THE SIX HUMAN NEEDS OF PSYCHOLOGY
GET WHAT YOU WANT, REFRAMING YOUR HUMAN NEEDS
Despite the worldwide chaos of the last few years, there have been some really positive takeaways. Those that chose to use these experiences to their advantage have gained valuable insight into what is really important. We’ve also witnessed firsthand the negative behaviors that result from trying to get a human need met.
It is universally true that we all have 6 human needs. However, the way in which we meet these needs can be very different for each of us.
Each of these needs can be met in ways that are positive or negative. My perceptions of behavior have shifted substantially. I have found that all of us at our core, are good people. However, some ways of satisfying these needs are good, good for others, and good for society, and some are bad for everyone. The underlying and at times self-sabotaging behaviors is the attempt to satisfy a deep level of positive intent for meaning and fulfillment of life.
Tony Robbins developed the concept of the Six Human Needs of Psychology. In his world-class strategic intervention style of coaching, he helps us reframe our perceptions in trying to get a need met and changing behaviors that are sabotaging fulfillment and happiness.
I have successfully used this method of strategic intervention coaching since 2012. In my work coaching executives and professionals, I have found that identifying the human needs and then reframing perceptions, lays the framework for positive change.
In this article, I will give you illustrations of each of the human needs and questions to ask yourself that will help you make strides in living a more fulfilling life.
THE NEED FOR CERTAINTY
How do you get your need for Certainty met?
We want to feel safe, avoid pain, and feel comfortable in our environment. Every individual needs to have some sense of certainty and security – a roof over one’s head, knowing where the next meal will come from, knowing how to obtain care when one is sick, etc.
The degree to which certainty is needed or desired, however, varies from person to person. Some people feel secure living in a 1100 square foot condo and getting their basic needs met. Others can feel certainty only if they make a million dollars each year. Even though some certainty is necessary to all of us, what constitutes certainty varies from individual to individual.
What has to happen for you to feel certain, safe, secure?
THE NEED FOR VARIETY
I was on a bike ride recently and was thinking to myself how much I was enjoying my favorite Tucson mountain bike trail. I thought to myself, why am I in such bliss today? I’ve ridden this same trail for the last 17.56 years and yet it felt new and fresh. It then hit me. I was riding the same old trail but on a new bike.
One of the ways that I have my need for Variety met is to build bikes. I’ll try different bike frame manufacturers and different components.
This one turned out great. I built it up with components that I had never used before. The set-up on the bike was also different. The end product is a full carbon fiber bike that weighs under 20 pounds.
I love it!! I feel nimble and fast as I blaze on the single track.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all of my bikes, but this new one is very different than what I’ve ever ridden before.
New bike + old trail = flowing and free bliss
How do you get your need for Variety met?
The need for uncertainty, variety, and challenge, will exercise our emotional and physical range. Everyone needs some variety in life. Our bodies, our minds, our emotional well-being all require uncertainty, exercise, suspense, surprise.
The person caught in the same routine day after day will seek change and look for uncertainty. Just as a sense of security is reassuring, so the excitement that comes from variety is necessary to feel alive. For some variety might be satisfied by watching the news on television. Others may seek extreme high-risk activities such as extreme sports to satisfy their need for uncertainty.
How do you incorporate spontaneity, creativity, and excitement into your life?
THE NEED FOR SIGNIFICANCE
I recently had lunch with a buddy that I used to race with. For several reasons, I decided to retire from road bike racing several years ago now. My friend couldn’t leave it behind despite all the changes in the sport that we used to complain about.
In order to stay competitive, my friend decided to start taking performance-enhancing drugs. Adding the new protocol was helping him to win more races. I asked him, why he would risk his health at this point in his life when he wasn’t winning high dollar prizes or product endorsement contracts. His response was that he wanted to remain relevant in the peloton.
This is one area of my friend’s life that he felt important. His company was struggling, his wife had recently divorced him and his daughter moved away to college. In a nutshell, my friend was willing to risk his health in order to get his need for significance met.
How do you get your need for Significance met?
Every person needs to feel important, needed, wanted. Significance comes from comparing ourselves to others – in our quest for significance, we become involved in hierarchical pecking orders and questions of superiority or inferiority. We can feel significant because we have achieved something, built something, succeeded at something, or we can seek significance by tearing down something or somebody.
In its positive aspect, significance leads us to raise our standards. But if we are overly focused on significance, we will have trouble truly connecting with others. For some, significance comes from providing for the family; for others, from doing meaningful work, some need to make a major contribution to humanity; some require immense wealth. Whatever the measure of significance, a sense of being important is necessary to all human beings.
How do you feel like you: Matter, Important, Special, Worthwhile, and Acknowledged?
Are their behaviors that you are doing in order to feel more significant that are taking you away from what you really want?
THE NEED FOR LOVE/CONNECTION
How do you experience Love and Connection?
Everybody needs a connection with other human beings, and everyone strives for and seeks to be loved and love.
An infant needs to be loved and cared for during a long period of time if it’s to develop normally. This need for love continues throughout our lives.
It is epitomized by the concept of romantic love, the one person who will devote their life to us and make us feel complete.
In some cultures, romantic love doesn’t exist, it’s replaced by the love of relatives and friends. Some people rarely experience love, but they have many ways of feeling a connection with others – in the community or in the workplace. The need to be loved is characteristic of all human beings.
When we don’t have a sense of being cared for, and belonging, life can be far less than satisfying and unhappy.
Has love and connection been a lower priority in your life?
What has to happen to feel a sense of being loved or being connected to others?
What has to happen to feel a sense of love and connection for another person?
THE NEED FOR CONTRIBUTION AND GROWTH
Did you know that if you are getting your needs of growth and contribution met, the other needs of love/connection, certainty, variety, and significance will also be met? It’s true!
So why is that?
How the need For Growth is fulfilling
We need to constantly develop intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. We grow and change physically as we develop from infancy to adulthood and old age.
We grow and change emotionally with every experience, and we grow intellectually as we respond to events and to the world around us.
Anything that you want to remain in your life – your money, your health, your relationship, your happiness, love – must be cultivated, developed, and expanded. Otherwise, it will degenerate. Some people satisfy the need to grow by working out physically or by reading books. Others need to study and learn constantly in order to feel that they are truly growing.
How the need for Contribution is fulfilling
The need for contribution goes beyond our own needs.
Life is incomplete without the sense that one is making a contribution to others or to a cause.
It is in the nature of human beings to want to give back, to leave a mark on the world. Giving to others may mean giving time to community service, making a charitable donation, planting trees, writing a book, or giving to one’s children.
Not only can everyone contribute in some way, but contribution is essential to a sense of fulfillment and to happiness.
The first four needs – certainty, uncertainty, significance, and love – are essential for human survival. They are the fundamental needs of the personality.
Everyone must feel that they have met them on some level, even if they have to lie to themselves to do so. The last two needs, growth and contribution, are essential for human fulfillment.
What has to happen for you to feel growth/learning/expansion?
What rules can you create to feel that you are fulfilling your need for growth?
What has to happen for you to feel that you are contributing?
What rules can you create to feel that you are fulfilling your need for contribution?
As in everything human, there are paradoxes involved in the experience of these needs. A person may have a strong need for certainty, but also a strong need for uncertainty, and therefore might constantly suffer an inner conflict as to which need is most important to satisfy.
The need for significance is often contradictory to the need for love. It’s difficult to love someone who constantly has to feel significantly important. That is why so many successful people, who satisfy their need for significance, have trouble in their close relationships and often feel that they are not truly loved.
We also go through different stages of life. There is no requirement to change the way that we perceive ourselves. Change is required however if you want a fulfilling and happy life.
Have you recently re-evaluated your human needs? A lot has changed in our world and the priorities in meeting those needs may have changed.
I invite you to take my 5-minute Six Human Needs Quiz. After you’ve taken it, I invite you to get on a 15-minute call with me to go over the results.
Here’s to a life of meaning and fulfillment.
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