As humans, we are funny creatures…. all very unique and yet, very much the same. We are driven by the same six fundamental needs that everyone has in common, and all behavior is simply an attempt to meet those six needs. That’s where we are the same. Now where we are all unique is how we attempt to meet these needs.
The Six Human Needs
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
For example, one person can meet their need for Connection/Love by spending quality time with their spouse while another person meets this need by instigating a fight with their spouse to get their attention.
Significance is a very important need. It’s a belief that one’s life has meaning and importance. Some people will meet this need by creating an internal competition with others, or by tearing down those around them to make themselves feel more significant. While others may strive to meet this need through authentic connection with other human beings who will see them as a significant force in their life.
The force behind our lives is the desire to be fulfilled. But when your needs aren’t being met in an authentic way, it creates a lack of. Taking it a step further….per Anthony Robbins, all dysfunctional behaviors arise from the inability to consistently meet these needs. When our attempts to reach fulfillment fail, we will settle for comfort—or for meeting our needs on a small scale.
The ultimate need to be met is Contribution. This is the holy grail of happiness. Honestly, think back to a time that you were coming from a place of pure giving. Maybe you volunteered at a local soup kitchen, purchased an unexpected gift to brighten someone’s day or paid for someone’s coffee in line behind you at Starbuck’s. Didn’t that feel great? You can’t help but feel fulfilled and satisfied when you come from a place of contribution.
Time to Take Action
Being 100% honest.
1. Which of these six needs do you tend to focus on or value the most?
2. What are the ways (both good and bad) that you meet or attempt to meet these needs?
3. How can your level contribution in your life, relationships, work?
Simply understanding what needs you are trying to meet when you engage in your life, relationships, work, family etc.. can make a huge shift in your level of fulfillment. Acknowledging that you are meeting these needs in a negative way will almost instantly stop the behavior. And having that simple understanding can help you create new ways to meet your needs in a positive, healthy and uplifting way.