellence for Leaders, a road map to personal and professional excellence for all leaders.

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