World leading life-coach, business strategist, speaker and best-selling author Anthony Robbins has worked with over 3 million people. Through decades of research, Robbins concluded that there are six human needs that are responsible for every choice we make throughout our life. These needs are not wants or desires we have, but profound needs that are responsible for our decisions and shape the direction of our life.
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Every single day, every person needs to fulfill these needs in some kind of way. Fulfilling these needs can happen in a positive resourceful and constructive way or through unresourceful and destructive ways.
Need #1: Certainty
Certainty is the first need. Certainty is the need for safety, security, predictability, comfort and the need to be in control of things. It involves the idea that we desire to have the security of what’s coming next. Certainty also acts as a type of ‘survival mechanism’. What do I mean by that? Well, by survival mechanism I mean the type of risks we impose on ourselves. Whether that is the risk in our everyday job, relationships, investments we make etc. Generally, the more certainty you seek in your life, the less of a risk-taker you are. Hence your ‘risk tolerance’ comes from the level of certainty you seek in your life.
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Need #2: Uncertainty
The second need is sort of contradictive to the first one. Yet so many of us require a high level of uncertainty in our lives. Let me explain this one to you. Uncertainty or Variety is the need for adventure, surprise, chaos, challenges, excitement, and difference. Some of us require uncertainty/variety in different areas. I’m someone who needs a lot of uncertainty when it comes to love relationships. Certainly, having a sense of security with your loved one is inevitable and important. Yet adventures, excitement, and chaos are amongst those aspects of uncertainty I also require. Let me ask you this… Do you like surprises? Well, I bet you do… but in actual fact, you only like those surprises that you actually like. The ones you don’t like you call problems. Yet we unconsciously have a need for them as these force us to push back against something and build ourselves for growth.
Need #3: Significance
Significance has to do with feeling a sense of meaning. We need to feel important, proud, special, needed, wanted, and most importantly… worthy of love. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Everyone has their very own way of meeting the need of feeling significant. I know quite a handful of people who meet that need by bragging how much money they have, gossiping about others with their friends or uploading selfies onto their Snapchat story all day. We all know someone like this. Now, don’t get me wrong, but the need for significance can also be met through different ways. For the sake of this example, let’s just use Sam Walton, founder of Wal-mart, and for a time, America’s richest man. Sam drove around Bentonville, Arkansas, in his old pickup, demonstrating he didn’t need a Bentley, Ferrari, Mercedes or whatever – but of course, he did have his own private fleet of jets standing by. The point is this… everyone has their very own way of meeting the need to feel significant, and some are more resourceful and constructive than others.
Need #4: Love & Connection
This involves the need for communication, intimacy, approval, and attachment. We all need to feel loved in some kind of way. Love could almost be seen as the ‘oxygen’ of life. Now as some of you might or might not know, experiencing love with someone can give us a lot of happiness. Nevertheless, whenever that love falls apart, we tend to experience tremendous pain. We then settle in connection hoping that we can somehow transform that feeling of connection to something more meaningful… love. We all have different ways to feel this connection. Some get it through intimacy, others from friends, others from prayers. If none of these work out… get a dog. 🙂
Need #5: Growth
This is the need for constant emotional, intellectual and spiritual development. No matter how many friends you have, no matter how much money you have in your bank account etc. nothing really matters. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.
Need #6: Contribution
Now, this need, very few people can truly meet. The need for contribution involves giving something to others. It involves the need to go beyond ourselves, give, care, and protect others. Someone once told me that we can find true happiness by helping others achieve what they want… through this, we feel true contribution. True meaning comes not from achieving something for yourself. It comes from what you can give to others. That’s how you create meaning… at least, that’s what I believe. 🙂 As Robbins says, ‘the secret of living is giving’. Think about it. Life is not about you… it’s about us. Ask yourself this; What is the first thing you do when you get good or exciting news? Let me guess, you go call someone you love or really like and share it with them. So sharing enhances everything you experience.
Take-home message. You may require more of one need than another. This can often depend on the quality of your childhood upbringing. The first four needs are needs that every person will get met in one way or another. Yet the last two needs is where the art of deep fulfillment and joy lies. They are needs of the spirit.