We were taught Manslow's theory also. It's rather grey sometimes what falls into which category, and a lot depends on an individual's personality. My best friend from childhood, a man I still consider my brother, grew up with 10 siblings and was hence quite poor. My father paid for his tuition and often his clothing (since we attended a private academy, our clothing was not optional and we weren't allowed to wear private clothes such as StyleMAN described). Rather than going on to study law, which is what his father had hoped for, he decided to enter the seminary and study theology, and is now a reverend (I believe he is now a "High Reverend" or something like that). Anyway, to Mark, being a member of the clergy was a thing of great honor, kind of like being a rock star to some people, or a CEO. Mark is obviously quite proud of his accomplishment, and considers it a great achievement, as do my parents (although his, I think, are still somewhat upset that he did not pursue a higher-paying career). However, he doesn't make much money at all. He chooses to live a simple life, which he always has, even when he was a kid (we used to make fun of him for not kissing girls, smoking pot with us, not swearing, etc). He was very ambitious and extremely self-disciplined (the most disciplined person I have ever known in my life, actually - I always looked up to him for that), and would have been quite successful in whatever he chose to do. I still don't quite understand why he entered the clergy, but I do know that for him, service of this type must fall into one of those categories outside of self-improvement, or else his "self-improvement" comes before many of the other categories.