The following insight has literally changed the way I live my life on this planet, from the choices I make about what work to focus on every day, how I show up in my relationships, my professional and personal goals … and you deserve to know what I know.
Below are the 6 Human Needs – the basic needs of living that we each strive to meet in various ways: positive, negative, or neutral ways, directly or indirectly, sustainably or not so much. Successfully meeting all these needs is essential for living a fulfilling, pleasurable life, according to Tony “The Energizer Tank” Robbins:
We don’t focus on all of these needs equally. Generally, most of us only focus on 2 or 3 at most, while the others get addressed haphazardly and inadequately. What’s more, the ones we focus on are typically the ones likely to keep us dissatisfied with our lives. We’re completely unconscious about why we do what we do, and therefore completely ignorant about what it costs us.
Ignorance about which needs we most seek to fulfill can cost us everything we truly deeply desire: joy, happiness, fulfillment, and even authentic connection and love.
Most people in our modern world work incessantly to create CERTAINTY and SIGNIFICANCE in their lives.
If you’re working feverishly to control everything in your life so that CERTAINTY rules the day, then GROWING, CONTRIBUTING, and even genuine LOVE & CONNECTION are not likely to be priorities for you because those needs are overflowing with UNCERTAINTY.
You might make contributions and grow, but that’s going to happen reluctantly and under a lot of stress, and you’re not going to get the full satisfaction that comes with genuinely spirited growth and contribution.
Some people focus more on SIGNIFICANCE, working to get recognition at every turn. If that’s you, you may find you’re making CONTRIBUTIONS, seeking LOVE & CONNECTION and to GROW, even embracing UNCERTAINTY only so far as any of these serve to reinforce an elusive sense of SIGNIFICANCE that fades as quick as validation turns its capricious eyes away from you.
When CONTRIBUTION, GROWTH, LOVE & CONNECTION are just reluctant servants to your ego’s insatiable appetite for SIGNIFICANCE, you’ll never be satisfied.
(ok, I know, enough with the CAPITALIZING, let’s try bolding … I do hope it helps to really ground in this insight)
On the other hand, if Growth and Contribution are genuinely your primary focus, you set yourself up for an incredible feedback loop that brings Certainty – people want you around and may even pay you for your contributions, thus affording you a stable home environment if you want that; Significance – people routinely appreciate the gifts you bring to every moment; Love and Connection – again, people genuinely want you around; even Uncertainty – what’s more uncertain than growing which requires constantly going into the unknown?
Again, though, if you use GROWTH and CONTRIBUTION purely for the reward of SIGNIFICANCE or CERTAINTY, people will inevitably see through what are basically manipulative, inauthentic attempts to win their approval and admiration and make them behave they way you want them to.
When I first got this insight, I quickly realized so much of my focus in life had been seeking Significance and Love & Connection. I even realized how together these two deep hungers conspired to keep me in an unhealthy relationship for years. The promise of genuine love and connection with this one wildly beautiful woman – whose attention on me made me feel proudly significant – tantalized me so much that I stayed in the relationship even though we made few overtly meaningful contributions to each other (or others) and our relationship seemed to resist growth like it was a tropical fungus.
Now, every morning, I wake up with the mantra, “How can I grow today? What can I contribute?”
Naturally, I still want the certainty of a nice home to live in and deeply crave love and connection. But with Growth and Contribution as my daily mantra, I’m able to calm the always starving little manipulative lower-case bryan in my psyche who constantly frets that no one loves or even sees him …
… and JAZZED-UP SUPERHERO BRYAN gets to step up and radiate a brilliant, uniquely-inspired truth committed to the thrilling expansion of all life with no concern for whether he gets credit or reward.
The irony is that I then do get recognition in various forms, love and connection, even certainty and uncertainty.
The real magic trick is being deeply honest with myself and not allowing my day to degrade into dogged pursuit of those egoic validations for their own sake.
I realize this is a simplistic discussion of all this- and I’m actually excited to really get out and start sharing and teaching this more. You can at least start to see how awareness around these 6 basic needs could make a profound difference in your life.