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Six Human Needs

November 17, 2023

Six Human Needs

What’s shaping your life? Do you know what drives you?

Most people struggle with these questions. They’re not easy and you can’t answer them with generalized knowledge. It’s not what your goals are, or the things you want to have or do. At our deepest level, we have six human needs and every one of us is driven by these needs, some more than others. I remember coming across this ‘six human needs’ analysis from Tony Robbins at a seminar twenty years ago. I liked it so much I adapted it for our own training and development manuals.

Six Human Needs

  1. Certainty
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Significance
  4. Connection & Love
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

Finding out what our core needs are will tell us why we want what we want and why we do what we do. Understanding ourselves on this level helps us analyse the decisions we make to see if they’re really in our best interests. The awareness gives us the clarity to make rational decisions based on who we really are and what we really want, not what we think we are or want. It’s a look into our unconscious mind.

I thought that the contrasting need for certainty and uncertainty (stability and variety) would change as we grew older, from the almost ‘ADD’ of the adolescent to the fear of change for the elderly. I still have strong needs for both. I’ve lived and worked from the same location for 35 years next month and have no desire to change. Many of our client relationships exceed that. Gaby and I have been married almost ten years (friends for 23 years) and no plans to change.🙏😊

I guess those are my pillars of stability and from that I crave variety and newness. A lack for too long can feel death-like at a certain level. So, it’s hugely frustrating for me to have my creative output stifled and stunted these last four years with COVID and the supply chain disruptions. But on new product development (NPD) we have a bumper year of newness coming which started with our sell-out Eureka Blow-dry Balm and continues with equally ground-breaking products through to next Xmas. 4-5 years of NPD all finally realised in a twelve-month period. Watch this space.

There’s no clear-cut answer to which of the six human needs you are and why. On every level, we all have parts of each need. This is a foundation to help us understand the decisions we make and why we make them.

  1. Certainty

There are people in this world that have a fundamental need to be certain. They want to know exactly what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. They must know exactly what the outcome is. They don’t like chance, don’t like huge risks and are looking for whatever it is that’ll give them complete certainty. People driven by certainty may hold themselves back from opportunities or experiences in life and from taking chances. Having a need for certainty provides a “safe” predictable life at times which is what they want, but isn’t always what’s best.

  1. Uncertainty

If we have certainty as a human need, we must have uncertainty or variety. Just like certainty, there are individuals that are driven by uncertainty and the unknown. They must have change, takes risks, and love to be spontaneous.

Someone who loves uncertainty is very adaptable to new changes and looks forward to them. They hate the day-to-day grind and cannot stand the routine nine to five. They are gamblers, risk takers, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Life must be filled with variety and a high level of the unknown.

  1. Significance

Anyone driven by significance is always looking for ways to gain importance. A person driven by significance needs to feel like the centre of attention, they always want to be the “popular” one. With every one of the six human needs you can gain your fix by any number of means, with significance it can be contributing to society or taking a hostage.

If you give and contribute to a greater cause, instantly you are significant and if you’re in the hood and you hold a gun to someone’s head, instantly you’re significant in that situation. Someone who is driven by significance can either be the most selfless giving person you know or the most selfish person you know. If they’re giving and selfless, they maybe satisfying their need for significance by giving to others and lending a helping hand. If they are selfish they may be getting their fix of significance by social posturing and notoriety.

  1. Connection & Love

Everyone in the world needs one or the other, most settle for connection because love is too scary and they don’t know how to deal with it. Either way, we are social creatures and everyone has a need on some level to have connection and love in their life. You can very easily make the association with those that are more driven by this need.

We all know the friend that always has to be in a relationship…and if they’re not they are not happy. We also know people who never date, are always by themselves and enjoy their personal and alone time. There’s no right or wrong, it’s just what it is.

Understanding connection and love and how it drives you or those around you will give you an ability to understand oneself and those around you on another level. If you are driven by connection and love, you have deep meaningful relationships and are very in touch with those closest to you.

  1. Growth

If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Nothing stands still, and this is true with us. Nothing ever stays the same – there is no such thing as constant in our world. Growth is a desire of the spirit and something that everyone needs. We are all driven by growth, some more than others of course, but as humans we have a desire to grow and learn and conquer. If you are driven by growth, you love personal development, you love reading and educating yourself and most importantly you love to share that newfound knowledge with others.

  1. Contribution

Similar to growth, this is also a need of the spirit. Everyone at some time in our lives has a desire to contribute beyond ourselves. We all have something unique to contribute to this world and we have a desire to do that.

Significance and contributing beyond ourselves can be similar or the same, based on the way you seek significance and fulfilment, but it can also be very different. Those that are most driven by this are those that give back the most, contribute the most to society, make the largest donations etc.

The Firewalk

Tony Robbins also brought this idea to a new audience in the West. Firewalking has been practised around the world by many cultures, but the earliest known reference goes back to iron age India. It’s often used as a rite of passage, a test of religious faith or strength and courage.

The idea of walking over burning hot embers or stones with bare feet seems crazy, and therein lies the power to transform belief systems. Tony managed to organise this for thousands of people at a time at his huge events. When I first did it, the burning coals seemed around 40 feet long, but each year got noticeably shorter. Out of thousands of participants it was inevitable that some people got burnt and I guess Health & Safety or insurance intervened.

Michael Van Clarke

 





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