I read about the “6 human needs”, early on in my career, and wrote a blog about it some 10 years ago. Now 1000s of clients later, I still find it a useful tool to understand why someone is doing something, and more importantly get them to understand why also. In essence, there are 6 fundamental needs that each of us have in common, and our behaviour is simply a way to meet those needs. The needs are as follows:
1. Certainty – The assurance that you can avoid pain and gain pleasure. You may be in good health and have money to pay your bills, but if something happens that you are not ready for, how would you feel.
2. Uncertainty/Variety – If you are certain about everything all the time, things could get boring eventually. So in paradox to the first need, you have this second need.
3. Significance – Feeling unique, important, special or needed. Some people meet this need through their careers/job title or level of education. Other people get this need by putting others down, think what ways do you meet this need.
4. Connection/Love – In our modern society, how often do you see people sat in groups yet not talking to each other, as they on their mobile phones using social media. They are meeting the need for connection, but ignore the person they are sitting with. I have also found with my more famous clients, that even though they feel significant due to their celebrity status, that they struggle getting this connection and no longer like to be seen in public.
5. Growth – The first 4 needs above are the core or fundamental needs, and the last 2 are used to feel truly satisfied in doing something. This can be met by constantly learning about things, asking questions and finding out new information so you can develop and grow.
6. Contribution – The last need, to give back without expecting anything in return, to help others learn from your experiences, can be the most rewarding need of all.