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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 human beings do the things they do? How is it that one person will sacrifice his own life for another, while another will go out of their way to hurt someone for seemingly no reason at all? What creates a Charles Manson or a Nelson Mandela? What is the force that drives and shapes all of our emotions, actions, qualities of life, and ultimately, our destinies?

While each human being is unique and is shaped by their individual life’s events and corresponding emotions, we also share behavioral systems that generally function in the same way. On top of this, there are also 6 human needs that everyone has in common, and all behavior is simply an attempt to meet those fundamental needs. And the means by which people choose to meet these six human needs are unlimited; we seek to find fulfillment through our relationships, careers, personal interests and more.

The 6 Human Needs

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

Each person puts these six needs in their own unique order of importance, but the top four needs in this list above are really what shapes our personality, while the last two (growth and contribution) shape our spiritual needs. The problem is, if you have significance or certainty as one of the top two needs of your personality, your life is guaranteed to have problems.

Here’s why: In order to have certainty as number one, life has to stay the same — something that it does not do. So, in order to keep your life the same, you have to artificially control your environment, control the people and control yourself. The only way to achieve that is to lower your expectations or just be stressed out all the time, neither of which are a good option.

If significance is one of your top two needs, you always have to be competing with someone else – sometimes you might even be competing with yourself. More than likely, you have to lie to yourself about your real abilities or surround yourself with people that you view as less skilled or accomplished than yourself.

All dysfunctional behaviors arise from the inability to consistently meet these six needs. But, if you are able to reach them in a healthy order – meaning significance and certainty are not at the top – you will have fulfillment. When you understand which human needs drive you, you can break down the limiting beliefs and behaviors holding you back and move forward with your life.

Understanding these needs, and which ones you are trying to meet in any given moment, can help you create new patterns that lead to lasting fulfillment and put a stop to self-sabotage.

Header image © Bocman1973/shutterstock

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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