November 12th, 2010 // 11:42 pm @ Chuck
Been listening to a lot of Tony Robbins lately and his talk on “The 6 basic human needs” really struck me, mostly because it just makes sense in so many respects. I wish some of THIS stuff was taught in school… anyways, let me half reflect and half share these interesting theories with you.
All human beings crave a certain level of safety, assurance and predictability in our lives, for this is the foundation of our most basic behavior: survival. When things are VERY uncertain, we tend to be freaked out! Which causes us to reach for different vehicles of comfort such as friends/family, television, or alcohol. And once we’re at a level where we feel certain there are no more dangers, we can relax and actually focus on the other needs. So this is one spectrum where the need for certainty is entirely UNMET, hence causing nerve-wrecking stress and pain.
But there’s also the other end of the spectrum, where the need for certainty is entirely MET. Think about it, would you want to watch a basketball game if you already knew the score and everything that was going to happen in that game? Probably not, because that’s just freaking boring. Now everyone require different levels of certainty in their lives, for example my own need for certainty is very LOW compared to other. So if things get too predictable, I get BORED. Hence the reason why myself and many others like me seek our next need, which is in directly conflict with our first need.
Another word for uncertainty is variety. We all need a change of scenery every now and then, watch a new movie, travel to a new country. For this is what makes life exciting because we DON’T know what to expect, but the uncertainty level is still tolerable enough that we know in the end the variety will bring us pleasure. Too much uncertainty will bring us fear, while not enough will cause boredom. So really the first two needs are pieces of the same pie, if my need for uncertainty is at 70%, then my need for certainty will only be at 30%.
Deep down, we all need to feel that we are important, unique, and special, and this can be manifested in many ways. One vehicle for people is by becoming high achiever, because having those distinctions makes people feel important. But along the need for importance, a poor vehicle some people use is by putting down other, for that makes them feel like they are better than another. Another popular vehicle is acting/dressing in a eccentric way, many people take pride in being different and unique for that’s what fulfills their need for significance. BUT if we strive for TOO much significance and uniqueness, we end up totally different than everyone else which violates our very next need.
We all strive for a level of connection with our peers, whether that be in terms of a friendship or intimate relationship. The core of all human connections are based on similarities or sameness with one another, but if we are too busy being significant we rarely feel connected or similar to someone else. Hence again, the need for significance and connection are sharing the same piece of the pie. If we our need for connection is NOT being met, we feel alone and disjointed from people. But if it’s met entirely, we no longer feel different or unique from other, hence losing our own identity and violating our need for significance.
Everything is either growing or dieing, there’s no in between. And human beings are no exception, we must feel like we are constantly growing in our lives. Many people’s goal is to reach a certain financial target, or style of life, but when they get there, they become stagnant. While others might envy what these people have or achieve, they themselves are unhappy because their not growing anymore. They’ve reached the plateau, and there are no more mountains to climb. But we all NEED something to strive for, something that’ll challenge us to grow and take our lives to the next level.
Aside from ourselves, we all desire to make a difference and contribute to the greater good. In essence, Philanthropy is a universal need for everyone, it DOESN’T depend on the person, for everything must serve a purpose in the big ecosystem. So we as human beings all have a deep desire to contribute outside of ourselves, whether that’s manifested in the friendship circle, community, society, or country as a whole.
Great theory! Now what?
Well, becoming aware of these needs is the first step in our attempt to meet them. Awareness of these concepts alone will takes you out of the hypnosis of the daily grind, and really force you to evaluate your OWN needs. It’ll also help you understand why you do certain things so naturally, because it obviously fulfills many of your basic needs. What’s even more interesting is everyone will have different level of needs that they are comfortable with. Now does that make one or more of us right or wrong? Certainly not, because our level of needs are shaped by our own nature, life experiences, and circle. But like all things in life, what we need to do is find that perfect BALANCE between these conflicting needs, for THAT’S where true success and fulfillment lies.