6 Human Needs Defined

According to Anthony Robbins, “We are all driven by the need to fulfill 6 Human Needs. These basic 6 Human Needs are not just desires or wants, but profound needs which serve as the basis of every choice we make”.

Combined, these 6 Human Needs are the force behind the crazy things (other) people do and the great we do.

We all have the same 6 Human Needs, but how we value those needs and in what order, determines the direction of our life.


The 6 Human Needs Defined:

The first four needs of the 6 Human Needs are  Personality based needs:


puzzle 1 

Certainty/Comfort  is the need for Safety in the 6 Human Needs. It is our survival mechanism. We need to feel safe, secure, stable, predictability and stability.avoid pain, stress  As an example you have a home to go to. Every individual needs to have some sense of certainty and security – a roof over one’s head, knowing where the next meal will come from, knowing how to obtain care when one is sick, knowing that a neighbor won’t attack us. These are just a few examples of what constitutes a basic sense of certainty. Even a baby or infant infant needs certainty as well as the child, the adult and the elderly person. The degree to which certainty is needed or desired, however, varies from person to person. Some people feel secure living in one room and collecting an unemployment check. Others can feel certainty only if they make a million dollars each year. Even though some certainty is necessary to all of us, what constitutes certainty varies from individual to individual.

The need for certainty can be met by going to school and obtaining a degree that will ensure the possibility of making a good living. Or it can be met by doing as little as possible and avoiding challenges. It can be met by stealing from others and hoarding money and material possessions. Or it can be satisfied by holding rigidly to a dogma or a doctrine.

Code words for certainty are: comfort, security, safety, stability, feeling grounded, predictability and protection.

puzzle 4

Variety/Uncertainty  Everybody likes surprises! Well most surprises…some that we don’t like. They  are called “Problems or Challenges”. You need both in your life. The person caught in the same routine day after day will seek change and look for uncertainty. Just as a sense of security is reassuring,  we also need excitement that comes from variety that is necessary to feel alive. The Fun surprises are the ones that are exciting and like  vacations, gifts etc. Problems and challenges give us variety from the day to day predictability in our lives.. These build moral character, and help develop inner strength and confidence. Our bodies, our minds, our emotional well-being all require uncertainty, exercise, suspense, surprise.  For some variety might be satisfied by watching the news on television. Others may seek extreme high-risk activities such as extreme sports, compulsive sexuality, or violent behavior to satisfy their need for uncertainty. For many, a major source of variety is to experience problems.

These first two needs work with each other. Think of them as 100% of the pie. Some people may crave more excitement in their lives and some more certainty. The more certainty you desire or need in your life  the less variety you want or need in your life and visa versa.

Code words for uncertainty/variety are: fear, instability, change, chaos, entertainment, suspense, exertion, surprise, conflict and crisis.

puzzle 8  

Significance. The third need,  of the 6 Human Needs, is for significance. Every person needs to feel important, needed and wanted. Its the need to have meaning…Be special, have pride, approval by others, looked up to , different, better, important , worthy of love. 

Children in a family compete with each other, and find a way to be special, to feel unique. Significance comes from comparing ourselves to others – in our quest for significance we become involved in hierarchical pecking orders and questions of superiority or inferiority. We can feel significant because we have achieved something, built something, succeeded at something, or we can seek significance by tearing down something or somebody.

In its positive aspect, significance leads us to raise our standards. Getting an advanced degree. spending a lot of money, being famous, being an entrepreneur etc.etc., For some, significance comes from providing for the family; for others, from doing meaningful work, some need to make a major contribution to humanity; some require immense wealth.

In the negative aspect, some people achieve a sense of significance from failure, by being the worst at something or from having low self-esteem, looking dressing in a manner that drives others away.

If we are overly focused on significance, we will have trouble truly connecting with others – comparisons focus on differences rather than commonalities.Whatever the measure of significance, a sense of being important is necessary to all human beings.

Code words for significance are: pride, importance, standards, achievement, performance, perfection, evaluation.

The need for significance can be met by being the best at something – or by being the worst.

puzzle 3

Love and Connection The fourth basic need . Everybody needs connection with other human beings. Everyone strives for, and hopes for, love. Love is the oxygen of life. It’s what we all want and need most. When we love completely we feel alive, but when we lose love, the pain is so great.  Most people settle on connection, the crumbs of love. You can get that sense of connection or love through intimacy, or friendship, or prayer, or walking in nature. If nothing else works, you can get a pet.

These first four needs are what I call the needs of the personality. We all find ways to meet these—whether by working harder, coming up with a big problem, or creating stories to rationalize them.

Everybody needs connection with other human beings, and everyone strives for and hopes for love. An infant needs to be loved and cared for during a long period of time if it’s to develop normally. Infants who are not held and touched will die. This need for love continues throughout our lives. It is epitomized by the concept of romantic love, the one person who will devote their life to us and make us feel complete. In some cultures romantic love doesn’t exist, it’s replaced by the love of relatives, friends and tribe. Some people rarely experience love, but they have many ways of feeling connection with others – in the community or in the workplace. The need to be loved is characteristic of all human beings.

Code words for love/connection are: togetherness, passion, unity, warmth, tenderness and desire

The need for love and connection can be satisfied through performing good deeds and being kind, or by dominating others who are forced to show appreciation.

These two needs work with each other. Think of them as 100% of the pie. Some people may crave more significance and alienate themselves from Love and connection in their lives. Conversely we can lose ourselves in love and connection as “people-pleaser’s” and lose our identities and significance.


The first four needs – certainty, uncertainty, significance and love – are essential for human survival. They are the fundamental needs of the personality – everyone must feel that they have met them on some level, even if they have to lie to themselves to get there!


The last two needs below are the needs of the spirit. These are more rare—not everyone meets these. When these needs are met, we truly feel fulfilled.


puzzle 5

Growth If you’re not growing, you’re 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. And the reason we grow, I believe, is so we have something of value to give.

We need to constantly develop intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. We grow and change physically as we develop from infancy to adulthood and old age. We grow and change emotionally with every experience, and we grow intellectually as we respond to events and to the world around us. Anything that you want to remain in your life – your money, your health, your relationship, your happiness,  and love must be cultivated, developed and expanded. Otherwise, it will degenerate. Some people satisfy the need to grow by working out physically or by reading books. Others need to study and learn constantly in order to feel that they are truly growing, some are workaholics etc.

One can grow into becoming a better person – or a despicable human being.


puzzle 6

Contribution is the sixth of the 6 Human Needs. Life is really about creating meaning. And meaning does not come from what you get, it comes from what you give. Ultimately it’s not what you get that will make you happy long term, but rather who you become and what you contribute that will give you meaning. Think about it, what’s the first thing you do when you get good or exciting news? You call somebody you love and share it. Sharing enhances everything you experience.

We need to move  beyond our own needs and to give to others. Our life is incomplete without the sense that one is making a contribution to others or to a cause. It is in the nature of human beings to want to give back, to leave a mark on the world. Giving to others may mean giving time to community service, making a charitable donation, planting trees, writing a book, or giving to one’s children. Not only can everyone contribute in some way but contribution is essential to a sense of fulfillment and to happiness.

One can contribute to the destruction of others – or to the well-being of many.

The last two needs, growth and contribution, are essential for human fulfillment. They are the needs of the spirit, and not everyone finds a way to satisfy them, although they are necessary for lasting fulfillment. When our needs for love, growth and contribution are satisfied, they tend to encompass all our other needs. When we focus on something beyond ourselves, most of our problems and sources of pain become less significant. Contribution is the human need that effectively regulates our other five needs. If you are focused on contributing to others, you have the certainty of being able to contribute (there is always a way); you have variety (contribution is highly interactive); you have significance because you know you are helping others and improving their lives; the spiritual bond created when you help others gives you a deep sense of connection; and you grow by creatively helping others.


6 human needs

As in everything human, there are paradoxes involved in the experience of these needs. A person may have a strong need for certainty, but also a strong need for uncertainty, and therefore might constantly suffer an inner conflict as to which need is most important to satisfy. The need for significance is often contradictory with the need for love. It’s difficult to love someone who constantly has to feel significantly important. That is why so many successful people, who satisfy their need for significance, have trouble in their close relationships and often feel that they are not truly loved.


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