6 Basic Human Needs

Why is it that we do what we do? What makes your co-worker so difficult, your child so adorable to you and money so desirable?

Although each person is unique, we are wired the same way emotionally. Let’s review 6 basic human needs that correspond to all our emotions and actions.

1. Certainty: We need some certainty in life so that we don’t lose our mind. We expect winters to get cold and summers to get hot. We expect a busy workday to come to an end so that we can relax. We also expect a roof over our head and food on the table. Our desire to earn more money fulfills this need.

2. Variety: As if God’s joke to mankind, we can’t have too much certainty. We need some uncertainty or variety too. Things just cannot be the same forever. We need some change and excitement. Imagine eating steak every day (assuming you love steak) or hanging out only with your best friend for the rest of your life.

3. Significance: At some level, we all want to feel important or special. When a kidnapper puts a gun to his victim’s head, it is his way of feeling important. When your co-worker proves your wrong in a meeting in front of the whole team, that might be his way of feeling significant.

4. Connection: This is perhaps the most obvious one. This is why we make friends, fall in love with one another or own pets. We need that sense of closeness or union.

5. Growth: We need to expand our skills and capacity. This is one of the reasons why we want to get a promotion at work. This is also why a runner wants to run faster or a bodybuilder wants to get bigger. Over time, we want to get better at what we do. Staying the same can lead to too much certainty.

6. Contribution: We all want to serve or contribute. It’s not just about giving to charity and helping those in need. Something as simple as working eight to five helps us fulfill this need because by working we are adding value to our communities.

Every person prioritizes these needs in a different order. Understanding these needs in you and in others leads to understanding yourself and others better and that ultimately guides us to lasting fulfillment.

p.s. For an in-depth discussion on this subject, please refer to “Creating Lasting Change” by Tony Robbins.

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4 thoughts on “6 Basic Human Needs”

    1. Hi Rick – Great question! Being recognized as successful gives us significance, it makes us stand out. Success also leads to more money which gives us the certainty that there is no need to worry about food, shelter, etc. -Berk 🙂

  1. I have a psychology major. I find this piece really interesting. I just ordered “Creating Lasting Change” you mentioned above. It is expensive (190 dollars) but it must be worth it since written by Tony Robbins.

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