The Four Basic Motivations That Drive People In Life

What are the core needs that all humans are acting upon?

Stefania Simon
Minimalist Brain


Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

You are most likely familiar with the confusing balance between those days when you feel like you are capable of achieving anything and those days when you totally lack motivation.

By learning about the fundamental motivations that all humans are triggered by, you will understand how your brain perceives motivation, how you can customize it according to your life experience, and increase its level not only for yourself but also for those around you.

The 4-S framework

There is a very insightful book called Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals, written by two authors who are zoologists, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. It highlights an essential idea about all living things, ie that all of them have 4 basic motivations that are related to the unconscious mind, the primitive two structures in your brain: the reptilian brain and the limbic system.


Before any other motivation comes safety, staying alive and as far away as possible from any kind of physical danger. All creatures are making a priority from keeping their genes alive, surviving long enough in…