According to Tony Robbins, there are six basic human needs:
- Certainty. Assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure. We all have a need for certainty, safety, stability and predictability in our lives. We like to feel secure in our jobs, in our homes and in our relationships.
- Variety. The need for the unknown, change, new stimuli. We crave change, excitement and new stimuli. Variety makes us feel alive and engaged.
- Significance. Feeling unique, important, special or needed. Deep down, we all need to feel important, unique and special. We want our life and our work to have meaning, importance and significance.
- Connection. A strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something. Everybody strives for a level of connection and affiliation with people around them and wants to feel part of a larger community. We want to be loved and cared for and we want a feeling of closeness or union with like-minded people – be it friends, family, colleagues, members of a club or an online community.
- Growth. An expansion of capacity, capability or understanding. As human beings we all have a need to grow and expand in our personal and professional lives. People are most happy when they feel they are making progress. We all need something to strive for, something that will challenge us to grow and expand emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially and intellectually.
- Contribution. A sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others. This is the need to help, serve and support someone or something bigger than ourselves in a meaningful way. As human beings we have a desire to contribute something of value, whether that is manifested through community, family, society or the project work that we do.
“Everyone ranks these human needs differently, and the way they are ranked explain why you are the way you are as a person,” according to Robbins. “The top four needs in the list above shape our personality, while the last two (growth and contribution) shape our spiritual needs.”
When I did this analysis, I concluded that my top two needs are Variety and Growth while Significance and Contribution are much less important to me.