Anthony Robbins is probably the most amazing contemporary person I know of. His advice has helped me change my life completely. Of course, he’s not the only one I learned from, but if I were to choose the most helpful, it would probably be him.
Today, I would like to share with you one of his revelations. It’s nothing complicated, but then again, nothing truly great ever is. It’s a list of six universal human needs and when I say need, I mean it. These are not shoulds or wants. No, these are needs. Every one of us has them and finds (sometimes very creative) ways to satisfy them. Let’s start with the first one.
Our need to feel safe, secure and under control. This also counts as our need for survival. I’ve been lucky enough never to be in a life or death situation, but I imagine that when you’re drowning, you sort of forget that you’re hungry.
Everyone needs to feel a certain degree of certainty. It’s that feeling of knowing what’s going to happen, in one scenario or the other. You expect your partner to be loving, no matter what. You expect to dominate a specific ski slope after you’ve been there many times.
Problems occur when we are too certain. Why? Life simply becomes extremely boring. If you’re certain all the time, you feel like something is missing. What is it? The second need.
Though we need to have a certain amount of comfort, too much hurts, but that’s where variety comes in. We humans need to feel a sense of newity from time to time. A surprise, a challenge, an improvement, something that gives a bit of spice to our lives.
The best example I can think of is listening to a song you love. The first 1000 times it might sound OK, but no matter how much you love the song, if it would be the only one you hear, then it will eventually become a pain rather than a pleasure.
Sadly, many great relationships fall into the trap of monotony. The couple knows everything about each other, they know exactly how the other will react, they do the same things over and over again or any other form of too much certainty.
People meet the need of significance through many, many different approaches, many of which may not be the best option. One way, that has been used over the course of history, is violence. When someone puts a gun to a persons head, what do you think they feel? You guessed it: An instant feeling of significance.
Luckily, there are many other ways one can satisfy this need. From holding a motivational speech for an audience to becoming an expert in a certain field to even the simple act of helping around the house with cleaning or cooking, people find very creative ways to add value and feel significant.
This need is about as obvious as it gets. It is in the human nature to seek the love of others. Our best friends and/or beloved family are usually the most important part of our lives. We feel the need to share life with those that are close to our hearts.
The moment that connection is missing, a sense of emptiness sinks in. Our lives seem to have less meaning if there’s no one around to share its beautiful moments with.
As a side-note, this need can also be met through your connection with the Universe. Saying grace, praying or any form of connection you practice can be a way to satisfy this need we all have. I personally say grace every morning and often pray for those I love.
All of us feel the need to improve certain parts of our lives. Whether it’s our health, our financial situation, our knowledge or any other area that is most relevant to us, there’s always something.
You might, at times, reach a point in which you feel that you already have everything you need. That you’re OK the way you are and there’s no reason for any more growth, but the truth is that the feeling does not last a lot.
We’re not truly happy if we stagnate. Even one of the phrases Einstein left us with tells us that the moment we stop learning is the moment we really die. I haven’t met not one person that is truly fulfilled and is not also a continuous learner and I doubt either of us will be an exception, in this specific case.
The list of course would not be complete without the final touch: contribution. What are you contributing to? Your family? Your community? A higher purpose or mission? Whatever it is for you, depending on your background and education, you’re always contributing to something you believe in.
Of course, like all other needs, you can satisfy this one in less beneficial ways, but I’m sure you’re a good person, so I’m sure that you’re contributing to something that adds value to the world we all live in. Am I right?
OK. Now that you know the 6 universal human needs and you also know that I never just inform, but also leave you with a practical exercise, let’s ask a question: How does knowing my needs help me improve the quality of my life?
Well, I’m glad you asked! You can use this newly-found wisdom to make better (and more ethical) decisions! Let’s start with a very simple exercise:
One a piece of paper (or in a virtual note) write down an activity that you just love to do! Something that you would (maybe) do even if no one would pay you for it. Maybe something you’re passionate about. What is it?
After you’ve written it down, look at all of the 6 needs and grade that activity for each need on a scale from 0 to 10. I personally love writing. For me, it scores a 10(!) on all 6 needs!
I’m certain that I can write well because of the experience I have. There’s always variety because I never write about the same subject. I feel significant because I can help other with my knowledge. I feel a sense of connection with you, my readers. With every article I grow better and better and, of course, I also feel that I’m contributing to the world.
We all (should) have something that we love to do. Why do we love it? Because it meets at least four of our needs on a big scale. So, what is it for you? Did you write it down? Perfect.
Now let’s go to the opposite side and write down something you just hate to do! An activity that you really dislike a lot or at minimum, something that you would rather not to, if you could do something else. What is it?
Afterwards, do the same thing as the first time. Rate that activity on a scale from 0 to 10 on all of the six needs. Are the numbers different? I’m sure they are. Though this exercise is interesting to do by itself, how can we use it to help us even more?
You, my dear reader, ask very good questions! Now that we know that we work on a needs basis, we can slightly alter the things that we don’t like to do, but should do, so that they fulfill more of our needs on a larger scale.
For example, if cleaning the house is something you dislike, you can listen to audio-books in the meanwhile and rank a 10 on your need for Growth! If you’re in direct client relations and you don’t really like it, why not make it a goal to leave every client you have the blessing to talk to (because they’re the ones that truly pay your salary) a bit better or happier. This way, you can rank a 10 on your contribution to these people and the company you’re working for! You also rank high on connection and growth! Wow! That already sounds great!
You get the point. Use this information to your advantage. Make your life better. Isn’t that why you’re reading this in the first place? If you think I can help you in any way, please feel free to ask.
Creating a better tomorrow,