I recently stumbled upon this book and devoured it.
Basically all three of them say the same thing, using different words and starting from different vantage points. Looking from each of those vantage points offers the traveler a vastly improved perspective on the subject.
Maslow says that after it was able to satisfy its basic and social needs it’s up to each individual to ‘spread its wings’ and determine where it wants to go from there on – ‘self actualization’ in his own terms.
Frankl says that it’s more important to understand than to have.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
No, it doesn’t contradict Maslow, it just starts from where Maslow has set his subjects free. While Maslow had taken his students up to a wide plateau and set them free to choose their own paths, Frankl – after having to endure conditions way crueler than any of those mentioned by Maslow as ‘basic and social needs’ – takes his students by the hand and leads them away from the precipice.
Maslow couldn’t conceive that anybody would go back after being shown the light, Frankl had experienced on his own skin the consequences of some idiots doing just that.
Finally Csikszentmihalyi brings forward a ‘how to’ guide, some very powerful advice about how to reach the pinnacle of our own potential.
From here it’s really up to us.