The 6 Human Needs That Drive Everything


There is this guy, his name is Anthony Robbins and he is a renowned life coach and speaker. His TED talk in 2006 “Why we do the things we do” was one of the first six TED talks ever, and it still is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time.

The main idea of the discourse is that no matter what vehicle we pursue — whether it’s building a business or a house, getting married and raising a family or traveling the world — there are six basic and universal needs that are fundamental to human beings. Tony believes we are all driven by the same main urges, in different ways however, depending on each unique individual.

After working with over 3 million people, he identified these 6 needs and he claims that, if we get to discover and make the most of them, success and happiness will follow.

Here are the 6 needs he thinks are determining for the direction of our lives: certainty, significance, variety, love/connection, growth and contribution.

1. Certainty / Comfort

The first on the list of essential human needs is the need for Certainty, which translates into the need to feel in control and secure, to avoid stress and pain and anything that might go with these.

We may say that our need for certainty is a survival mechanism and it has a direct effect on how much risk we take in life — be it personal or business. When our need for certainty is high, the risks we are willing to take are smaller. And vice versa.

2. Uncertainty / Variety

As much as we like knowing what will come, we can’t always have it all planned. Sometimes uncertainty appears in our lives and it’s exactly what we need.

It’s true, we mostly like the surprises we want and we call those we don’t want, problems :) The art lies in being mentally ready to welcome surprises and “put some muscle in our life”. You can’t grow muscle — or character — unless you have something to push back against.

3. Significance

Throughout life, we all feel the need to feel important, unique or at least needed. There are so many ways we can acquire this feeling.

You could become very wealthy and earn billions of dollars; you could become very smart, collect academic degrees and distinguish yourself through that; you could be on a television show like Big Brother or The Bachelor; some have big families; some people put tattoos and piercings all over their body, some spend a lot of money, some brag about the bargains they are always able to obtain; some build impressive businesses or amazing eco-friendly homes.

It’s in your hands to decide which is your special power, what you can do that will not pass by unnoticed and do it well in order to gain significance.

4. Love and connection

If you ask us, we don’t know why this isn’t the first human need on the list :) Tony Robbins, however, placed it fourth in line, but makes a mention about them — he calls them needs of the personality and the 3rd and 4th especially needs of the spirit. He believes they are more rare and not anyone is lucky enough to get them right. But when they do, they truly feel fulfilled.

Why are love and connection so important? Because they are the engine of life. We need love like we need oxygen and only when we have love in our life we feel complete and alive.

5. Growth

When we have something of value to give, Tony believes, we have reasons to grow and growth is the 5th universal human need that puts us in motion. In his speech he makes a distinct point out of the fact that when you aren’t growing, you are somehow dying.

If a relationship is not growing, if a business is not growing, if you’re not growing, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, how many friends you have, how many people love you — you’re not going to experience real fulfillment.

6. Contribution

The 6th need may be the most intense one — they say life isn’t worth living if you have no one to share it with. And they are so right. Living is rarely just about me. Living is about us. Every time something exciting and special happens to you, the joy is not complete until you share it with you loved ones.

Sharing enhances everything you experience. Ultimately it’s not what you get that will make you happy long term, but rather who you become and what you contribute with to the life of others.

What would you add?

It’s funny that even though these 6 human needs are easy to identify in our lives, it’s not as easy to use them in a way that will benefit us the most. So it’s important to start changing our perspective on them and notice how each influences our thoughts, feelings, behaviors and actions. Why is it so important? Because by understanding the needs that shape your behaviour, you will understand yourself better.

At TRISOFT, we are inspired by people who inspire through their own example. That’s why today we chose to bring you the story of Tony Robbins. And in addition to his 6 needs, we also the believe that the ultimate significance in life doesn’t come from the external, but from the internal. Because no matter how much others appreciate and acclaim your intelligence, your beauty, your business skills or your sense of humour, what it matters most is the sense of esteem for ourselves.

Striving to be the best, pushing to achieve our goals and wanting to grow will only come from within. And in the end the happiest person on earth is the one who appreciates himself, despite all odds and self-challenges.

What would you add to the list?