The basis of every choice we make

Author: Christine Howitz

The manual to your mind …..6 Core Human Needs

From all of my reading on Personal Development this topic has been one of my favourites and the one that when I have taught to others really has had a profound effect!
So according to world renowned coach and speaker Anthony Robbins, we are all driven by the requirement to fulfill 6 Core Human needs. These needs are not just desires or wants, but profound needs which serve as the basis of every choice we make, they never stop driving us and they never go away. Therefore by understanding what drives each of us on a day to day basis we can begin to determine how to get to where we really want to go. We can have a better understanding of why we do the things we do, especially why we do some of those things we know we shouldn’t do or the things that aren’t great for us! Every person is influenced and motivated by the order of importance they place on each of these 6 core human needs. By becoming aware of which 2 we hold highest in our lives we can begin to understand the reasons behind our actions.

We all want to fulfill these needs in everything we do on a daily basis, and we do in some form or another, however it is not always in a positive way and not always in a resourceful and sustainable way. Therefore it is really how we meet these needs that can shape our lives and ultimately determine our happiness.

The good news is there are millions of ways to meet each need in a positive, resourceful and sustainable way. Once you understand how you currently meet each need, you are then able to reassess and evaluate how to meet them to get where you want to go, in turn setting yourself up for lasting fulfillment in your life as well as your relationships moving forward. Sound simple, yes? Well it is once you understand how and why you do what you do, and then make the choice to do things differently if you are not currently getting the results you want. So what exactly are the 6 core human needs?

Well, here we go, the 6 core human needs are made up of the following – Certainly, Uncertainly, Significance, Connection, Contribution and Growth. The first 4 being the needs of the personality or our physical needs, and the final 2 the needs of the spirit or the soul. How well we satisfy our first 4 physical needs defines how successful our life is, and how well we satisfy our 2 spiritual needs defines how much fulfillment we ultimately find in life. Now I’m sure a few of these stand out to you straight away and are reflected in some way in your everyday life. However, what we need to understand is that in order to feel happy and fulfilled long term we need to meet all of these needs consistently. The amount of each of these core needs we invest in will shape our choices and actions. Therefore by defining your top 2 needs and how each can be achieved in positive ways we can move forward in creating a compelling future. So what exactly do each of these needs represent, well I have listed below a definition of each and also a few examples to give you a better understanding:

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Also called: Security, Comfort, Safety, Control, Stability & Predictability

  • This need is simply about achieving order & control in life
  • Knowing we can be comfortable to have pleasure and avoid pain
  • Main function is to ensure an element of security, and it is manifested in safety and physical comfort
  • Those of us with a deep need for certainty do our best to avoid chaos and the unexpected

Example: A person may get their need for Certainty met by staying in a Relationship or Career where they are not really happy and they stay because at least they are comfortable and secure. The pain of being on their own or leaving the job outweighs the potential pleasure of finding something else. So often people with a high need for Certainty will stay put to meet this need even though ultimately it is not good for them.

Resourceful ways could be: Trusting yourself or Certainty of self. By having a sense of certainty about who you are can meet this 100% of the time. It is when we lose that sense of self that we search for it in other ways. Sometimes non-resourceful ways that don’t support us long term. Even Spirituality in some form or having routines that support, nurture and provide foundations can be resourceful ways of meeting this need.


Also called: Adventure, Variety, Surprise, Novelty or Challenge


  • It is a physical & emotional need that encourages us to bring the new, the unknown and sometimes disorder into our lives
  • Everyone needs some variety in life. Our bodies, our minds and our emotional well-being all require uncertainty
  • Just as a sense of security is reassuring, so the excitement that comes from variety is necessary to feel alive
  • Those of us with a deep need for uncertainty do our best to do new things and keep variety in all areas of our lives

Example: A person may get their need for Uncertainty met from changing jobs, changing partners, drug taking, excessive drinking, self sabotage, creating drama or even just as simply as having a conversation with someone new.

Resourceful ways could be:  Embracing adventure, travelling, different hobbies, new challenges & goals or creativity, doing something new and stepping outside your comfort zone.


Also called: Recognition, Pride, Validation & Uniqueness


  • Every person needs to feel special, important, needed & wanted.
  • To satisfy this need people find ways to feel unique or special and prove their self-worth
  • In its positive aspect, Significance leads us to raise our standards, but if we are overly focused on Significance, we will have trouble truly connecting with others

Example: Significance can be met in a number of ways, one main way is through being really different, think of a teenager at school who starts dressing a certain, unfamiliar far-out way, or gets tattoos and earrings, this can be viewed as their way to meet the need for significance or uniqueness. Other non-resourceful ways can be putting others down, gossip, significance from failure, violence, sad stories or problems about self. Even rebellion and having low self-esteem can be examples of how a person meets their own need for Significance.

Resourceful ways could be:  On the Flip side Significance can be gained from achieving or succeeding at something, meeting the goals you set for yourself, being the best – Mastery in our field, having lots of degrees, a great job or business, even volunteer work or simply speaking up can meet this need for some of us.


Also called: Love, Unified, Communication & Approval


  • Connection is represented by the human desire to communicate with, relate to and receive love from those around us.
  • Everyone needs connection with other human beings
  • We are all motivated to share and develop relationships with people to meet this need in our lives.
  • Those of us with a deep need for Connection will make different decision to those who favour Significance and often decisions can be based on connecting and being around others.

Example: Connection once again can be met in numerous ways as simply as listening to others. However there are also numerous ways people meet this non-resourcefully, such as neediness, rescuing others, doing things for others at the determent of self, self harm, unhealthy relationships, connection through big problems (drugs, drinking) or even promiscuity.

Resourceful ways could be: Connecting with Self, sharing and supporting, spending time with loved ones, religion and God, connecting with your purpose and your truth or even just connecting through nature are all ways to meet this need in a sustainable way.


As I mentioned earlier the first 4 needs listed above are the needs of the personality or our physical needs and how well we satisfy these 4 defines how successful our life is. The final 2 are the needs of the spirit or our soul. How well we satisfy these next 2 needs defines how much fulfillment we ultimately find in life.

photodune-641011-old-key-xs2GROWTH  – Through personal development, knowledge and learning we fulfill the need for growth in our lives. This core need is what drives us to mature and evolve as human beings. Think about it, anything that you want to remain in your life – your money, your health, your relationship, your happiness, love – must be cultivated, developed and expanded. We need to constantly develop emotionally, intellectually and spiritually to have a sense of fulfilment. Growth will expand your skills, awareness and ability to help others, however the most powerful growth is in relation to contribution.
Everything is either green & growing or ripe & rotting.

photodune-641011-old-key-xs2CONTRIBUTION  – Finally, we all share the need for Contribution, it is manifested in our desire to serve those around us and give love rather than simply receiving it. Contribution is about sharing what we have with others as we all desire to go beyond our own needs and give to others. It really 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, family or friends. Not only can everyone contribute in some way but contribution is essential to a sense of fulfillment and to happiness.
Everything in the universe contributes beyond itself, or it is eliminated.

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