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Do you need to feel significant?
The need to feel important and why it makes you sabotage your own success
Why do we do the things we do? Why is it that we measure success and value by attention and status, yet frown upon complacency? What force drives and shapes all of our emotions, actions, quality of life and, ultimately, our destinies?
Did you know that the answers to these questions can all be explained by learning about the basic human needs?
While each of us is unique and shaped by our individual life events and corresponding emotions, we also share behavioral systems that generally function in the same way. Tony Robbins has discovered through over 40 years of experience that there are 6 human needs that fundamentally affect the way we make choices. Each of us prioritizes our needs differently, and our decisions are based on which needs we put first.
The importance of meeting the 6 basic human needs
Many of your behaviors are based on which of your needs are – or are not – being met. Depending on which of the basic human needs are foremost in your personality, you could be spending a lot of time consciously or subconsciously trying to meet one or two of them. And if you don’t succeed, it could negatively impact your overall sense of well-being. Knowing which of your 6 needs is your primary motivator and how this affects your ability to connect with others and develop healthy relationships is crucial to your understanding of what drives you. It can also help you better understand and manage triggers and be in charge of your own emotions.
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. 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.
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. Recognition is also an extremely important part of keeping up employee productivity.
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. 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. You truly understand that love wakes you up to the gift of life. 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.
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.
The secret to living 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.
All dysfunctional behaviors arise from the inability to consistently meet the 6 basic human needs mentioned above. 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 behaviors 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.
Want to learn more about the 6 basic human needs and how you prioritize them in your own life? No matter what you want – significance, certainty or love and connection – Unleash the Power Within will give you the momentum to achieve it. Embrace the life you desire and deserve today.