Tag Archive for: human needs

Everything that you do is consciously or unconsciously driven by one of 6 human needs. These needs motivate and inspire us to take action in positive ways. However, when some of these needs are not met consistently, your mind will unconsciously find ways to satisfy these needs. How your mind does this is not always good for you and can lead to addictions.

Tony Robbins identified these 6 human needs and how they are behind everything that we do. If you have a behavior that you can’t seem to stop, then it is likely that one of these 6 human needs is behind it.

Let’s get into these 6 human needs right now, so that you understand why you do what you do.

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The Top 6 Human Needs Explained

I’ll start by covering the first 4 needs as these are essential to life. You will always take action in ways that fulfill these needs.

1. The Need for Certainty

Everyone craves a need for certainty, safety, security, stability, comfort, control, predictability, and consistency. We like to know what is coming next so we can prepare ourselves accordingly.

We like to seek comfort and avoid the pain of not knowing what is coming next. This need also affects your tolerance for risk. The higher your need for certainty, the fewer risks you’re willing to take. You’ll take fewer risks regarding your career, relationships, investment opportunities or health.

To meet the need for certainty, you might prioritize financial security over other things in life. You may choose to watch the same movie multiple times because you know the plot and this gives you a sense of certainty. You might choose the same holiday destination and stay at the same hotel or apartment.

Other ways to meet the need for certainty include working for the same company for many years or staying with the same partner for life.

The need for certainty can also be met in negative ways. These include eating or drinking excessively, smoking, taking recreational drugs or trying to control other people to achieve an emotional need.

You might enjoy the predictability of a dysfunctional relationship or toxic work environment, even though you know its not good for you in the long term.

2. The Need for Uncertainty

This is the need for surprise, variety, challenge, excitement, adventure, change, and even chaos. It’s the complete opposite of the first need.

Do you like surprises? – I’m guessing the answer is “yes”

We love surprises, but only if they are positive and make us feel good. However, what if the surprise is a problem or unexpected challenge? What if it’s an upset, something you didn’t expect or want in your life? That changes things a little, right?

Unexpected challenges are useful and important too. They stretch you, grow your character and develop mental toughness.

Positive or neutral ways to meet the need for uncertainty include watching or playing competitive sports. Why? because we don’t know what the outcome will be.

The need for uncertainty could also be achieved by taking calculated risks towards your goals in life or by taking part in adrenaline sports.

Ultimately, you could meet this need by going on exciting trips or holidays. You may enjoy visiting various regions of the world, staying in different places and connecting with a wide variety of people.

The need for certainty and uncertainty are related. They work as a continuum. If you have too much certainty in your life, you feel bored and begin to desire variety. If you have too much variety or change in your life, this creates additional stress and worry. You then crave security and certainty.

Find the balance between certainty and uncertainty that works best for you. Know that this will change as you go through life as well.

3. The Need for Significance

This is the need for significance, meaning & pride. It is about feeling important and valued for who you are, and for what you’re bringing to society. We all want to feel loved, needed and significant.

Positive and neutral ways to achieve this need include academic achievements such as masters’ degrees and PhDs. It might involve climbing the corporate ladder to get to an executive position in a big corporation or becoming a highly successful musician, painter or athlete.

Some people meet the need for significance by volunteering or helping others, while others get it by making more money or through their spiritual life.

Negative ways to achieve significance include having more problems than anyone else!. If you have a lot of problems in your life and you always talk about them, this could be an unconscious way to meet your need for significance.

You can feel significant by putting other people down, gaining an unfair advantage or hurting other people. People can become bullies or rebellious to achieve their need for significance.

Of all the human needs, I feel that the need for significance is a fundamental reason behind many negative and harmful behaviors. It’s a powerful need for many people.

4. The Need for Love and Connection

This fourth human need is for communication, approval, and attachment. It’s about feeling connected with other people on an intimate level and loved by other human beings. Achieving this need can have some downsides. It might involve overcoming a fear of rejection or learning how to handle criticism from others.

Also, when you achieve this need, you might settle down, which makes life very predictable and certain. You then start to crave a little uncertainty and excitement!

Positive ways to meet this need include dating, intimacy, finding the perfect partner or getting married. However, you can also meet this need by joining clubs, social media groups, going to parties, hanging out with friends and interacting with new people on a social level. Walking in nature, even by yourself is also a great way to fulfill this need for love and connection.

If all else fails, get a pet! I know of several people that haven’t yet found their perfect partners, so they have a dog, cat or other pet instead. This helps them fulfill their need for love and connection.

Negative ways of meeting this need include joining a gang or a cult, settling for an average or even a codependent relationship. Perhaps, you’ve been heartbroken in the past, so you settle for an average relationship (or even stay single), so you don’t get hurt again in the future.

The need for significance and the need for love & connection are also a continuum. If you have too much significance in your life, you’ll often notice a lack of connection. This is a reason why certain celebrities become depressed, anxious and lonely. They over-emphasized significance and are now lonely and in need of love and connection.

Too much love and connection, especially in an intimate relationship can reduce your sense of identity as an individual. You’ll no longer feel important as an person. That’s when begin to value significance more than love & connection. So it’s important to strike a balance, so that you feel both significant and loved.

The Last 2 Needs

The 4 human needs that I have covered above are essential for life. We will always do things to meet our need for certainty, uncertainty, significance, and connection. As you can see, you can achieve these in a positive or negative way.

The last two human needs are less important. You can have a relatively good life without striving to achieve these two. They are called “spirit needs” and are essential for achieving happiness and fulfillment. Not everyone will achieve these, but those that do will feel truly fulfilled in life.

5. The Need for Growth

This is the need for the constant development of your intellect, body, spirit, and emotions. As the saying goes, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying“. This is about growing in all areas of life, including your health, relationships, career, finance, wisdom and spirituality.

6. The Need for Contribution

This is a need to get beyond ourselves, to care, protect, and serve other people. The idea around this need is that “it’s not about me, it’s about we“.

Have you ever received some good & exciting news? What’s the first thing you do? You probably share it with someone else. We like to share good and exciting things with other people.

This human need is not about what you get, but about who you become. Contributing makes you happy in the long term. Giving and helping other people is the key to unlocking the feelings of happiness and fulfillment.

Final Words

These are the 6 most basic human needs as identified by Tony Robbins. Let’s do a quick recap.

The first one is the need for certainty. The second one is the need for uncertainty. The third one is the need for significance, the fourth is love & connection. The final two needs are growth and contribution.

I encourage you to look at your life and discover how you can meet these needs in positive or neutral ways. You are the master of your life. You can dramatically improve your life by leveraging the true power of these needs and by meeting them using positive means.

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We have many universal human needs.  The most basic are physical such as food, water, and shelter.  Once we have these, we strive to meet our mental and emotional human needs.  These are the universal human needs that I will focus on in this article.

When these fundamental human needs are met, we feel happy and fulfilled. Our health and wellbeing can improve massively as a result.

When one or more of these universal human needs are not met, you’ll feel bad or engage in addictive behaviors that allow these needs to be met in other ways.

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These universal human needs come from the Human Givens Model. This is a method of psychotherapy that was developed in the U.K.  Here they are:

1. Safety and Security

We all want to live in an environment that is free from excessive fear. When our environment feels insecure, unpredictable, or dangerous, our mental health can suffer.

Safety and security fall into three areas. Firstly financial security.  This is feeling confident that we’re not going to lose our job, or lose our house. Secondly health. Feeling confident that our body will look after us for years to come. Thirdly physical safety. Living in an area where you feel reasonably safe walking the streets, or living with a partner that looks after you and won’t harm you.

2. Autonomy and Control

Life can be unpredictable and uncertain. However, deep down we need a sense of control and autonomy. When adversity strikes, some people rebound more quickly than others, because they have developed a good sense of internal control.

Internal control is about controlling your emotions, being assertive in relationships and making & acting on decisions. It’s also about knowing what you can directly control and what you can only influence.

If you struggle with internal control, then relax when the unexpected happens.  This will give you a new perspective.  If things outside of your control are making you feel anxious, then focus on other parts of your life that are going well and are more within your control.

3. Status

The third universal human need is status. This is about feeling accepted and valued in different social groups such as work, family or friends.
If you are unable to get this feeling of status from normal day to day activities, consider volunteering or leading something in the community that will make a difference and feels important to you.

4. Privacy

Privacy is having the time and space to reflect on life’s experiences. It’s time alone, “me time”, time to reflect on how things are going in your life. Time to consolidate your thoughts, and decide on the next step.

5. Attention

This is receiving attention from others and giving attention to others. Too much time alone can affect your mental and emotional state. The amount of attention varies among people.  More extrovert people are likely to crave attention more, but we all need this at some level.

Meet the fundamental human need for attention by spending time with family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances or even pets. Catch up with old friends, or make new friends. I highly recommend Meetup.com for finding friends with common interests. Use the phone or Skype to interact with people that live a long way from you.

Related Article: The 6 Human Needs that Drive All Good and Bad Behavior

6. Connection to a wider community

The sixth universal human need is all about connecting with a larger group of people and feeling a sense of being part of that group. This takes the focus off yourself and your own issues. It allows you to do something that goes beyond meeting your own needs and involves helping to meet the needs of others.  It’s also a great way to get out of your own head.

This sense of connection benefits your immune system, your mental health, and level of happiness and fulfillment. Consider joining a club to meet some like-minded people. Meetup.com is great for this as well.

Think about what you’re really good at and share that with other people or teach them how to do it.  We all have some skill or knowledge that we can share with others.

7. Intimacy

The seventh universal human need is intimacy. Intimacy (as defined by Human Givens) is an emotional connection with others. This includes friendship, love, intimacy, and fun. It’s the ability to share your ideas, hopes, and dreams with at least one other person. Typically this would be with a loving partner, but it could be with a close friend. As long as it’s someone that values who you are, understands you, and is willing to listen.

If you’re in a relationship, have a date night. Use this time to talk about your future, about where you’re going and your passions. Avoid talking about practical day to day issues such as money, work or the kids.

8. Look after your body

The eighth fundamental human need for a balanced life is looking after your body. Maybe you know this person. They thrive (apparently) on four or five hours sleep. They’re always first in the office. They skip lunch, believing that lunch is for wimps. They skip the gym because they’re too busy. If they feel tired, they grab a coffee. This lifestyle is not sustainable in the long term. Keep doing it and this will lead to psychological problems and stress-related illness.

It’s important to make time to look after your body. This includes getting enough good quality sleep, resting and relaxing, doing some exercise, eating healthily and visiting the doctor to get regular health checks done.

9. Competence and achievement

The ninth universal human need is having a sense of your own competence and your ability to achieve things. It’s having what it takes to meet life’s demands, feeling confident and that you’re making progress in life and achieving things.

If you have nothing to achieve or aim for, then learn a new skill. You could go to an evening class or learn online. Look back at what you enjoyed in the past. What hobbies did you have in the past that you don’t have time for now? Maybe you could start this hobby again and use that to help you meet this fundamental human need.

I also recommend setting goals in all areas of life, I start with yearly goals, then create monthly and weekly goals as stepping stones to meet my annual goals. By setting goals, you enjoy the satisfaction of watching your progress towards these goals.

10. Purpose and Meaning

The final fundamental human need is having a strong sense that your future plans are worthwhile and that you can achieve them. It’s about having beliefs and values that you stand by. Principles that guide your life.

Having a clear sense of purpose, direction and meaning will help your imagination work for you. You start to picture yourself doing things really well, thriving in new situations and becoming a different person.

People that lack a purpose or meaning in their life, often feel worthless, as if life has no meaning.  They don’t see a reason for their existence. It feels like something’s missing and they feel bored or empty. As the imagination has no positive direction, it starts to focus on what’s not working and begins to fear and imagine the worst. So your imagination needs to go where you are going.

If you need more help with fulfilling this universal human need, then I suggest taking some time out to evaluate what you want to achieve in your life. Once decided, create a plan of action to do that.

Don’t spend months or years trying to figure out what your purpose or meaning in life is. There could be several that fit you equally well. Also, your purpose and meaning in life could well change over time. Go with what makes sense to you for now. What gives you the passion and excitement right now?

Next steps

So these are the 10 universal human needs that bring lasting happiness and fulfillment.  Identify the human needs that are lacking and take some steps now to better meet these human needs. You’ll be glad you did!

Also, check out the two articles below which I used as a basis for this blog post.

Wikipedia article

Uncommon Knowledge article

Also check out my related article that covers the 6 Human Needs that Drive All Good and Bad Behavior.

Hope you enjoyed reading this article and learning about the 10 universal human needs. Please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post or share it with a friend or on social media.

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