The 6 Basic Human Needs

Alex and I have been strong believers in personal growth for a very long time. There is no season that goes by in which we don’t attend a seminar of some kind. 

If you do any kind of research on personal growth for even 5 minutes, you cannot help but stumble upon Tony Robbins. The guy is a phenomenon. He has trained millions of people and is known for being incredibly good at what he does.

In his work, he has compiled what he calls the 6 basic human needs that move people overall. We are all driven by our basic needs and learning about this has really changed my life.

As an entrepreneur, you want to understand what makes people move. Otherwise, they will never buy your products. And of course, if you want to grow yourself, you want to understand why you are doing the things you do.

If you have never come across this concept, I’ve summarized the 6 needs below in the hope that it may help you better understand yourself and your clients.

1. Certainty
The first on the list of essential human needs is the need for Certainty, which translates into the need to feel in control and secure, to avoid stress and pain.

Our need for certainty is actually a survival mechanism that helped us survive when the world out there was a dangerous place packed with wild animals ready to eat you. 

If you have Netflix, go and watch the Disney Movie “The Croods”. In there, the father (Grug) of the family represents this first need. He doesn’t want to do anything that is different or new. So they stay in the same cave, eating and doing the same thing over and over and over again.

2. Uncertainty or Variety
The second Character in the movie is the daughter Eep. She wants something new all the time. She is tired of doing the same thing forever.
As much as we like knowing what will come next, we can’t always have it all planned. Sometimes uncertainty appears in our lives and it’s exactly what we want.

We call it a surprise when it’s something we like. When it’s something we don’t like, we call it misfortune or a problem.

The art lies in being mentally ready to welcome surprises and being resilient enough to push back when misfortune falls upon us. That’s why we need to train our mental muscles.

3. Significance
We don’t like to admit it, but everybody wants to feel significant. There’s a thing called Ego that feeds on feeling significant. 

I am not advocating here that Ego is bad per se. Without Ego, people would just not achieve anything. Feeling significant truly is important for us to grow, be happy and live a balanced life. 

There is nothing bad about feeling significant. Some achieve it by becoming very wealthy. Others by running a marathon. You could put tattoos and piercings on every square inch of your body, you could build an amazing eco-friendly home, you could build an impressive business… 

Whatever it is, we all try to find this one thing that will not go unnoticed.

4. Love and connection
This is probably the single most important one although we don’t like to admit it. We are born babies with only one need: being loved by our father and mother. As we grow and become more independent beings, we tend to change the way we look for and experience love and connection.  Deep down inside we’re just looking for the same thing. 

Love is probably the strongest feeling you will ever encounter in your life – sometimes in very painful ways.

5. Growth
I often say that I have never met a tree that would not grow as tall as it possibly could.

Now, we’re talking about a tree…  so just imagine you as a person not growing to your biggest potential.

Someone who feels they are not fulfilling their highest biggest potential cannot be truly happy. 
It doesn’t matter how much money, friends, staff, or loved ones you have. You will simply not experience fulfillment.

6. Contribution
This is the ultimate feeling. Being part of something that is bigger than yourself and knowing that you are contributing to this experience.

Think back on a newsletter not so long ago about a climber who climbed the most difficult climb ever: the Dawn Wall. They started the climb with two, but one got stuck somewhere in the second half of the climb. 

When the first climber realized he was able to make it – to finish the climb they had been training to complete for over 6 years – but without his buddy, he stopped and turned back. It was just too empty, he said afterward.

If you want to experience real joy, you will need to be able to share it. Why do you think social media is driven by “shares”?
Sharing enhances whatever you experience. 

It’s not what you become in the end. It’s who you become.

Thanks to Tony.

To Freedom

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