THE 6 HUMAN NEEDS ARE:
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: 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
Everyone ranks these basic human needs differently, and the way they are ranked are why you are the way you are as a person. They are why you act the way you act and why you prioritize what you prioritize.
The top four needs in the list above shape our personality, while the last two (growth and contribution) shape our spiritual needs. The means by which people choose to meet these 6 human needs are unlimited; we seek fulfillment through our relationships, careers, personal interests and more.
Here’s more on the basic human needs and what they mean.
If certainty is one of your top basic human needs, you need to feel secure and safe about the future. When you receive positive recognition, it may be accompanied by a need for certainty that the recognition is authentic and will continue. In order to live a life filled with certainty, your life has to stay the same – a nearly impossible expectation to fulfill. So, you artificially control your environment by changing your expectations or by avoiding new situations or people. You find ways to positively motivate yourself and you aim to consistently deliver the same or better results to receive more recognition. This process provides you with assurance that your actions will either avoid pain or gain pleasure, which then fulfills the basic human need for certainty.
Though it’s important to understand the beauty of uncertainty, those who experience this as one of their top basic human needs can take it to an extreme. They may engage in frequent job or relationship changes for the sake of variety, or take unnecessary risks to achieve the adrenaline jolt they crave. However, if uncertainty is one of your top 6 basic human needs, you will be unafraid of taking risks and will not avoid new situations or people.
CERTAINTY & VARIETY are a paradox to each other. A balance in these two is ideal.
If significance is among the top two of your 6 human needs, then part of meeting that need includes receiving recognition. This may translate into a desire to be seen, heard and listened to – in short, you want to be noticed. You measure significance by what you believe makes you unique compared to everyone else around you. Recognition provides you with a sense of validation that makes you feel seen, special and/or needed. Recognition is a major driving force behind human behavior because it provides us with a measurement system to analyze and track our significance.
Those who don’t devise a positive way to feel significant may end up taking drastic measures to make themselves feel good, like turning to alcohol or engaging in frequent arguments. they may be the person with the biggest problems and often the most excuses. Others surround themselves with people that they view as less skilled or accomplished to provide contrast to their own achievements. Either scenario can result in increased significance – but neither behavior is particularly healthy.
If connection/love is your top basic human need, you are constantly seeking out a close relationship with someone or something. This can lead to some incredibly fulfilling relationships, but it can also cause you to sacrifice self-care in order to take care of others or maintain a partnership.
SIGNIFICANCE and LOVE are a paradox to each other. A balance between these is ideal.
Those whose foremost need is growth are always striving to be better and learn more. They are very good at their jobs, but tend to move on quickly as soon as they believe they’ve reached their full potential. Though their constant striving for betterment ensures they will never be bored, they can err on the side of perfectionism and neglect the rest and relaxation they need to keep stress levels manageable. Progress = happiness.
The secret to life is giving and those who experience contribution as one of their top basic human needs know this better than anyone. If you have a need to contribute, you will likely make a big difference in your community. However, you can lose sight of the fact that giving should begin at home and neglect those closest to you as you try to change the world.
GROWTH and CONTRIBUTION should be in balance. We need to grow but we owe it to ourselves and society to contribute what we have!
All dysfunctional behaviors arise from the inability to consistently meet the 6 basic human needs mentioned above, or a drastic imbalance in the matching needs. But you don’t have to resort to these types of behaviors if you understand your own needs and psychology. By better understanding which of the basic human needs is your driving force, you can set goals for yourself and implement positive behaviours to help you achieve those goals. Understanding these needs, and which ones you are trying to meet in any given moment, can help you embrace the power of growth and create new patterns that lead to lasting fulfillment.