Six Human Needs
My dear friend Anthony Robbins introduced the idea of The Six Human Needs. Having developed a life long interest in human behavior, development and motivation he studied many models of therapy including Neuro Linguistic Programming, Cognitive Therapy, Gestalt Therapy combined with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Robbins combined elements from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with his own discoveries to determine what guides and motivates our decisions and actions.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explores:
- Physiological Needs
- Safety Needs
- Love and Belonging Needs
- Esteem Needs
- Self Actualization
Maslow’s pyramid of needs demonstrates how our needs change as we progress up the hierarchy.
On the bottom of the hierarchy we have the physiological needs for breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, excretion etc. As these needs are satisfied we move up the pyramid to satisfy safety needs such as security of the self, of the family, property, health and employment. Next is the need for love and belonging and how we connect with people through family, friendship and sexual relationship. We then seek out our esteem needs to boost self-esteem, confidence, achievement and respect from others. The top of the pyramid is the need for self-actualization where we desire self-improvement through creativity and helping to make the world a better place.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs focused on personal growth and contribution but Robbins felt it didn’t explain why we do what we do. He then developed the six core “Human Needs” that each of us works to satisfy on a mostly unconscious level.
The needs move in an ascending order ranging from personality, material levels to encompassing connectivity, interaction and our energetic influence in the world.
The focus for our prioritized need may be different depending on our various phases and areas of life. Each need serves as a fundamental part of creating a life that is whole and fulfilling at all levels.
The Six Human Needs are:
Each of us has a need at a basic level to accomplish a primary sense of stability in the world. The need for certainty revolves around us doing what we need to feel safe, secure and in control ranging from paying our bills, having a roof over our heads to feeling comfortable with our relationships. We value predictability in order to avoid stress, anxiety and worry. As the world and the lives of those around us is constantly changing, satisfying this need can be challenging as we continue to control and resist change to stay in our comfort zone. We either find certainty by seeking it externally or by trying to control others or we can take responsibility to find more certainty within to gaining a greater level of self worth .The human need for certainty becomes more positive when we trust that everything is changing. Alternatively if we have too much certainty in our lives we may begin to feel bored and dissatisfied. We then seek out more variety.
To allow ourselves to evolve we have a need for uncertainty to break the habits of predictability. Variety provides us with new interests, challenges, surprizes and adventure through making changes in our life in order to feel more alive. We take more risks letting go of needing to know the outcome. Variety and certainty sit on either side of a scale and are very much connected to each other. The scale needs to be in constant balance as too much uncertainty can lead to stress and overwhelm and then we seek certainty to regain comfort and more predictability. The cycle continues as we seek to find balance between running on automatic in our comfort zones to wanting to break up the monotony and desire more interest and change in our lives.
As we balance the polarities of certainty and variety we want to be seen and supported for who we are and what we do in the world. We all have a need to feel important, different and unique. We want to feel special in some way that makes us feel significant. Significance is the quality of being worthy and forms part of creating a sense of identity for how we show up in the world. We seek a sense of accomplishment through the goals we set, the skills we develop and the status we attain. In seeking out our need for significance we constantly compare ourselves and become dependent on the approval of others to feel good within ourselves. If we become dependent on the input from others to fulfill our need for significance it can be very challenging. Rather than relying on the approval of others to feel complete within ourselves we can fulfill the need for significance through connecting with our own path of integrity, having more compassion and giving more to others.
4. Love And Connection
To experience fulfillment in life we all have a need to love and be loved by others. We want to feel like we belong. In seeking our need for significance we feel we have to be different than everyone but this conflicts with the need for connection and love. We can temporarily feel satisfied with our achievements trying to stand out and be unique but we will feel disconnected.
Significance, love and connection need to be in constant balance as they sit on either side of the scale. By having too much significance we feel too different and look for change. We need to love others and connect with them by letting go of our uniqueness. If we take time to connect to our Self and love the aspects of our being this genuine connection infuses out into the world to others.
The first four Human Needs are centered on our individual quest for self-fulfillment and achievement. They are more fundamental personality needs that are in a constant strive for balance. The last two needs provide doorways that help and support each other to achieve a greater level of fulfillment in life.
The need for growth isn’t a fundamental need or a need that all people strive to fulfil. We may feel comfortable and have some level of uncertainty, we might feel significant and meet our need for connection but without growth there will be a sense of dissatisfaction or stagnation because we are not evolving. Growth can take place in a number of ways but importantly it is about self-reflection and being both aware and responsible for our actions and choices.
The positive fulfilment of the other five needs sees the rise of the need for contribution. Contribution means living our life’s purpose and bringing something to the world to benefit others or giving value for something greater than ourselves. Our need for contribution comes from a desire to have our lives mean something by being of service to the world. This need might be fulfilled through a business, volunteering or taking time to smile or help someone in need. Contribution is not just about what we do but also about who we are being in the world.
Growth and contribution support each other as when we contribute to others we have the opportunity to grow. By growing we increase our capacity to give and make a difference in the world. By fulfilling our need for growth we understand that it is a journey and it means allowing ourselves to become more authentic and to share what we learn with others. True meaning in life is experienced through contributing beyond ourselves.
The Six Human Needs help us to understand the needs we endeavour to fulfil each day. As we recognize the choices we make and the incentive for our behaviors we can move towards experiencing a life of meaning and purpose.
Review The Six Human Needs in Your Life by:
- Becoming more aware of your thought patterns, behaviors, actions and decisions.
- How do you currently satisfy your basic needs?
- Do you focus more on one or two human needs?
- Do you feel that one of the Human Needs requires more focus or attention?
- How do you currently prioritize your needs and are they in alignment with the way you choose to live your life?
By regularly reviewing the Six Human Needs you can use them to guide and motivate you to focus on creating more balance and moving towards a more fulfilling life.
You need to look at how what you want fits into your targets human needs.
If you fill 3 of the four basic needs they will follow you or your advice as it helps them fit their model of the world.