The 6 Human Needs
If you want to enter into the intimate relationship classroom there are a few rules of engagement you should know, that is that human behavior is governed by 6 human needs. Just like when you run onto a field to play a sport it helps to know the rules of the game so that your not continually penalized. This post will be an introduction for upcoming posts, laying the foundations for those to come.
Human Needs Psychology as taught by Tony Robbins states that human behavior is motivated by fulfilling our 6 human needs. He also believes that when 3 of our needs are met by a particular person, substance or thing then we become addicted to that stimulus.
Human Needs Psychology -
Human Needs Psychology believes that humans are driven to fulfill the 4 basic needs (certainty, variety, significance and love/connection) of the ego, which all people do somehow or another. -However happiness and fulfillment is obtained by also meeting the two needs of the spirit (growth and contribution).
So lets firstly take a look at the human needs of the ego.
Certainty – Humans need to have a sense of certainty in life, job security, certainty in a relationship that the other isn’t going to leave, knowing that they can perform a role or job, or that the ground under them isn’t going to shake. Recently Christchurch in New Zealand has been hit by a series of Earthquakes which have caused widespread damage and loss of life. When people from the affected area are interviewed they all tend to talk about, in one way or another how they have lost there sense of certainty e.g. uncertain they will sleep through the night without another one hitting.
If people have a high reliance on the human need to feel certain in life it can inhibit a truly (according to Human Needs Psychology) happy life because an important part of meeting the needs of the spirit involves being able to feel uncertain, since a large part of growth relies around the ability to go outside oneself, to push boundaries.
When a person is uncertain they will start seeking out behaviors that reinstall a feeling of certainty – in Christchurch people have left the region, a smoker who is feeling uncertain in a situation will escape to have a puff and person feeling worried about job security will join a union.
Variety – Once a person has accomplished the human need of certainty then the mind seeks out the need for variety – the spice of life. If we do the same thing day in day out we become habituated to that experience and it no longer feels the same as it once did. This is where the desire for change, for excitement, for travel and adventure come from. However if certainty is held as a more important need to fulfill than uncertainty then it can inhibit the activities that are driven by the human need for variety. For example a person on a Saturday night driven by certainty might lead to watching a movie at home – fulfilling the need for variety but in a way that allows them to be certain that there will be no “unexpected” surprises.
A person who, on the other hand values variety more highly than certainty might, when the weekend roles around be motivated to go out for dinner onto the theater then a night cap in a bar. These things involve a higher level of variety and being able to enjoy the feeling of being uncertain.
An example of a person who is governed around the need for variety as a priority is would like to travel, have short term partners, and enjoy thrill seeking activities.
Significance – The Third human need is needing to feel significant, that the psychological self is important, has meaning and if thought about by others. The interesting then about needing to feel significant is that the mind can manifest it what the world would call “positive” or “negative” ways. Generally speaking to feel significant about the psychological self or for others to lavish praise on a person it requires work and determination. A person who becomes a world class tennis player requires the ability to put in years on determination and hard work to reach the goal. However on the other side, if a person isn’t willing to engage in the practices that would make one feel significant in things such as career, sport or relationship then, because the mind still requires the feeling of being significant the it will manifest in negative ways such as violence, health issues and negative mental projections. If a person pulls a gun on somebody then in a matter of seconds that person has got a massive rush of significance in the the life of someone else. If a person doesn’t feel significant then the mind could manifest a health issue such as depression (my issues are so significant) or when someone else is getting lavished with praise, a person who is feeling insignificant may use mental judgements against them to try to raise themselves up – fulfilling the human need to feel significant.
As we can see already the egoic mind runs to certain patterns, every mind is seeking in fulfilling these 6 human needs – it just becomes a question of how.
Love and Connection – The fourth and final need to fulfill for everyone walking the planet is the need for love and or connection. A lot of the time people settle for the feeling or connection because love requires the ability to be able to grow and contribute to someone or something outside yourself. If someone is in a pattern of egoic need then it is hard to experience love which can only come when someone else’s needs are put before their own (which paradoxically is the easiest way to fulfill our deepest needs). Adults tend to find it easier to experience love from family members and their children than with an intimate partner because with family and children there is a sense (illusionary) of certainty that they will never leave them. Therefore the foundation of love is built on trust that a person will be their unconditionally for them through sickness and health.
The human need for a feeling of connection is major driver in the way society works, with many things structured around meeting this need such as clubs and organizations, living arrangements and work environments. Again the mind doesn’t care how it meets this need, just that it does. A person can find connection with work mates striving for the same goal, with the blokes at the water cooler who talk about the weekends sports results, girls who catch up on the phone to discuss the latest gossip or a gang member who feels he belongs to something for the first time in their life.
Interestingly some people have a strong sense of connection to themselves, these people tend to be more introverted and like to have there own space and of course there are those who desire a spiritual connection above all else.
Human Needs Psychology states that when we engage in a behavior and it meets 3 of our egoic human needs at high levels then that behavior will become addictive. A person initially becomes addicted to drugs because it gives them certainty that it will change their state, variety of feelings they are feeling, and connection with themselves or the ones they take it with. A person becomes addicted to violence because it makes their insignificant life feel significant for a moment, it has an unexpected element to it and provides a certainty that it will provide the feelings desired. A doctor becomes passionate in his career because he is certain he can provide care for others, he deals with new patients and problems everyday, he feels he is making a significant difference in peoples life and he gains connection with those he administers care for.
Valuing the Human Needs
Furthermore, each ego mind tends to value each of the 6 human needs to varying degrees. Depending which of the 6 human needs is valued most highly, then this will influence that persons behavior. So if a mind values significance above love then this will result in that person to be motivated towards behaviors that meet this need over behaviors that would enable the experiences of love. For a “real” world example you could look at a sports person who is training for the olympics. Their days are completely governed around fulfilling the need to feel highly significant – what to eat, when to train, tracking performances act.
Often these athletes, when questioned about love may respond with such comments such as – “I don’t have time for that” or “I need to focus my priorities on other things.” For human love to flourish each person has to become the priority for the other, but if the mind desires fame and fortune more, then love often reverts to an egoic need fulfillment and doomed to failure.
In the next post we will continue with looking at the 2 Human Needs that are or the Spirit.
Watch the 6 human needs on youtube.