6 Human Needs, by Tony Robbins

6 Human NeedsAnthony Robbins, better known as Tony Robbins, is a popular American life coach and author. He is best known for his personal development books – Unlimited PowerUnleash the Power Within and Awaken the Giant Within. Throughout his personal development resources, Tony Robbins shares his perspectives, techniques and systems that can help us improve our lives. One such powerful concept is the 6 Human Needs. These are the 6 human needs that make human beings do fundamentally what they do. These 6 human needs drive our emotions and behaviour. These 6 human needs feed us the motivation we need to do something. These 6 human needs provide us with the fulfilment that we strongly desire from our lives.

So, What Are The 6 Human Needs?

1. Certainty/Security

Everybody wants to have some attributes of their lives to be certain – this provides them with assurance in their lives. For example, you know who your loved ones are (and that they love you back), you know where you live, and you know where you study or work. This gives you a sense of security. There are several other examples of certainty that are less easy to identify – your calendar telling you what day it is, your timetable telling you where you have to be at a particular time, or even your wallet and phone ensuring that you don’t get stranded somewhere. Certainty is perhaps the most important of all the 6 human needs, the value of which a needy, hungry, homeless person would appreciate the most.

2. Uncertainty/Variety

This need is actually the opposite of the first need. This is the need for the unknown. Everybody likes change; everybody desires a new stimuli. For example, we prefer to eat different cuisines for lunch and dinner everyday, we prefer meeting different friends, acquaintances and people, we like watching different episodes on TV rather than the same one again and again and again. This is due to the law of diminishing marginal utility. Some examples are less easy to identify – for example, why do we go shopping for new clothes and accessories? It is because we are seeking change from what we are already wearing.

3. Significance/Gratitude

We all love feeling unique, important, special or needed. It stems from our desire to be recognised (financially, physically or emotionally) for our actions. For example, how do we feel when we are explicitly appreciated for a job well done at work? Or when we are awarded the prize for the best performance in a subject at school? We feel great! Similarly, how would we behave if we had the Dalai Lama visiting our home? We would give him all our attention and gratitude! All human beings, regardless of race, gender, age or ability, desire the feeling of significance.

4. Love/Connection

This is the human need that involves our emotions. It is the feeling of closeness or union with someone or something. We all desire to be loved. This connection does not have to be with a spouse or life partner; the same need applies with family members, relatives, friends, workmates, acquaintances, strangers, pets and objects. The existence of love as a core human need really highlights its power, and it truly is unconditional.

5. Growth/Learning

Humans are curious beings. We all want to learn more – formally and informally. This learning comes from various sources – be it through physical contact with people and our surroundings, through digital media, or through books. We always have the desire to expand our capacity, capability or understanding of various subjects. This translates to progression in our knowledge, occupation and relationships.

6. Contribution/Philanthropy

When humans are satisfied with all other needs, what motivates them further? How do they continue gaining the same level of fulfilment? It comes from charity – helping others physically, mentally or emotionally without expecting anything back in return. Seeing others being happy gives us the warm glow effect. This explains why billions of dollars and millions or man hours are contributed to charitable purposes by humans around the world, regardless of their own financial and physical positions.

Below is a video of Tony Robbins sharing the 6 human needs at the TED conference. The audience in this video includes former Vice President of the United States of America, Al Gore.

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